The UNFCCC conference in Bali recognized Viet Nam as one of the top five most affected countries in the world as a result of climate change. Viet Nam is one of nine countries identified for country programming under UN-REDD Programme and was also one of the first countries to receive approval for an R-PIN under the World Bank‘s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).
Although not suffering from excessive levels of deforestation typical of some other countries in the region, deforestation is locally significant in Viet Nam, especially in the Central Highlands. Furthermore, forest degradation is significant in natural forests. Over two-thirds of Viet Nam‘s natural forests are considered poor or regenerating, while rich and closed-canopy forest constitutes only 4.6 percent (in 2004) of the total.
Fast economic growth within the country and the drive to export commodities is an underlying driver of the deforestation and forest degradation within Viet Nam. At present there is little information on the opportunity costs for different resource use practices in any part of Vietnam. Ultimately, REDD will work only if the benefits outweigh the opportunity costs of alternative land uses, and an efficient REDD programme needs to know where this is possible. This knowledge gap will be addressed through the programme.
The UN-REDD programme for Viet Nam seeks to address deforestation and forest degradation through capacity building at national and local levels. Firstly, it will build capacity at the national level to permit the Government of Viet Nam, and especially the REDD focal point in the Department of Forestry (DoF) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), to coordinate and manage the process of establishing tools to implement a REDD programme. Secondly, it will build capacity at local levels (provincial, district and commune) through pilots in two districts in Lam Dong province that demonstrate effective approaches to planning and implementing measures to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Regional displacement of emissions is known to be a significant problem in the lower Mekong Basin. If REDD is to be implemented effectively so as to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation within the Lower Mekong Basin, as a contribution to global efforts in this regard, there will be a need for coordinated regional action. Outcome 3 will mobilize efforts in this direction.
The Objective of the UN-REDD Viet Nam Programme is ―To assist the Government of Viet Nam in developing an effective REDD regime in Viet Nam and to contribute to reduction of regional displacement of emissions. This will contribute to the broader Goal of ensuring that ―By the end of 2012 Viet Nam is REDD-ready and able to contribute to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation nationally and regionally.