Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

The politics of swidden: A case study from Nghe An and Son La in Vietnam

159 views

Published on

Presented by Pham Thu Thuy, Moira Moeliono, Maria Brockhaus, Grace Wong, Le Ngoc Dung, about politics of swidden in Vietnam.

Published in: Science
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

The politics of swidden: A case study from Nghe An and Son La in Vietnam

  1. 1. Pham Thu Thuy, Moira Moeliono, Maria Brockhaus, Grace Wong, Le Ngoc Dung Beijing, China, October 24-27, 2016 The politics of swidden: A case study from Nghe An and Son La in Vietnam
  2. 2. Swidden Systems  Swidden: long-held agriculture practice in Vietnam (and elsewhere in the region)  New studies: swidden systems within a complex landscape mosaic can also contribute to maintaining and enhancing forest carbon stocks above and below ground (Mertz, 2009; Bruun et al, 2009; van Noordwijk et al, 2009; Fox et al, 2009; Mukul et al, 2016)  ..can play a contributing role in REDD+ (Hett et al, 2012) and PES programmes
  3. 3. The politics of swidden …  Despite REDD+/PES potential, swidden seen as problem and not as solution  Swidden – a global colonial narrative of “slash and burn”, which gets re-interpreted, translated, and implemented at multiple levels of governance (and not everybody has agency)  What are the different narratives, what is shaping them, and how in turn do they shape the outcomes of land use policies?
  4. 4. The global narrative Considered to be a main driver of deforestation and forest degradation, swidden is seen as an obstacle to REDD+. Indeed, since colonial times, swidden has been vilified and denigrated. Governments all through the tropics see swiddening as backwards, destructive and related to poverty (Padoch et al, 2007), a wasteful act (Dove, 1983) or as an impediment to ‘progress and development’ (Mertz et al, 2009). Policies and regulations aimed to ‘overcome’ swiddening and bring ‘development’ or promote conservation are part of most governments’ policies in the region and have led to the decline of swidden (Cramb et al, 2009).
  5. 5. Factors enabling or hindering policy change  Institutional stickiness: Formal power typically rests with the ‘stickiest’ organisations –  Interests: often lack of autonomy of State from interests that drive deforestation and degradation (e.g. rent seeking, fraud, collusion and corruption practices inside the bureaucratic system)  Information – a currency in todays world: facts getting selected, interpreted, who counts counts, what is counted counts.  Ideas: belief systems, ideologies, discourses (Brockhaus and Angelsen 2012)
  6. 6. THINKING beyond the canopy Discourse Discourse is critical in public policy-making because it shapes how a policy problem is perceived and, consequently, what kinds of solutions are considered, what is ‘reasonable’ and what is put forward as ‘the possible’, the ‘right’ choice (Hajer and Versteeg, 2005)
  7. 7. Methods Case studies: Son La province and Nghe An province, Vietnam  Legal review on national government policies and measures on swidden and forest conservation  Semi-structured interviews (22) with key informants at national, provincial, district and commune levels  Focus groups discussions (6) in 2 villages  Household surveys (88) in 2 villages of each province  Consultative and feedback workshops (5) at national, provincial and village-levels
  8. 8. Study sites Characteristic Village A Son La Village B Nghe An Proximity to National Park Yes (core zone – Xuan Nha National Park) Yes (buffer zone – Pu Huong national park) Migration and movement forms Marriage, shifting cultivation practices) Young people seek for off-farm jobs Ethnicity Hmong people Thai people Poverty rate 38% 64.4% Number of households 100 84 Swidden area (provincial official statistics) Underreported 130 hectare
  9. 9. National level: swidden is considered a major driver of deforestation and forest degradation and needs to be eliminated Provincial level: persistence of swidden is considered a failure of political performance, thus no data is collected District level: swidden is allowed at the margins as one way to maintain national security at border areas Commune and village level: allows swidden to harmonize interests of different groups and avoid protest of ethnic groups to government Household level: swidden as a normal practice for food security Actors’ perceptions on swidden
  10. 10. “Government has tried to eradicate swidden since 1968 and forest protection and development policies closely link to permanent farming and settlement (định canh định cư). “ ……… “We have recently realized that swidden indeed does not play a significant role in the reduction of forest area as in fact, powerful actors such as big corporations and state agencies are indeed (behind / the drivers of) deforestation and degradation. However, it is difficult to change what has been written”, a government interviewee said.
  11. 11. Actors’ perceptions on swidden National level: swidden is considered a major driver of deforestation and forest degradation and needs to be eliminated Provincial level: persistence of swidden is considered a failure of political performance, thus no data is collected District level: swidden is allowed at the margins as one way to maintain national security at border areas Commune and village level: allows swidden to harmonize interests of different groups and avoid protest of ethnic groups to government Household level: swidden as a normal practice for food security
