Viet Nam, Norway and UN officially Launch the Viet Nam UN-REDD Phase II Programme
On 11 October 2013, the Government of Viet Nam took another major step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture and rural development sector, assisted by a US$30 million grant by the Government of Norway.
This follows a Joint Declaration on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+) signed by Norway and Viet Nam in late 2012, and makes Viet Nam a member of a select group of countries moving from “getting ready for REDD+” to implementing activities on the ground.
The efforts of the Phase I UN-REDD Programme, a joint initiative by MARD, FAO, UNDP and UNEP, and many other development partners are bearing fruit with the official start on Phase II. Two significant outcomes of Phase 1, a National REDD+ Action Programme and strengthened capacities, will over the course of the next years be translated into better forest management and land-use changes in Lao Cai, Bac Kan, Ha Tinh, Binh Thuan, Lam Dong, and Ca Mau provinces.
More than 100 stakeholders, from national government, local authorities, non-government organizations and development partners gathered for the occasion to launch Phase II during the inception workshop. A strong Norwegian-based delegation, just returned from a field trip to Lam Dong Province (the pilot province of Phase I), also participated in the event.
The event was opened by H.E. Dr. Cao Duc Phat, Minister of MARD, Ms Pratibha Mehta, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Viet Nam, and H.E Ståle Torstein Risa, Norway’s Ambassador to Viet Nam. The three speakers reminded the participants of the importance of broad stakeholder engagement, as the Programme’s success will depend not only on the implementing partners but also on many others, including development partners, CSOs, women, various communities and the private sector. They also reminded the implementing partners of the urgency of turning the proposal into activities on the ground in the six pilot provinces.
Three technical presentations set the scene for the review of Programme Outcomes and Outputs by the participants. They covered achievements and lessons learned during Phase I of the Programme, early progress of Phase II and key Programme outcomes, as well as implementation arrangements and partnership building. The results of the review indicated first that there is considerable interest by development partners in working with the Programme, a strategy that the implementing partners are actively pursuing. Second, broadly Programme Outcomes and Outputs are on target, although numerous recommendations for minor text changes were made. Also, several targets were viewed as two optimistic, especially considering the slow start of the Programme. Finally, there were many questions from the floor that indicated to the implementing team that awareness raising at all levels continues to be an important priority. Overall, the workshop generated a positive atmosphere for enhanced coordination among the implementing partners and strong collaboration with other partners active throughout the country.