Viet Nam’s experiences with integrated land use planning for REDD+ and the landscape approach are generating valuable lessons. Last December, representatives of Viet Nam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, as well as the National Assembly, participated in a knowledge exchange in France, with support provided by the UN-REDD Programme and Expertise France. The exchange focused on integrated planning, and aimed to progress the integration of forests into planning reforms in Viet Nam. Viet Nam has initiated a streamlined reform planning process that consolidates around 25 laws and thousands of different plans under one Planning Law.
Vietnam-France knowledge exchange on integrated planning
Photo: Bruno Hugel/UNDP
Key lessons shared by Viet Nam and other countries through this and other knowledge exchanges over the past year include:
REDD+ should act as a catalyst that changes how forests are viewed and managed. While addressing the forestry sector, interventions must also consider overall land and forest-use dynamics over time; the key policies and factors that are the drivers of this change; and the potential trade-offs between different goals and sectors in a landscape. REDD+ must also be embedded into the overall vision of sustainable development and green growth within a country.
Fostering cooperation among different sectors is challenging but essential. Barriers to cooperation among sectors include difficulties in sharing data, and conflicting policy objectives and mandates. There is often a lack of knowledge and experience – especially among subnational-level decision makers – on key issues such as integrated land use planning, ecosystem services, and climate change,. To truly encourage collaboration, high-level mechanisms are needed to ensure that different agencies share information and cooperate in land use planning. Mechanisms that support cooperation between sectors should also address potential imbalances between them, e.g. where certain sectors are more influential than others.
Integrating spatial plans
Integrated spatial plans should be promoted as a part of integrated land use planning. Integrated spatial planning – with due consideration given to ecosystem services and climate change – can help address the challenges of cross-sectoral coordination. It raises awareness among stakeholders of ecosystem services and other benefits provided by landscapes. Spatial analysis can create a better understanding of potential environmental and social benefits and risks associated with taking certain actions. Initiatives that deliver multiple benefits and avoid risks can contribute to policy goals beyond climate change mitigation, and will be more sustainable in the long-term.
Using maps to plan REDD+ interventions in Bac Kanh Province
Photo: Charlotte Hicks,/UNEP-WCMC
Ensuring local ownership
Implementation plans for REDD+ or other initiatives should be ‘owned’ locally. Strong local engagement needs to be incorporated into all steps and aspects of the planning process. This includes: involvement in workshops; data collection, processing and analysis; and the development of capacity among local stakeholders. Such engagement facilitates better cooperation and future implementation. Beyond the challenges in developing integrated plans, there also needs to be resources for the implementation of these plans, i.e. to to support long-term implementation , especially at sub-national level.
Adopting a holistic approach
Tools and approaches that support integrated land use planning have strengths and limitations. Approaches such as spatial analysis, modelling, cost-benefit analysis and ecosystem valuation allow the communication of a range of values and the integration of these values into decision-making. However, it is necessary to consider the purpose of the exercise and see if it meets the needs of decision makers. Capacity to conduct these kinds of analyses but also to use this information in decision-making and communicating needs to be built. Further, these tools should not be used in isolation; different types of information – economic, spatial, stakeholder perspectives and so on – should be combined to show a complete picture.
Harmonising different views
Coherence and balancing between plans at different levels can improve over time. Integrated planning is not the sum of all projects and plans generated at lower levels or across sectors. Cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder dialogue is key to harmonising different views, while coherence increases over time. Each level of planning requires different levels of detail – from the strategic plans at the national level to more specific details at the local level – to avoid conflicts between plans.
Practicing participatory mapping techniques in Viet Nam
Photo: Charlotte Hicks,/UNEP-WCMC
Part 1 of this article was published in the previous issue of The REDD+ Resource newsletter and can be found here.
The UN-REDD Programme has developed a range of resources to support countries with using spatial analysis and other tools to support land-use planning:
To learn more about Viet Nam’s experience in using integrated land use planning for REDD+, please see:
Integrated land-use planning for REDD+: lessons from combining spatial analysis and participatory approaches at the sub-national level in Viet Nam (English: high res, low res; Vietnamese: high res, low res)
Sub-regional learning event on integrated land-use planning and mainstreaming of multiple benefits: technical session. October 2017 (Report: English, Vietnamese; Workshop material: English, Vietnamese)
About the writer
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre’s Charlotte Hicks provides capacity-building and technical support to project partners and stakeholders in REDD+ partner countries on multiple benefits, spatial planning and safeguards. She serves as Programme Officer, Climate Change and Biodiversity, at UNEP-WCMC. Charlotte can be reached at email@example.com