  12. 12. “Swidden no longer exists because forest rangers are very strict. There is therefore no case of shifting cultivation. “ …. “We all know that shifting cultivation is still on-going and the area has indeed increased but we cannot acknowledge this for two main reasons. First, our province is the largest corn producer in the country. Corn production plays a critical role in the provincial economy but is mainly produced through swidden and encroachment to the forests. We cannot report on that. Secondly, central government asserted the need to eliminate swidden due to its negative impact on forests and thereby provided many government support programs to the rural areas. The existence of shifting cultivation means we did not do a good job. We cannot report on that”.
  13. 13. Actors’ perceptions on swidden National level: swidden is considered a major driver of deforestation and forest degradation and needs to be eliminated Provincial level: persistence of swidden is considered a failure of political performance, thus no data is collected District level: swidden is allowed at the margins as one way to maintain national security at border areas Commune and village level: allows swidden to harmonize interests of different groups and avoid protest of ethnic groups to government Household level: swidden as a normal practice for food security
  14. 14. “This is not official state policy but government wants to let them stay and their shifting cultivation continue because H’mong people live close to border and H’mong people can inform them in case of any security issues”,
  15. 15. Actors’ perceptions on swidden National level: swidden is considered a major driver of deforestation and forest degradation and needs to be eliminated Provincial level: persistence of swidden is considered a failure of political performance, thus no data is collected District level: swidden is allowed at the margins as one way to maintain national security at border areas Commune and village level: allows swidden to harmonize interests of different groups and avoid protest of ethnic groups to government Household level: swidden as a normal practice for food security
  16. 16. “People are still expanding swidden area. Commune authorities know about that but they have no other choice than just ignore it. Without swidden area, how people can feed themselves?” ….. “What can we do? This is the traditional custom of the local ethnic groups here and we cannot stop them. Forbidding swidden will cause unhappiness and social unrest. We rather not do this”.
  17. 17. Actors’ perceptions on swidden National level: swidden is considered a major driver of deforestation and forest degradation and needs to be eliminated Provincial level: persistence of swidden is considered a failure of political performance, thus no data is collected District level: swidden is allowed at the margins as one way to maintain national security at border areas Commune and village level: allows swidden to harmonize interests of different groups and avoid protest of ethnic groups to government Household level: swidden as a normal practice for food security
  18. 18. “We know that swidden practice is illegal, however, we need it to have something to eat. Government said they will punish us for still practicing swidden but I never see a single case. I think government only say that to warn us but they understand that we have no other choice”.
  19. 19. 4 I’s and swidden realities ..  Institutional stickiness: throughout governance levels: colonial legacies, State and conservation alliance, and its legal manifestations  Interests: maintaining development as usual business; tactics of diversion of drivers of larger land use change?  Information: what is counted, counts!  Ideas: the mental models at all levels of what swidden is remain unchanged despite newer and different information;  dominant state discourse a powerful tool that effectively legitimates and enables interventions in highland provinces to control both resources and people thereby deepening unequal power relations and rendering invisible diversity of land use practices
  20. 20. Implications for REDD+  Politics of control and power might exacerbate environmental degradation in constraining managed adaptations of swidden systems.  The “invisibility” of swidden farmers in design and implementation of policies that generate local benefits, such as PES and REDD+, exacerbates inequity and potentially negative behavior spillovers.  PES and REDD+ policies may be misinformed due to inaccurate (or lack of) information on the extent of swidden, the actors engaged in the practice and the potential contribution of swidden landscapes to the policies’ objectives.
  21. 21. We acknowledge the support from: the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the European Union (EU), the UK Government, USAID, the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (CRP-FTA) with financial support from the CGIAR Fund. & all research partners and individuals that have contributed to this research Thanks

×