Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)
Research and capacity building on REDD+, livelihoods, and vulnerability in Vietnam: developing tools for social analysis of development planning
PI: Le Thi Van Hue, Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (CRES), Vietnam National University
Co-PIs: Nguyen Viet Dung, PanNature--Center for People and Nature Reconciliation; and Tran Huu Nghi, Tropenbos International (TBI) Vietnam
U.S. Partner: Pamela McElwee, Rutgers University
Project Dates: June 2012 - May 2015
Dr. Pamela McElwee (second from left), Dr. Le Thi Van Hue (center) and colleagues discuss plans for their joint project (photo courtesy of Dr. Le Thi Van Hue).
Forecasted global climate changes have the potential to exacerbate existing social vulnerabilities, especially in poorer developing countries, and communities’ and individuals’ ability to cope with these future changes are often conditioned on their ability to access and mobilize natural resources. At the same time, new global policies are in development that would pay countries for “avoided deforestation” through forest conservation efforts known as Reduced Emissions from Degradation and Deforestation (REDD+) in order to sequester carbon and contribute to climate change mitigation. However, as access and use rights to forests change under REDD implementation, this may render some households and communities more vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the long term if REDD policies reduce their adaptive capacity by restricting access to natural resources. Thus, an understanding of the potential outcomes of carbon-credit policies on land use decision-making is necessary before such large scale global programs get more fully underway.
This study will build upon an early REDD development site in Vietnam and explore several questions regarding this new policy. The overall goal of the existing project underway is to understand the ways in which payments for ecosystem services (like carbon) serve to alter land-use decision making by smallholder households in forested areas and evaluate if these land-use decisions increase or reduce overall social and biophysical vulnerability to forecasted climate changes. This current PEER-supported project aims to expand the existing project into new field sites and add additional data collection on environmental conditions. Methodologies and data from the pilot research sites will be shared with an in-country network of stakeholders, and a country-wide index of indicators for REDD will be created to assess at the provincial level in Vietnam the likelihood of meeting conditions of success in REDD. To promote capacity building with local policymakers and NGOs on key REDD issues, short training courses and national workshops will also be organized. This study should contribute to policy-relevant knowledge on social vulnerability to climate change in a country that is likely among the most seriously affected. It also has the potential to influence development of REDD policy, as it may provide a baseline to explain variations in the expected performance of various possible REDD approaches.
Summary of Recent Activities
PanNature conducted a field-visit to Hieu Commune, Kon Plong District, Kon Tum Province, July 1 through 3, 2013. The team met with Flora and Fauna International’s EU-REDD project team, the district sub-office for agriculture and rural development, and communal leaders to obtain updated information on REDD+ activities there. Meetings were also held with ethnic minority villagers to understand their livelihood-related issues and interactions with the natural forests. In early August, CRES, PanNature, and TBI staff met in Hanoi to discuss and agree on various methodological aspects of the project and revise and improve questionnaires for field surveys to take place in fall 2013. During this past summer, CRES, PanNature, and TBI also participated in several workshops on REDD and climate change. On August 15, 2013, CRES participated in a seminar on “Benefit sharing in REDD+: Global experience and national reality” co-organized by the World Agroforestry Center and the Center for International Forestry Research. TBI participated in a workshop on climate change mitigation in Da Nang to gather information and exchange experiences in the field of local livelihoods and forest management. PanNature met with British REDD+ researcher Thomas Sikor and several key Vietnamese experts to discuss REDD+ progress in Vietnam and benefit-sharing mechanisms.
In the coming months, CRES, PanNature, and TBI will finalize the surveys for all levels and conduct field research in the new sites (such as Dien Bien, Hoa Binh, Kon Tum, and Kien Giang) and in the old ones (such as Lam Dong, Thua Thien Hue and Son La). CRES will develop teaching modules for a short course on REDD, climate adaptation, and livelihood monitoring to be held in Year 3 of the project. PanNature will compile the primary and secondary data on the selected REDD+ Environmental and Social Index (RESI) indicators from selected provinces and prepare to launch the on-line version of RESI for the pilot provinces in the fourth quarter of Year 2. TBI will develop a livelihoods database and instruments for REDD at the community level and prepare for REDD training at the community level in Bi Dup-Nui Ba National Park in Lam Dong Province.