SOCIAL POLICY ECOLOGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE - SPERIFOREST AND LANDALLOCATION IN HANH DICHCOMMUNE, QUE PHONGDISTRICT, NGHE ANPROVINCEPILOT ON IMPLEMENTATION OF JOINCIRCULAR 07/2011/BNN-BTNMTREPORTED BY PHAM VAN DUNGHANOI, DECEMBER 2012
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 2Table of ContentsFOREST AND LAND ALLOCATION IN HANH DICH COMMUNE, QUE PHONG DISTRICT, NGHEAN PROVINCE ....................................................................................................................... 1Table of Contents .......................................................................................................... 2FOREST AND LAND ALLOCATION IN HANH DICH COMMUNE, QUE PHONG DISTRICT, NGHEAN PROVINCE ....................................................................................................................... 4Part I. Introduction................................................................................................................ 4Part II. Summary of the system of State Forestry Enterprises and other forestland users inHanh Dich............................................................................................................................. 6Part III. Inconsistencies in natural resource distribution in Hanh Dich................................... 93.1. The issue of ‘suspended’ planning and system of planning maps ................................ 93.2. Inadequacies in the conversion of land and capacity of forestland management ........ 113.3. Inadequacy in land distribution in Hanh Dich until 2011........................................... 12Part IV. SPERI’s Approach on Community Development and Strategy for Enriching SocialCapital ................................................................................................................................ 134.1. SPERI’s view on community forest and social capital............................................... 134.2. The Development Support of SPERI/TEW in Hanh Dich from 1999 to 2011............ 143. Forest allocation associated with forestland allotment in 2011-2012................................ 173.1. Legal basis ............................................................................................................... 173.2. Practical basis........................................................................................................... 183.3. Overview of the pilot on implementation of the Joint Circular 07 in Pom Om........... 183.4. Approach steps for implementation of the pilot on forest allocation and forestlandallotment in Pom Om ...................................................................................................... 20Step 1: Preparation of legalities, human resources and facilities................................... 20Step 2: Conduct studies on customary law and local knowledge in forest and landmanagement and use.................................................................................................... 21Step 3: Training for capacity building for communal and district officials ................... 22Step 4: Overall assessment, conflict resolutions and planning for forest and landallocation..................................................................................................................... 23Step 5: Village meetings for discussion on the current status of forest and land, andagree upon the content, approach and plan for forest and land allocation ..................... 24Step 6: Field measurement and demarcation................................................................ 25Step 7: Setting up community regulations on forest land co-management, usage andsharing benefit amongst the users in Pom Om.............................................................. 26Step 8: In-door work and procedure preparation for official approval .......................... 27Step 9: Forestland allocation in the field ...................................................................... 28
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 3Step 10: Organize a workshop for reviewing lessons learnt.......................................... 283.5. Initial results............................................................................................................. 29Part V. Discussion............................................................................................................... 321. Inconsistency in the legal framework on forest and land .............................................. 322. Inconsistency of forestland allocation in Hanh Dich .................................................... 34Part VI. Recommendations.................................................................................................. 351. Related to the Legal framework................................................................................... 352. Related to policy implementation ................................................................................ 36Annex : Simplify the complex procedures for forest and land allocation to ethnic minorities38
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 4FOREST AND LAND ALLOCATION IN HANH DICH COMMUNE, QUEPHONG DISTRICT, NGHE AN PROVINCEPart I. IntroductionHanh Dich is a mountainous commune in Que Phong district, Nghe An province. Upto 2012 all commune has 11, 691 households with 3294 inhabitants. 98% of thepopulation is the Thai ethnic; the rest is Kinh (Vietnamese majority) who are teachers,traders and soldiers.Figure 1: Location of Hanh Dich commune in GoogleEarthThe first group of Thai moved to live in Que Phong District since about 1835 fromThanh Hoa province (Vietnam), Lao PDR and Thailand1. There are two groups ofThai: ‘Tay Thanh’ and ‘Tay Muong’. The ‘Tay Thanh’ group lives mostly in remoteareas and higher altitude, from Khom to Hua Muong village, next to the Lao-Vietnamborder. The ‘Tay Muong’ lives mainly in the lower altitude region, from Pom Omdownward Chieng village (VNDT) 2007). While the ‘Tay Muong’ group insofar has1The Environment Policy and Community Development Journal, The Literature on Weekly (2007)
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 5had fewer opportunities to go out, the ‘Tay Thanh’ more exposed to the Kinh majorityand outside society outside as a whole.With the support of the Towards Ethnic Women (TEW), the forest and land allocationin Hanh Dich was implemented in 2003, in which 2,132 hectares of forestland havebeen allocated to 203 households under Decree 163/1999/ND-CP, as well 265 ha weretemporarily assigned (without land use right certificates) for 19 mass-organizationsi.e. Village Farmers’ Union and Women Union. Accordingly, the area of forestlandallocated to individuals and households is 0.78 ha per capita. However, due to theincreasing in population, this number is reduced to 0.65 ha / capita in 2012.Insofar, the forest and land is are vital space of the people to do cultivation, makehouses and grazing livestock. As well, the forests are spaces of the communities forcultural activities, with the sacred forests as ‘Lac Xua’ – where worships the firstsettler and founder of particular area, ‘’San’ as sacred forest for organizing thetraditional rituals, ‘Dong’ – the forest cemetery (SPERI 2007). People selected landfor cultivation and set up land boundaries in their traditional ways and be recognizedand respected by the whole community, so the community is competent to adjust theissues arising in the course of forestland use. The Thai people have long historyexperiences in the use of trees as medicines, food and drink. There are many remediesto cure incurable diseases, save lives inside and outside the community. Timber,firewood, non-timber forest products (NTPFs) such as rattan, bamboo are mainly usedwithin families such as making houses and means for living and production.The poverty rate in Hanh Dich remains very high; it is 80.1% in 2007, and 60.8% in2012 (Hanh Dich communal People’s Committee, 2008 - 2012). Only Cham and PomOm of the total 11 villages are self-sufficient in food. The area of allocated arable landand forests is remaining limited. Rice land is only 450 m2 / person or about 0.2 ha perhousehold. Therefore, people have to switch from the traditional farming (rotationalshifting cultivation) to stable farming on narrow sloping land. So, in order to securelivelihoods, in addition to food production and livestock, people collect bambooshoots and some non-timber forest products, even working as timber cutter for theoutside illegal logging traders. Each village has only 1-2 well-off families who are theKinh majority traders. Some Thai families have to turn into opening small shops, butthe number of sales and revenue are still much lower than that of the Kinh majorityfamilies in the same village Kinh. Another controversial issue is that young people areseeking to leave their homes to go elsewhere to make a living. Early 2012 when acompany to recruit labors in Hanh Dich, a dozen of young people was employed to beworkers in leather and other jobs in the South of Vietnam.According to the cadastral management books of Hanh Dich issued in 2011, the entirecommune has an area of 18,026 hectares, including 16,187.7 ha of forestland
