Five years of Payment for Forest and Environmental Services in Vietnam: results, challenges and future

Five years of Payment for Forest and Environmental Services in Vietnam: results, challenges and future

Viet Nam - 01 November, 2016

The Decree 99/2010/ND-CP released on 24 September 2010 by the Government of Viet Nam on Payment for Forest and Environmental Services (PFES) has become one of the most remarkable policies of the forest sector during the past years. The policy is aimed at improving forest quality and quantity and increasing the forest sector’s contribution to the economy, while relieving the government’s financial burden towards forest protection and development.

After five-year of implementation, apart from the results obtained, certain constraints remain, including a shortage of monitoring and evaluation (M&E), a low cost norm for PFES, and inequality among beneficiary groups. Those are the conclusions from the workshop “Evaluation of the Payment for Forest and Environmental Services Policy in the Central and Central Highlands provinces, and Making Policy Recommendations,” jointly organized by TBI Viet Nam and the provincial Funds for Forest Protection and Development of the Thua Thien Hue province on 19 October 2016 in Hue city.

Participating at the workshop were more than fifty representatives from Viet Nam’s Funds for Forest Protection and Development, provincial Funds for Forest Protection and Development in the Central and Central Highlands regions, Thua Thien Hue provincial People’s Committee, provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, regional universities, research centers, individuals and organizations working in the agro-forestry field from the central to local levels, enterprises and beneficiary groups.

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At the workshop, eight presentations were made, focusing on the gaps in current policies; constraints in M&E; linkages/collaboration among payment units, state management organizations and beneficiary groups; and the fees expenditure for forest patrol, protection and livelihoods development, etc. TBI Viet Nam’s researchers of the project “Impacts of PFES Policy and Its Outlooks in Viet Nam” took this opportunity to present its initial results on the impacts of the policy on local people’s awareness and livelihoods. The presenters received constructive comments for improving the policy.

The discussions indicated that though monitoring has been carried out by provinces quarterly, there still lacked a set of indicators for effective M&E, especially those for comparative assessments of forest quality and yield before and after forests are used for PFES. In addition, the current low payment norm, around $ 20/person per annum at Tan My village, Phong Dien district, Thua Thien Hue province, has discouraged local people from involvement in forest protection and development. Participants also expressed their concerns over the fact that the big gap in payment among different areas caused by uneven distribution of hydropower plants and water companies (commonly known as payment units), would lead to high risks of conflicts among local people.

The comments and ideas collected by the workshop will help TBI Viet Nam’s researchers fine-tune their initial research results. As well, information gained from the workshop will serve as valuable inputs for TBI Viet Nam and the provincial Funds for Forest Protection and Development in Thua Thien Hue province to make recommendations for improved PFES policy in the future.  

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