Norway, Japan to fund forestry projects

Viet Nam will receive US$30 million from the Government of Norway to conduct the second phase of the National UN-REDD Programme to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.

The support was marked by an agreement signed yesterday between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Viet Nam has becomed the first of the 47 UN-REDD partner countries to move into the second phase of greenhouse gas reduction through improved forest and land-use management.

The National UN-REDD Programme to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) would be a major pillar of Viet Nam’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture and rural development sector by 20 per cent by 2020, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said.

REDD+ was considered a promising solution to help Viet Nam increase its overall forest cover to 45 per cent by 2020.

As one of the original pilot countries of the programme, Viet Nam has been on the frontline of global REDD+ activities for four years. The country has successfully piloted readiness work in a number of key areas, including supporting strong co-ordination among national stakeholders, developing a framework for measurement, reporting and verification, and testing approaches for the free, prior and informed consent of ethnic minorities and other forest-dependent communities.

Phase Two will build on the REDD+ readiness work of Phase One, and start implementing Viet Nam’s National REDD+ Action Programme in six provinces across the country, namely Lao Cai, Bac Kan, Ha Tinh, Binh Thuan, Lam Dong and Ca Mau.

During the next three years, the programme will help identify, negotiate, plan and implement land-use practices that are sustainable, climate-smart and adapted to local needs.

Additional financial incentives would be made available by the Government of Norway and other international partners for verified greenhouse gas emission reductions achieved through the programme, said UN Resident Co-ordinator in Viet Nam Pratibha Mehta.

She said that the event was a landmark for Viet Nam. “The Phase Two programme includes a clear way forward for Viet Nam to benefit in multiple ways, not just from this $30 million programme. However, if Viet Nam is to make the most of the opportunities, Phase Two must deliver on time on all of its objectives,” she noted.

Environmental service

The same day, the Japanese Fund for Poverty Reduction, through the Asian Development Bank, has promised to grant US$1.5 million to help Viet Nam pay for forestry environmental services during the 2014-16 period.

The Vietnamese Government also contributed $150,000 to the technical assistance project which will help work out the criteria for economic evaluation of environmental services at provincial level as well as the procedures for pilot programmes and the payments for forestry environmental services.

Speaking at the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding yesterday, Deputy General Director of Viet Nam’s Forestry Administration at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Vo Dai Hai said that Viet Nam introduced a policy on payments for forestry services in 2008 and had collected VND1 trillion ($47.6 million) annually from these services.

However, it still faced with problems in carrying out the policies because of poor communications, inadequate staff and not enough individuals being allocated to forestry protection.

ADB country director Tomoyuki Kimura said that the bank would continue to promote green growth in Viet Nam including improving payments for forestry services. In 2010, Viet Nam introduced new regulations on payments for forestry environmental services, which took effect in 2011.

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