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 6(accounting for 89.8%). Nevertheless, in which approximately 10,533.2 ha are underthe management of the Pu Hoat National Conservation Area and 3,227.62 ha ismanaged by the Que Phong Management Board of Protection Forest and Hanh DichCommunal People’s Committee. It means that the amount of land planned for the QuePhong Management Board of Protection Forest has not yet been defined.In fact, many land users are holding forestland under the planning and decision of theprovince authority, but be yet clearly shown on the map and cadastral books, or are inconflicts about boundaries. That is the Pu Hoat National Conservation Area and QuePhong Rubber Plantation Farm - now converted into the Nghe An General InvestmentJoint Stock Company on Rubber Development and the Que Phong ManagementBoard of Protection Forest. The volatility and reality of forest management of theseentities will be described in details in the next section.Part II. Summary of the system of State Forestry Enterprises andother forestland users in Hanh DichBy 2002, the land and forest users over 17,862 ha of the total natural area in HanhDich are listed in the following table:Chart 1: Forest and land users in Hanh Dich by năm 2002The process of conversion of forestland amongst users outside Hanh Dich started fromthe establishment and dissolution of the Phu Phuong State Forestry Enterprise, so-called Phu Phuong Enterprise. The period from 1975 to the 80s, the Phu Phuong StateForestry Enterprise managed almost forest area of Hanh Dich and other communes.The enterprise used to hold and administer the proceeds from the 327 program for thesake of re-greening barren hills across the country, namely the 327 program in theearly 90s. After the end of 327 program, along with the conversion of operational
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 7mechanism in accordance with the 661 program (5 million ha of planted forests) andother national development projects from the late 1990s to 2002, a part of the areaheld by the enterprise was transferred to the Management Board of Pu Hoat NationalConservation Area, Nghe An General Youth Volunteers Association Team 7, namelythe Youth Association. The rest is retained for the Phu Phuong Enterprise – currentlyconverted into the Que Phong Management Board of Protection Forest, whereas, until2002 the entire population in Hanh Dich was not allocated forest and land.The Nghe An General Youth Volunteers Association Team 7 was established underthe decision of Nghe An Provincial People’s Committee dated 24/06/2002 with thetask of building models on agro-forestry extension and farms for economicdevelopment in the border district as Que Phong. Then, the Youth Association wasallocated by the Nghe An Provincial People’s Committee the forestland within theland of Hanh Dich with the sake of expanding and promoting rubber plantations. In2011, the Nghe An Provincial Peoples Committee has decided to merge the YouthAssociation into the Nghe An General Investment Joint Stock Company on RubberDevelopment (hereafter called the Nghe An General Rubber Company). In thisprocess, the status quo of the project and forestland from the Nghe An YouthAssociation, which are 8,752 ha of the land area of Hanh Dich and Tien Phongcommunes.The Nghe An General Rubber Company was established in July 2007 to implementthe project on development of rubber plantations in the province. This company isbelonged to the Vietnam Rubber Industry Group. The Nghe An General RubberCompany joins by 9 shareholders, in which the largest shareholder is the VietnamUrban and Rubber Industrial JSC – GERUCO (46.5 billion Dong); the leastshareholder is the Rubber Finance Company (7.5 billion Dong). The remaining sevencompanies (shareholders) all contribute 12 billion Dong, which are Dong Nai RubberCompany Limited Corporation, Tay Ninh Rubber Joint Stock Company, Tan BienRubber Company Limited, Noc Linh Rubber Company Limited, Hoang Anh – MangYang Rubber Company Limited, Saigon-Hanoi SHB Commercial Joint Stock Bank,and Nghe An Agricultural Material Joint Stock Corporation.After the merger, in 2011 the Nghe An General Rubber Company has decided tochange the Nghe An Youth Association as Que Phong Rubber Plantation Farm. Thisfarm planned to plant 2,000 ha of rubber so-called ‘big farm’, and contract withindividual farmers to plant about 1,000 ha of rubber namely ‘small farm’ in the nearfuture.On the legal term, the Nghe An General Rubber Company is currently a enterprisewithin the system of the parent-subsidiary company of the State for the task ofeconomic development in the province. However, in reality this company operates
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 8based on the capital, management and decision of the individual shareholders onproduction and distribution of profits. The decision as well as majority of the almostprofits belong to the largest shareholders. The following diagram describes thestructure of the parent – subsidiaries companies and the joint venture and joint stock incapital of the Nghe An General Rubber Company.Diagram 2: Structure and shareholders of the Nghe An General Rubber CompanyRegardless the impacts to the environment and the livelihoods of local communities,the Nghe An General Rubber Company itself currently reveals internal problems. TheVietnam Agriculture News dated 08/08/2012 warned: "The rubber plantation projectin Nghe An is untimely dying." The main cause of this situation is the debt of theshareholders, the delay in the implementation of contracts in buying varieties andplanting rubber, also means that the future revenues offset get more distant.Meanwhile the cost of maintaining the management apparatus and workers’ wages isincreasingly weighing on the rapidly exhausted capital of this company.An entity which holds a large amount of land in Nghe An is the Nghe AnManagement Board of Biosphere Reserve located in the West of Nghe An certified byUNESCO on 20/9/2007, with a total planned area of 1,303,278 ha. Currently, about437,822 populations including Hanh Dich people are living in this area. The Pu HoatNational Conservation Area is the third core zone of this Biosphere Reserve. ThisConservation Area is in the list of Special-Use Forest System of Vietnam, which hasVIETNAM GENERAL RUBBER GROUPNghe An General RubberCompanyRubberPlantation Farm12/9 andotherunitsNgheAnYouthAssociation(2002)Other companiesDongNaiRubberCompanyLimitedCorporation (12billionDong)GERUCO (46,5billionDong)Saigon-HanoiSHBCommercialJointStockBank(12 tỉ đ)RubberFinanceCompany (7.5billionDong)5 othercompanies (12billionDong)QuePhongRubberPlantation Farm(2012)
