Exchange and Learning: Participatory Forest Monitoring in Vietnam


25th November 2016 – How can we apply participatory forest monitoring approaches in the context of National Forest Monitoring and Safeguards Information Systems for REDD+? SNV Vietnam organised a National Learning event to explore this question with relevant stakeholders and to share experiences and lessons learned from pilot initiatives on participatory forest monitoring in Vietnam.

The National Learning Event was attended by representatives of national and sub-national government agencies, including the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Forest Protection Departments of Lam Dong, Nghe An, Thanh Hoa province, international REDD+ donor programmes like UN-REDD, GIZ, JICA and BMUB and national and international NGOs working on REDD+ in Vietnam.  

As tropical forest countries like Vietnam move towards full-scale implementation of REDD+ activities in exchange for results-based payments, they are required to:
1)     Develop robust measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) instruments and comprehensive national forest monitoring and safeguard information systems (SIS) which assess the impacts of REDD+
2)     As a safeguard requirement, support the meaningful participation of forest dependent communities in the design and implementation of REDD+

Involving local stakeholders, including communities, in forest monitoring is recognised as being an important strategy for achieving efficient, effective and equitable pro-poor REDD+ outcomes. Indeed, their full and effective participation is a key safeguard principle. Participatory monitoring can provide a viable and cost-effective contribution to national forest monitoring systems and information on the environmental and social impacts of REDD+, as well as in demonstrating that safeguards have been respected in the implementation of REDD+ actions.

During the Learning Event, Le Thai Son from the Forest Protection Department of Lam Dong Province, shared valuable experiences on piloting participatory forest monitoring under the recently completed “Delivering Multiple Environmental and Social Benefits from REDD+ in Southeast Asia” (MBREDD) project. In addition, WWF shared lessons from its efforts on participatory biodiversity monitoring and SNV presented a preliminary concept on participatory monitoring of social impacts and safeguards.

Richard Rastall, REDD+ technical advisor at SNV, presents topics of the event

The presentations were followed by a plenary discussion among all participants on how to effectively involve communities in national forest monitoring and in monitoring site-level implementation, biodiversity and social impacts of REDD+. “The initial experiences and lessons learned related to participatory forest monitoring are very important”, says Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, Director of the REDD+ Office of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry. “This very significant data will be used as input to finalise our REDD+ documents on a National Level.”

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Building on the experiences of MBREDD, SNV is currently implementing the ”Ensuring Operationalization of Safeguard Requirements to Obtain RBF from Sustainable National REDD+ Policies” project in Vietnam, Ghana and Peru with funding from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). The project promotes a country-led safeguards approach (CSA) that responds to national and international safeguards commitments by building upon a country’s existing governance system.


Richard Rastall

Agriculture Sector Leader - Vietnam