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US$4.38 million UN-REDD Viet Nam Programme launched

Viet Nam is the first pilot country to fully start implementing activities that will help to reduce deforestation and forest degradation

Official launch of the UN-REDD Programme in Viet Nam

Viet Nam, one of nine UN-REDD Programme pilot countries, officially launched its UN-REDD national programme in Ha Noi on 17 September 2009. The Programme will help Viet Nam combat climate change, conserve its rich biodiversity, and reverse land degradation and desertification. As activities unfold, lessons learned in Viet Nam will be most valuable to other pilot countries and the wider international community.

Funded by the Government of Norway, Viet Nam’s US$4.38 million UN-REDD programme will be executed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), and will run for almost two years. Lam Dong Province has been selected as the pilot site.

Over the last 20 years, Viet Nam has taken several successful measures to increase its total forested area. Yet, over half of its natural forests are considered poor or regenerating, and rich and closed-canopy forests constitute just over nine percent. The country’s rich biodiversity is also at risk: of its total 1,534 animal species, 121 are endangered, and 145 plant species are threatened.

Curbing deforestation and forest degradation are substantial steps in responding to climate change and promote win-win solutions. For example, mangrove forests support livelihoods and protect people from surge storms and floods and also absorb and store carbon.

Since 1990, Viet Nam was able to increase its forest cover, yet over half of its natural forests are considered poor or regenerating.

The UN-REDD Programme aims to create financial incentives for Viet Nam to preserve its forests and improve their management. It will provide the country with institutional and technical capacity to pilot REDD initiatives, and will focus on building capacity to implement REDD, both at the national and sub-national level, through activities in Lam Dong. It will also look at ways to promote cooperation among the countries of the lower Mekong basin to avoid cross-border leakages of emissions.

“We hope that this collaborative UN Programme will be able to quickly demonstrate that the costs associated with deforestation outweigh the immediate economic benefits of cutting down trees,” says Setsuko Yamazaki, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director during the inception workshop that launched the national programme. “To achieve this goal, it is critical that REDD benefits first and foremost the poorer forest managers and communities.”

The programme inception workshop, held in Ha Noi on 17 September 2009, spread over three days. More than 100 participants took part, representing Vietnamese and international partners, central and local government, and a diverse range of non-governmental organizations, representing academia, civil society, and environmental groups.

This first day allowed the three cooperating UN agencies of the UN-REDD Programme (UNDP, UNEP, and FAO) to meet with the Programme Management Unit staff, to review implementation arrangements and agree on procedures to be followed for work planning and reporting. On the second day, representatives from the Lam Dong Province joined the workshop to begin the detailed planning and budgeting of activities for the first quarter of implementation. The third day was opened by MARD Vice-Minister Mr Hua Duc Nhi, whose remarks were followed by the UNDP Country Director Ms Setsuko Yamazaki, Ambassador of Norway Mr Stale Torstein Risa, and Vice-Chair of the Lam Dong Provincial People’s Committee, Mr Hoang Si Son. Participants then discussed the overall approach to the UN-REDD Viet Nam Programme as well as plans for the proposed outcomes of the Programme. The debate focused on opportunities for collaboration with other partners and appropriate timing for the different activities.

“We believe Viet Nam can become one of the success stories of REDD that will be told to the world to help convince world leaders that REDD is possible,” says Norwegian Ambassador Stale Torstein Risa. The experiences gained, the capacities built and the cooperation established through the joint efforts of the Government of Viet Nam and the UN-REDD Programme will help catalyze a successful outcome for REDD in Copenhagen this year.”

Viet Nam facts and figures:  
Total land area: 32,549,000 ha
Forest cover (% of total land): 39.73%
Primary forest (% of total land): 0.26%
Forest cover change between 1990 and 2005:  

Forest cover increased by 38.11%

Primary forest cover decreased by 77.86%  
Wildlife diversity:  
Total species: 1,534
Endemic species:                                         126
Threatened species:                                     121
Plant diversity:  
Endemic plant species: 1,260
Threatened plant species: 145
Value of forest products (US$):  
Industrial round wood: $91,579,000
Wood fuel: $77,788,000
Non-wood forest products: $289,507,000
Total value: $458,874,000



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In this issue


United Nations event on forests and climate change underscores North-South agreement and support for REDD

Systematic review of methods to measure and assess terrestrial carbon

Last days to vote for civil society representatives

Features & Commentary

UN-REDD and indigenous peoples’ engagement: the case of Africa -- By Elifuraha Isaya Laltaika

Reports & Analysis

Several UN-REDD countries participate in discussion on assessment and monitoring forest degradation

UN-REDD countries meet to share experiences on measuring, reporting and verification systems for REDD

US$4.38 million UN-REDD Viet Nam Programme launched

Looking ahead

Third Policy Board Meeting of the UN-REDD Programme to take place in Washington, D.C. from 29-30 October 2009

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