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 9recorded in Decision 194/CT of the President of the Council of Ministers (now thePrime Minister). This area includes special-use and protection forests located in thenorth of the Chu River and sub-area III of production forest which have been recordedin the map of overall economic development of Nghe An decided in 1996. The PuHoat National Conservation Area was proposed to set up with an area of 67,900 haunder Document No. 310/CV.UB of Que Phong Peoples Committee which wassubmitted to the Nghe An Provincial People’s Committee for approval2.Part III. Inconsistencies in natural resource distribution in HanhDich3.1. The issue of ‘suspended’ planning and system of planning mapsLocal communities have traditionally had land for rotated slash-burnt cultivation,collecting forest products to secure their life over generations. The government hasissued policies to reorganize and renovate the state forestry enterprises in order toreturn land to the local community and ensure residential and productive land forethnic minorities. Instances of abovementioned policies are Resolution 28-NQ-TU ofthe Politburo dated 16/06/2003, Decision 132/2002/QD-TTg, Decree 170/2004/ND-CP, Decree 200/2004/ND-CP, Decision 134/2004/QD-TTg, Decision 146/2005/QD-TTg and Decision 74/2008/QD-TTg. But the paradox still exists in Hanh Dich as wellas many otherwise. Although the local people lack of land, but are not allocated landas the forestland is being suspended planning for the Nghe An Youth Association.Sub-areas 83-85 where are critical watershed land areas of Pom Om and thesurrounding are being planned for rubber plantations. Although the Que PhongRubber Plantation Farm has not been officially granted the land use right certificate, infact, it still holds the land as planned.From 2002 to 2003, TEW – the precursor of SPERI had collaborated with Hanh Dichcommunal and Que Phong district People’s Committee to implement a pilot onforestland allocation to the peoples in 8 villages in Hanh Dich. The remaining 3villages in Hanh Dich is not yet implemented the forestland allocation such as Na Xai,Hua Muong and Chieng. Na Xai and Hua Muong are currently located in thesuspended planning to set up the Pu Hoat National Conservation Area for many years.The forest within this ‘suspended’ planning area has been destroyed as the forestowner is only titled on paper, but in reality is unable to complete its responsibilities.Chieng village is also o trapped by the Que Phong Rubber Plantation Farm; so that,there is a little land left for allocation. As having not enough land, the forestlandallocation in Chieng village did not happen.2Website of the Pu Mat National Conservation Area
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 10The fact that, most of the communes in Que Phong are in the list of poverty, so thathardly access to the forestland allocation of the government. For example, Que Son –another commune of Que Phong is also influenced by the similar status quo as HanhDich. According to the Bao Moi News (2002), Que Son has an area of 3,724.55hectares with 3,569 inhabitants. However, the land for production is only 218.9 ha,including water area (60.7 hectares). In 2003, Nghe An Province Peoples Committeedecided to grant a ‘red book’ (land use right certificate) for the Que Phong StateForestry Enterprise the area of about 5.000 hectares, including part of Muong Noc andTien Phong communes, and all of Que Son. Thus, the entire land area of Que Son isunder the management of the Que Phong State Forestry Enterprise. Then, the NgheAn Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Nghe AnProvincial Peoples Committee agreed to return 1,000 hectares of forestland for localpeoples. However, the process faced the complexity of procedures, lack of financialsources, the forestland was not implemented, the Que Phong State Forestry Enterprisestill continues to manage and use this area for Acacia plantations.The Que Phong Start Forestry Enterprise which has only 15 workers manages over8,752 hectares of land and forest. It means, it is about 583.5 hectares / worker.Meanwhile the allocated land area in Hanh Dich is around 0.65 hectares / capita, andthe area of arable land of Que Son is only 0.06 ha / capita. With such differences, thequestion is how to ensure fairness and equality between enterprises / businesses andlocal people in the implementation of rights and responsibilities to use and benefitfrom land and forest?Consequences of the suspended forestland planningAs presented above, the current forestland planning and allocation does not harmonizethe needs of different actors. The ‘suspended planning’ also causes the situation thatthe rights and obligations are not tied to specific forest entities. The Pu HoatManagement Board of Special Use Forest is allocated forest and land, but in fact, thisarea is under the direct management and protection of the offices of forest protection,management board of the Pu Hoat National Conservation Area, and Communal andDistrict People’s Committees3. Since the unclear responsibilities for specific entities,as a consequence, forest is not protected.Local people lack of the land due to the ‘suspended’ planning; so that it is hard toaddress poverty reduction. If there is reallocation of productive land, people will nothave the opportunity to escape poverty and conflicts between people and state forestryenterprises would be increasingly tensed.3The website of the Pu Hoat National Conservation Area
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 113.2. Inadequacies in the conversion of land and capacity of forestlandmanagementIn the period of collectivism from the 1960s to 1980s, the peoples in Hanh Dich had torelocate twice at the behest of their superiors to merge cooperatives together into thelarger scale production and the resettlement program happened in the years 1977-1978. Although some people moved on the instructions, but each family retains anumber of people to take care of their houses, farms in the former villages. After sometimes, the entire removed people found that in the new places there are manydifficulties and not enough land for production; so that they all got back to the formerlocations. Since then the population stays the same so far.The loopholes in the planning process have created conditions for a number oforganizations to take advantages to convert the forest land use purposes. The Nghe AnYouth Association continuously holds the land from 2002 to 2011, and thentransferred to the Que Phong Rubber Plantation Farm. The land holding and transferas a such has lacked of the consideration of local realities as well as the requirementsof the upper authority levels, that is, ‘the conversion from agricultural land and naturalforestland under the category of poor productive forest to rubber plantations must bepublic and transparent ". The guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture and RuralDevelopment at Circular 58/TT-BNNPTNT dated 9/9/2009 which requires rubberplantations must implement environmental impact assessments (Clause 2 of Article 2).At the same time, the technical criteria and standards in land planning for rubberplantations (article 3) is only allowing the conversion of degraded forest into rubberplantations (Article 4). However, the lack of consideration in rubber plantations to theenvironmental and social impacts, the planning does not prioritize to ensure forestlandand livelihoods of the peoples in Hanh Dich. Even, rubber plantations are planned onthe sacred forests and watersheds areas. Some villages currently do not have enoughland to allocate for peoples i.e. Chieng village. The company still took land closelynext to the residential locations, sometimes to the foot of the stairs for rubberplantations. Given such plans, only when the peoples and Hanh Dich authorities havestrong recommendations, and supports from TEW the land and forest allocation couldbe implemented.Similar to the land for rubber plantations, the forestland keeping and maintenance ofthe Management Board of Forest Protection are also based on the planning ofgovernment on budget for the planned protection and special-use forests, but not referto the needs and ability of forest protection. For example, the Que Phong ManagementBoard of Protection Forest only has 39 staffs, but manages around 48,496 hectares offorestland – about 1,243.5 ha per person. Although this Management Board exists, itis unable to manage such a huge of forest due to its limited human resources.
