Vietnam: Preventing corruption in the forestry sector
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) is an initiative which uses funding from developed countries to reduce deforestation in developing countries. With around 40 percent of the country covered by forest, Vietnam is one of nine countries where the UN-REDD Programme is supporting the development of a readiness plan for the implementation of REDD+. It has been estimated that REDD+ could generate about US$80-100 million a year in Vietnam.
In March 2009, US$4.4 million in funding was approved for Vietnam and the country has now begun implementing the REDD programme. In January 2011, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) established the Standing Office of the Steering Committee for implementation of the “Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+)”. MARD is also in the process of preparing the national REDD strategy.
Whilst REDD is seen as having enormous potential as part of a global climate change strategy, it nonetheless brings with it considerable challenges. Given the huge flows of money involved, corruption is a major threat to the successful governance of the programme.
On the ground in Vietnam, Towards Transparency is coordinating a project on Preventative Anti-Corruption measures (PAC) for REDD, run by TI’s Forest Governance Integrity programme and additionally funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) as part of the TI Vietnam Programme.
The PAC REDD project seeks to ensure that REDD payments meet their intended objectives by having forestry related government agencies receptive to transparency initiatives, and a civil society capable of monitoring integrity in REDD mechanisms.
Objective 1: To build government and civil society capacity to advocate for, develop and establish anti-corruption measures in REDD payment mechanisms.
Objective 2: To improve transparency, accountability and integrity of forest governance institutions dealing with forests and carbon financing, forest assessments, protected area management, additionality requirements, and forestry certification schemes.
Objective 3: To improve transparency, accountability and due diligence practices in REDD- related financing, certification and auditing conducted by private sector organisations and financial institutions.
The project involves the development of a risk map which indicates areas where forestry governance in Vietnam is most at risk from REDD related corruption and a monitoring tool which allows civil society to gauge the effectiveness of existing anti-corruption instruments. Together the two tools will help develop a knowledge base surrounding national and local REDD issues and enable better understanding of where integrity interventions in national REDD negotiations and payment mechanisms will have the most impact. The monitoring tool and risk maps will be developed in consultation with local stakeholders and will be used to initiate dialogue with donors and Government agencies about areas of governance that require support, and where civil society monitoring could be most useful.