This article was originally published here.
Viet Nam has become the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to complete the Warsaw Framework for REDD+ after fulfilling the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) safeguards requirements.
REDD+ has the potential to deliver many social and environmental benefits that go beyond mitigating climate change, but REDD+ actions could also entail some potential risks. In order to minimize these risks and at the same time enhance the potential benefits, seven safeguards, known as the “Cancun safeguards,” are in place that must be supported throughout the implementation of REDD+ actions.
At the end of 2018, coinciding with the 10 year-anniversary of the UN-REDD Programme, the Government of Viet Nam completed two final climate change convention requirements, relating to safeguards, which now makes the country eligible to receive REDD+ results-based payments. Viet Nam submitted its first summary of information on safeguards to the UNFCCC, mapping out how the country will address and respect the safeguards throughout REDD+ implementation, and also released one of the world’s first fully operational, online safeguards information systems (SIS).
With its updated National REDD+ Programme approved in 2017, modified Forest Reference Emissions Level submitted to the UNFCCC in 2016, and an operational and institutionalized National Forest Monitoring System, Viet Nam has become one of the first countries in the world to complete all four pillars of the Warsaw Framework for REDD+. The online SIS is incorporated within the government of Viet Nam’s Forest Management Information System (FORMIS), along with some elements of the NFMS, and presents information on how safeguards are being addressed and respected nationally, as well as in the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s Emission Reductions Program covering six provinces in Viet Nam’s North-Central Coast Region.
The preparation of Viet Nam’s first summary of information and SIS has been a consultative, multi-stakeholder process, led by the government. “The legal framework in Viet Nam has many regulations related to environmental and social safeguards in every sector, but there are still gaps in how these regulations are implemented in practice. REDD+ opens up an opportunity to strengthen the enforcement of these laws,” said Ms. Phuong Le Ha, who has coordinated Viet Nam’s national REDD+ safeguards efforts over the past five years for the government, noting that the drivers of deforestation are multi-faceted and connected.
With completion of the Warsaw Framework, and approval of the National REDD+ Implementation Plan, Viet Nam is now looking to further operationalize REDD+ on the ground, focusing on both increasing forest cover and improving forest quality, while promoting the socio-economic benefits that forests can provide. Its recent success can inspire other countries in the Asia-Pacific region looking to move from REDD+ readiness to REDD+ implementation.
For more information on REDD+ safeguards:
UN-REDD Workspace Safeguards Country Resources Hub