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 123.3. Inadequacy in land distribution in Hanh Dich until 2011Sacred forests as ‘Lac Xua’, ‘San’, ‘Dong’ and wet fields which over manygenerations attach the peoples and communities whose are still not entitled the landuse right certificates (red books). Since before the August Revolution in 1945, theforms of community and private forest management based on the customary laws usedto be existed in Hanh Dich. The village boundaries were delineated by therepresentatives. If any disputes arose, the elderly and land owners of the relevantvillages are responsible to resolve. Currently, this role is jointly taken by elderly andvillage management board, including Veterans’ Association, Farmer’s Union, andformal village leaders.Chart3: Comparison of number and forestland area per capita in Hanh Dich by 2011Apparently, Hanh Dich has a large average of forestland area per capita, but actuallyland for allocation to the peoples is relatively limited. The cause which is not onlytaken place in Hanh Dich, but also many other locations is due to the delay in landallocation. Outside entities excused that either the areas in Hua Muong, Na Xai arewatershed forests or the land planned for rubber plantations in other villages wouldnot allocated to peoples and communities. While the local populations lack offorestland (only allocated 0.65 ha / person), then the average forestland area perofficial of the Que Phong Management Board of Protection Forest is 1,243 hectares,and each staff of the Nghe An General Rubber Company obtained about 61.3 ha.Over 60 years (the period of setting up the system of state forestry enterprises andcollectivism) the concept of private forest was existed within the Thai communities. Insome periods, the Phu Phuong State Forestry Enterprise used to manage almostforestland in Hanh Dich. Since 2002, part of the area of this enterprise has beentransferred to the Nghe An Youth Association and Que Phong Management Board of
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 13Protection Forest. The remaining is assigned for Hanh Dich communal people’scommittee to manage.As chart 3, it clearly sees the irrationality in the allocation of forestland resourcesdistribution in Hanh Dich. The population of the commune is bigger compared toother units (3,168 people compared to 39 staffs of the Que Phong Management Boardof Protection Forest and 230 workers of the Nghe An General Rubber Company.However, the proportion of forestland distributed for the peoples in Hanh Dich is verymuch lower than that of the Que Phong Management Board of Protection Forest andNghe An General Rubber Company.Part IV. SPERI’s Approach on Community Development andStrategy for Enriching Social Capital4.1. SPERI’s view on community forest and social capitalLocal communities involving in management and use of forest and land is the centralprocess with their beliefs on the Mountain Spirit, Forest Spirit, Water Spirit, thecommunity rituals, customary laws in natural resources governance. Specifically, theThai in Hanh Dich has maintained their religion in worshiping the ‘Lac Xua’ as LandSpirit and Village Founder, Herbal Medicine Spirit, forbidding cutting trees in ‘San’as sacred forests, ‘Dong’ – cemetery forest and watershed forest. Such belief andcustomary law have formed the collective will and awareness to help the communitiesto protect and develop forests.The forest allocation aiming to increase the responsibility of local communities foreffective use and management is fitting to the state policy on community forestry.That is the requirement to use forest resources for the livelihoods and culture of thelocal communities, not for profit, not sale and mortgage. Many community forestswould help to secure and stabilize the livelihood of local peoples while all disputes areresolved. On that basis, the forestry could be developed; so that, those who involve inforestry can survive and enrich their careers.Allocation of the forestland aiming to help the local communities to maintain andpractice their cultural values is an effective solution for the enrichment of socialcapital. Social capital closely relates to trust, community cohesion, mutual helps viathe community traditional institutions and organizations. If the forest is lost, thecommunity will lose the spaces of traditional ritual - an important element to link andpromote community identity. So, in the development approaches, SPERI not onlypays attention to the promotion of traditional institutions and integration between thecustomary laws and statutory laws, but also tries to ensure the necessary conditionsand environment for survival of such values – that is forestland for the local
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 14communities. One of the requirements set out for the forest and land allocation for thelocal communities is to find proper solutions to the shortcomings, harmonize differentinterests and concerns within the community and between communities and relevantland users. Therefore, the community forestland not only makes sense for thecommunity particularly, but also has inter-regional impacts and society as a whole.The mountainous areas with the advantages of forest and forestry are totally differentto the lowlands characterized by agricultural production. The difference expressed innatural conditions along with ways of organizing production and lifestyle of eachregion. The traditional rotational swidden farming practices which reflect thetraditional method of production is consistent for a long time in preventing soil runoffin the highlands, while the lowland is often well-known for the intensive cultivation inthe limited land condition. While the tendency of increased use modern medical drugsin the lowland, the traditional healing and herbal medicinal plants are still popular inthe highlands due to the transportation constraints and limited public health careservices. Therefore, it is hard to apply modern techniques and thinking of the lowlandagricultural mode to impose on the mountainous forest regions. For example, the largeproduction organization, bringing tractors up hills would be costly, inefficient, evencausing runoff; landslides and flash floods...Alternatives for such problems are toresponsibly study, respect and promote the traditional customs and local knowledgewhich have been adapted with nature for many generations.In contrast to the knowledge and farming practices, the resources uses which havebeen stable over many generations in the upland communities is the profit orientationof most businesses. If the only companies are prioritized for maximizing theexploitation of forest resources for profits, it would be unavoidable the adverseimpacts to the up and down stream environment characterized with its sensitivity.Therefore, policy makers need to raise and answer the question: should accept andencourage a forest society for the safety of local livelihoods and nation or allowbenefit for a few of businesses in order to gain short-term profit and tax, but cause aenormous negative impacts and insecurity in the long-run?4.2. The Development Support of SPERI/TEW in Hanh Dich from 1999 to2011The Towards Ethnic Women (TEW) which is the precursor of SPERI begin toconduct studies and support building capacity for community development, naturalresource management in Hanh Dich since 1999. By 2006, TEW, Center for HumanEcology Studies of Highlands (CHESH) and Center for Indigenous Knowledge andDevelopment (CIRD) merged into SPERI. Over the years working with ethnicminorities, SPERI has empowered key persons and coordinators who are prestigious
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 15farmers and progressive local authorities and able to make linkages, coordinate andimplement the community development task. Therefore, at the same time, SPERI hasstrongly reform internally, handling its direct coordination and implementation of thedevelopment projects to local key farmers and coordinators. Then, SPERI hasemphasized much on bridge-building and linking initiatives and best practicesbetween project sites via the National Key Famer’s Networks (NKN), and now asthematic networks i.e. customary law in watershed natural resources management,herbal medicine, eco-farming, etc. of the Mekong Community Networking and Eco-trading (MECO-ECOTRA).From 1999 to 2011, TEW / SPERI has empowered the capacity of local communitiesin natural resources management via a series of training, study exchanges, workshopson eco-farming, herbal medicines, traditional handicraft textiles and communityorganization. On the basis of integration the values of the clan based organizations,namely ‘Phuong Hoi’ in different topics i.e. harvesting, housing, funeral, wedding, arange of common interest groups gardening, saving-credit, herbal medicine, etc. wasformed during the period from 2000 to 2003. In which, the Herbal Medicine Group isseen as the most effective and sustainable operation. The Group has been developedfrom the 12 initial members by 2003 up to 26 in 2007. Healing members are not onlyinterest in promoting healing, but also imparting the medicinal knowledge to theyounger generations through the admission of more young members, organizingpractical sharing among healers in the commune.In 2007, the Group has organized a seminar on “Conservation and development of thetraditional herbal medicine" with 54 participants, of which there are 12 heads ofcommunal clinics in Que Phong, 4 chairmen of the Communal People’s Committees,Chairman of Que Phong District Oriental Medicine Association, director of the QuePhong Health Care Center. Significantly, the Group has achieved the recognition ofNational Ten Standards of Heath Care at Communal Level, and being recruited as aunit of the Que Phong District Oriental Medicinal Association since 2007. Afterwards,the Group has actively lobbied Hanh Dich authorities to allocate 04 herbal plantforests with total area of 10 hectares. Besides, the Group promoted its members todevelop household herbal plant gardens, especially that of Mr. Ha Van Tuyen in PomOm.The forestland allocation to local communities is to assert the legal rights ofcommunity forestland management and use. Actually, it is not only the right, but atthe same time, determines the obligations of those who are in charge of protecting thecultural values and local knowledge in the community forests. With the TEW support,203 households in Hanh Dich were entitled the rights to 2,132 hectares of forestlandunder Decree 163/1999/ND-CP. The communities whose representatives are village
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 16mass-organizations such as the Veterans’ Association, Farmers Union, Youth Unionand Womens Union were temporarily allocated 265 hectares of forestland. This is dueto the fact that there is not available legal framework at that time for the allocation offorestland to the community.Due to the heterogeneity between the actual forestland owners (community) inaccordance to the tradition and the on-behalf land owner (mass), the management offorest and land temporarily allocated for village mass-organizations was not aseffective as expected. Some cases, heads of village mass-organizations free-rode tosell bamboo in such above forests for the Huong Thao Company and Ha TayCompany in 2008. This situation was resolved after having the complaints of villagersto the communal and district authorities.Until 2007, the government still does not have a detailed legal framework to guide theallocation of forest and land to the local communities. On the other hand, thegovernment issued some legal documents to allocate forest to the community, butsome shortcomings and inconsistencies remained. For instance, the concept of"community" must be associated with the village level (Clause 13 of Article 3 of theLaw on Forest Protection and Development, 2004), or the obligation to classify andidentify the category, quantity of forest which requires expensive costs (point 5c,Section II, Circular 38/2007/TT-BNN). So that, in 2003, TEW proposed Hanh DichCommunal People’s Committee to assign forest and land for the Herbal MedicineGroup for preservation of herbal plants. Although not yet having official land usecertificate (red book), with the regulation of group and voluntary contribution, healermembers have well protected these forests while the surrounding forest are beincreasingly exploited.Allocation of forest and land to households and individuals has encouraged the localpeople to confidently organize production in the long-run. In fact, after the allocationof land and forest, there is an occurrence of different self-help groups which workrelatively effectively in a range of themes such as gardening, ecological forestrygardening like models of Mr. Vi Van Nhat and Vi Van Thanh in Na Xai village orbio-diversity garden with variety with the medicinal species of Mr. Ha Van Tuyen inPom Om. Such initial results and the limitations of forest and land taken place in 2003are good experiences for SPERI to continue to carry out pilots on forest allocationassociated with forestland allotment in 2011 - 2012.
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 173. Forest allocation associated with forestland allotment in 2011-20123.1. Legal basisIn recent years, the Vietnam government has issued many documents regarding thedecentralization on land management, as the Politburos Resolution 28 dated06/26/2003 on continuity of restructuring, innovation and development of state agro-forestry enterprise, the Law on Land in 2003, the Law on Forest Protection andDevelopment in 2004, Decree 181/2004/ND-CP dated 29/10/2004 on theimplementation of the Land Law, Decree 200/2004/ ND-CP dated 3/12/2004 ofreorganization, renovation and development of state forestry enterprises; Decision18/2007/QD-TTg dated 5/202007 on approving the forestry development strategy for2006-2020.Clause 3 of Article 9 in the Law on Land regulated that the community is an entity ofland use so that is entitled to the forestland rights. To specify that provision, theMinistry of Agriculture and Rural Development has issued Circular 38/2007/TT-BNNdated 04/25/2007 on guiding the order and procedures for allocation, lease of forests,forest withdrawal from organizations, households, individuals andvillages/communities.To support the forestry professions who can live and develop by their careers, theState has policies on payments for environmental services i.e. Decree 99/2010/ND-CPdated 09/24/2010, the payment mechanism of REDD i.e. Decision 799/QD-TTg of thePrime Minister dated 27/6/2012 on approving the National Program of Action on"Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through efforts to limit deforestation and forestdegradation, sustainable management of forest resources, conserve and enhance forestcarbon stocks" for the period 2011 - 2020. Accordingly, the requirement is that eachforest and land must have its own proper legitimate user.Given the slow and inconsistent implementation of forest and land allocation inreality, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Ministry of NaturalResources and Environment have issued Joint Circular 07/2011/TTLT-BNNPTNT-BTN&MT dated 29/01/2011 (hereafter called Joint Circular 07) on guiding somecontents regarding forest allocation and lease associated with forestland allotment andlease. The issuance of this document has two sides of the coin. In one hand, itlegalizes the rights and obligations of the community to forest and land while ensuringthe rights of livelihood, religion, co-responsibility and participation of all local actors.In other hand, the document could create favorable conditions for several entities tocompete each other for land and benefit from forest. Given the current context in themountainous ethnic minority regions where local peoples have limited education
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 18qualification as well as financial resources, clearly, elite groups such as businesses andwell-off individuals would have more advantages to approach the legal policies. Iflocal communities are not clearly confirmed on the legal documents, they wouldhardly receive forest and land in reality.3.2. Practical basisThe Thai community in Pom Om has the traditional customs, religious beliefsassociated with the nature spirits as worshiping the forest spirit, big tree spirit, guardof the sacred forests, ghost forests and using medicinal herbs for health care...Thecommunity has a need to get the land use right certificates in long-run in order tomanage natural resources, practice spiritual rituals and sustain livelihoods.As mentioned above, the Hanh Dich Herbal Medicine Group (Hanh Dich OrientalMedicine Association) was already allocated temporarily the forests for preservationand use of herbal plants in accordance the customary law based regulation. However,it would have uncertainties and challenges – that is the boundary overlapping, and‘suspended’ planning of the Que Phong Rubber Plantation Farm, if the communityhave not yet received the land use rights.The government policy on forest and land allocation for the local communities underthe Joint Circular 07 has been taken by Que Phong leaderships via the pilot in PomOm. On 21/10/2011, Que Phong District People’s Committee issued the Plan 84/KH-UBND to implement the Joint Circular 07 in Hanh Dich. This decision meets theneeds of use and protection of forest and land of the community while it provides anenabling legal environment for SPERI to work with local communities.3.3. Overview of the pilot on implementation of the Joint Circular 07 in PomOm.The implementation of model on forest allocation associated with forestlandallotment ((FLA) for the community in Pom Om, Hanh Dich commune, Que Phongdistrict aims to :1. Decentralize the rights to the community in Pom Om village, Hanh Dichcommune on forest and land management, protection and use;2. Pilot a model on community forest management in Pom Om village, HanhDich commune on the basis of integration between customary law and statutorylaw;3. Have lessons learnt on decentralizing the right of management of forest andland to local community as a basis for proposing recommendations ofexpansion to other locations.
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 19The process of implementing this pilot is in compliance with the laws and policies onland for local ethnic minorities such as Decision 134/2004/QD-TTg, Decision146/2005/QD-TTg Decision 198/2007/QD-TTg and Joint Circular 07. The pilotfurther promoted the values of belief, local knowledge and full participation of localcommunity as well as other relevant local actors towards sustainable co-management,use and benefit from forest and land resources.Chart 4: Actors involved in FLA in Pom OmTo ensure the transparency and effective as well as resolve conflicts peacefully, thefull participation of relevant actors is vital. The first actor is Pom Om communitywhich is both beneficiaries and taking responsibility to effectively manage theallocated forest and land. The second group is village mass-organizations and self-help groups i.e. the Herbal Medicine Group who co-manage and share benefit fromthe forest and land resources. The competent agencies which represent the governmentto supervise the forestland allocation as well as management and use of the allocatedforestland include Que Phong Steering Committee on Forestland Allocation, HanhDich Communal Council on Forestland Allocation, Hanh Dich Communal People’sCommittee as well as relevant agencies. Joining in the process of facilitation andcoordination of the pilot incorporates district and communal coordinators of theMekong Community Networking and Eco-trading (MECO-ECOTRA) in Que Phong.The Central Joint Stock Company on Agriculture Consultancy involved in the pilot asa technical service provider. SPERI played a role in advising the methodological
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 20approaches, finance as well as connecting with different relevant actors to take-part inthe pilot. There was also the involvement of other actors such as the Border ArmyStation in Hanh Dich and Que Phong Oriental Herbal Association.3.4. Approach steps for implementation of the pilot on forest allocation andforestland allotment in Pom OmThe approach taken place throughout the implementation of the pilot includes thefollowing 10 steps:Step 1: Preparation of legalities, human resources and facilities1. To create an umbrella for participation of different actors in the pilot, Que PhongPeople’s Committee set up a Steering Committee on Forestland Allocation (SCFA)which includes district vice chairman being as the leader and representative memberssuch as Office of Natural Resources and Environment, Office of Agriculture andRural Development, Office of Forest Protection, Management Board of ProtectionForest, MECO-ECOTRA coordinator with advise of SPERI. Hanh Dich Council onForestland Allocation is then set up, including communal chairman, communalcadastral official and representatives of Mass-Organizations in Pom Om such asvillage Fatherland Front, Youth Union, Women Union, Farmers Union and villagehead.2. Organize technical training on community based FLA for members of the Districtand Communal FLA Teams and Communal Council on FLA;3. Collect relevant available documents, information i.e. reports on land use, forestand land planning at communal and district levels;4. Anticipation of the size and position of the traditional forest and land allocation ofthe community on the basis of the review of land use planning, forest use planning (3types of forest) at district and commune levels;5. Make plans on FLA in Pom Om.The discussions were afterwards conducted between SPERI and district authorities onhow to approach the implementation of pilot on FLA under the Joint Circular 07.Then, both sides agreed upon through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on"Coordinating the pilot on forest allocation associated with the allocation of forestlandto villages/communities in Hanh Dich, Que Phong”. The Memorandum has definedduties of the parties, under which the Que Phong District Peoples Committee directsthe functional agencies such as Office of Natural Resources and Environment, Officeof Forest Protection take charge of involving in the process of allocation of forest andland as well as issues relevant decisions of the allocation of forestland within itsjurisdiction. The Communal Peoples Committee assigns it staffs and village head, as
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 21well mobilizes villagers to participate in the FLA process. SPERI is responsible tofacilitate the approach on community-based FLA, conduction of basic surveys,training, documentations, and advice on community regulations on forestlandmanagement, land and forest use planning as well as financial support.Through the discussions, local actors especially district and communal functionalagencies get better understanding of the concept and practices of community basedFLA allocation. The approach maximizes and empowers local peoples to take-part andplay the main role in every activity and stage in FLA. Local authorities and otheragencies involved in FLA with the roles as government’s representatives and learningthe traditional values of community such as local knowledge, customary law andcommunity organization in forest and land use management and use; then, they couldintegrate flexibly the government policies, guidelines with the local norms to meet theactual needs and effectiveness of FLA as well as natural resources management anduse in the post allocation.Step 2: Conduct studies on customary law and local knowledge in forestand land management and useCoordinators of MECO-ECOTRA in Que Phong and Hanh Dich, and SPERI staffunder the technical advises of The Central Joint Stock Company on AgricultureConsultancy conducted studies to record the customary law and local knowledge ofthe community in forestland management and use. Simultaneously, they implementedassessments of the present situation of socio-economic and environment, as wellcommunity organizations related to forestland resources management and use;investigate to identify the characteristics of forest and land; measure and makemapping of the current status of forest and land. The project also implemented theFLAs needs assessment and survey at households and community, meanwhilemobilized elderly and healers to describe and draw diagrams of their village boundaryand the status of different types of forest. With the experiences of elderly and keyvillagers in the community, positions of the spiritual forests, sacred forests andproduction forests for cultivation, farmland, paddy rice and the traditional boundariesbetween villages have been clearly described and visible for local peoples.This study and assessment not only the authority of district, commune, SPERI andlocal officials who involved in FLA to clearly understand the situation, needs of thecommunity, but also promote the local knowledge, role of the community in resolvingdisputes regarding forest and land. Since then the district authorities also have a solidbasis to determine the content, FLA plan for the communities in Hanh Dichparticularly, other villages in Que Phong in general.
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 22The assessment of community needs revealed that all villagers in 11 villages in HanhDich desire to be entitled the rights to forest and land, as well additional allocation offorestland to households who have not yet received land titles under Decree163/1999/ND-CP. However, due to the limited forestland, the forestland allocation tothe community in some village is not feasible. Through fact-finding, the FLA Teamfound problems and timely resolved before proceeding with the next steps. Relevantstakeholders have discussed and agreed upon a forestland allocation plan, area andboundaries of the planned allocation as well as preparation of legal procedures forallocation of forestland for communities. The FLA Team then submitted necessarydocuments regarding the area, locations and types of forest allocated for thecommunity to the competent authorities for approval. Que Phong People’s Committeehas issued Document No. 84/KH-UBND dated 21/10/2011 to approve the content andplan of FLA for communities.As a result, Pom Om is prioritized a the pilot to conduct the allocation of forestassociated with forestland allotment to the community as Pom Om represents to theneeds of other 11 villages and the practices of the Thai ethnic in community forestmanagement. Further, the Herbal Medicine Group in Pom Om is contemporarilyentitled to the herbal plant forest, but not yet obtains the ‘red book’. A number offorestland which was just contemporarily allocated to families, Village Women Unionand Farmer’s Association necessitates to be reallocated accordance to the provisionsof Joint Circular 07.Step 3: Training for capacity building for communal and district officials84 people who are communal officials and representatives of 11 villages in Hanh Dichattended a series of training; so that, they are better understand the legal knowledge ofcommunity forests i.e. Law on Land, Law on Forest Protection and Development,Circular 38 /2007/TT-BNN and Joint Circular 07. The trainings are not only fordissemination of guidelines and policies on LFA i.e. the rights and obligations ofparticipants in the land, forest use and management as well as contents of forestallocation associated with forestland allotment, but also at the same time to identifyneeds and aspirations of individuals, families and communities, discuss on plans ofFLA at communal level, analysis of forest and land areas expected for allocation.Key farmers (i.e. elderly, healers and clans’ heads) are selected to participate inimplementing the forestland allocation. Also, the community assigned itsrepresentatives who are not necessarily village leader to be in charge to coordinate allactivities from planning, implementation, monitoring to evaluation, of the forestlandallocation. These representatives are afterwards formed as ‘Village ManagementBoard’ which will be named in the land use right certificate of the community.
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 23This training activity is not merely a one-way communication and dissemination ofthe techniques and policies, but more important is the discovery and encouragecommunity initiatives, seek integration between the customary law with the formallaw in the process of enforcement of the community based forest and landmanagement. On the other hand, plans and programs of action on FLA can be clearlyidentified to the application of knowledge from the training.Step 4: Overall assessment, conflict resolutions and planning for forest andland allocationDistrict and Communal Teams on FLA with community representatives reviewedoverall current status of forest and land use, identified difficulties and confirm theforest and land boundaries between community, households and businesses. Disputesover forest and land are then consulted and resolved by villagers, especially forestlandusers. So, the Team held village meetings i.e. meetings of clans’ heads, villageleaderships and whole villagers in order to make plans for community basedforestland allocation, use and management. On the basis of the community basedforest and land planning and the proposal of Hanh Dich People’s Committee, QuePhong District Peoples Committee has issued an Official Document 533/UBND.TNdate 08/11/2011 to allocate plots 4, 7, 8, 11 of the sub-area 85 of forest and land forPom Om.Through working with community, the difficulties and inconsistencies are detectedand effectively resolved on time. The results of the assessment, especially disputesarose were consulted with villagers via village meetings in order to have solutions. Forinstance, in the forest and land area planned for allocation to Pom Om community,some households have already made perennial gardens before, such as planting palmtrees for thatching houses and acacia. Some villagers especially women have growncassava in the Ten Puc are. It is necessary to reclaim the land areas being cultivated byabove households and individuals into the community forestland. After severalcommunity meetings, Pom Om agreed to these households to continue farming onthese areas. But, they are not allowed to transfer these lands, not expand into otherareas for cultivation. Entire these areas are entitled into the management ofcommunity. When there is no need to use these land areas, the land users must returnto the community.
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 24Map 2: Positions of the plots and current status offorestland in Pom Om village, Hanh Dich commune onthe satellite image (SPOT 5) by 2010.Source: TheCentral Joint Stock Company on AgricultureConsultancyIn the process of assessment andevaluation of the current status offorestland planned to allocate toPom Om community, villagersreclaimed that why the land forrubber plantations of Que PhongRubber Plantation Farm is largewhile the productive land ofvillagers is small. Meanwhile,more than 10 years ago since theplanning, this area has been notmanaged well; so that thesituation of illegal exploitation offorest is a serious problem.Villagers in Muong Noccommune who practice invasivefarming as cattle ranchessupported outsiders to do illegallogging in the Pu Hoat NationalConservation Area. Therefore, onthe basis of people’s needs, HanhDich Communal People’sCommittee proposed the QuePhong district authority toreallocate above areas for PomOm to manage. After severalmeetings amongst the DistrictCommunist Party Standing Committee, the District People’s Committee issued adecision to reallocate such areas for Pom Om.Step 5: Village meetings for discussion on the current status of forest andland, and agree upon the content, approach and plan for forest and landallocationThe Communal and District FLA Teams presented all results from step 3 to step 4 tothe entire community for comments and adjustment. Through discussion, the entirecommunity agreed upon a consensus and clarified the entire current status offorestland resources management and use. Officials and local people discussed andagreed the resolutions for conflicts mainly based on the customary law. The partiesdiscussed to unify content, planning and forestland allocation plans for the
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 25community, including appropriate attention on integration between the customary lawand statutory law.Before conducting measurement and demarcation, the FLA Teams held meetings withvillagers to develop detailed plans for implementing the allocation of forest and landfor community. On the basis of such meetings, villagers set up different groups, with5-7 people each. These groups will conduct a range of topics such as boundary survey,forest volume measurement and forest classification. The boundary survey groupinvolves villagers who are familiar with different terrains; know the specific names ofstreams, mountains and ways in the region. The forest volume measurement groupincludes those who know names of the trees. The forest classification group involvesvillagers who are able to make planning for forest and land use and management.These groups with the District and Communal FLA Teams make a detailed plan toconduct field surveys and measurement of forest volume and structure in order todevelop the profile for allocation of forest and land for the community.With above steps, the concept of community based FLA is clearly understood andconfidently applied by local actors. Accordingly, the values of cultural identity, belief,customary law and knowledge of the community are respected and applied throughoutFLA. Villagers actively involved in every activity and stage of FLA.Step 6: Field measurement and demarcationThe FLA Team, Que Phong Management Board of Protection Forest and villagers inPom Om made land boundary marks. With the local participation, the survey of foreststates in parcels such as 4, 7, 8, 11 of sub-plot 85 have completed. Forestlandboundaries and forest states are mapped and recorded. In which, the boundariesbetween forestland of community and families, productive land and watershed foresthave been clearly defined. The areas of land of families for cultivation and forestplantations are identified and calculated. Timber volume, timber species and otherforest trees were statistically recorded, classified and identified by scientific and Thainames. The community forests are identified by two main categories such as mixedtimber bamboo and young forests after shifting cultivation. Then, a series of villagemeetings were held in order to inform and consult the field survey results. Finally, theFLA Team summarizes and synthesizes such results into a report – a basis for furtherFLA steps.The survey showed that, although the timber volume of forest is no longer significant,but the species is very diverse. After a long-duration of being exploited and shiftingcultivation, the forest state has changed. Many species are started to re-generate, thethickness of forestland soil has increased. For the Thai, these re-generated forest treesare very valuable as materials for medicinal healing.
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 26After surveying and measuring in the field, the FLA Team has drafted a plan formanagement and use of the community forestland. This plan was afterwards consultedamong different village groups such as clans’ heads, women and youths. The factshows that there is a clear distinction in the process of production organizationbetween village groups. Normally womens groups specialize for farming andcollecting bamboo shoots while men are usually in charge of cutting timbers formaking houses. Elderly are more interested in spirit forest and watershed protectionforest. Therefore, the discussions of community forest planning through the groupsview somewhat reflect specific wishes and needs of the villagers.The active participation of villagers has contributed to reduce human resources andcosts for technical advice. This is seen as a solution for the requirement mentioned inthe Article 5c, Section II of Circular 38/2007/TT-BNN which obliges to have externalassessment of the forest state. The participation of villagers, communityrepresentatives and adjacent land entities to identify the actual boundaries help theusers to be confident during the process of management and usage. At the same time,the problems and conflicts are detected and discussed, resolved on the spot, avoid theunsettled problems and disputes arise in the future.Step 7: Setting up community regulations on forest land co-management,usage and sharing benefit amongst the users in Pom Om.The FLA Team conducted records regarding the practices of forest and landmanagement and use in Pom Om. Then, the Team consulted with Pom Om villageleaders and key villagers to draft a community regulation in forestland managementand use. The regulation was also followed up the existing community based regulationfor forest management set up in 2006. The regulation is as well referred and reviewedin accordance with the Circular 106/2006/QD-BNN of the Ministry of Agriculture andRural Development (MARD) on guiding the establishment of community regulationsin forest protection.Five meetings were held with the participation of whole villagers to discuss and agreeup on rules for management and use of each type of the allocated community forestland on the basis of customary law / traditional institution. Different village groupswhich are responsible to manage and protect each type of the community allocatedforest are also established. Then, the community regulation on forestland managementand use is made in accordance with the villagers’ discussion, debate and agreement.The draft regulation is afterwards submitted to the district authority for approval.The importance of setting up the community regulation is practice bases andcommunity agreements on ensuring their livelihoods, the respect and maintenance ofsacred forests, protected forests and grazing areas. It is necessary to facilitate different
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 27village sectors i.e. healers and women groups to discuss and form rules to manage anduse their forestland areas assigned by the community. As proposed by women groupas well as the needs of the community, the small land stripes within the communityforestland are planned for cassava cultivation to make the traditional wine. This landis preserved, but not expanded.The regulation reflects the cultural institutions of community in protection offorestland through rules in planning, management and sanctions. The traditional self-help institutions, namely ‘Phuong Hoi’ have been integrated into the communityregulation. Importantly, the Village Management Board for the community forestlandmanagement includes elderly and clans’ heads. Such representatives are leaderships ofdifferent ‘Phuong Hoi’. As long as the role of male representatives, gender equality ispaid much attention within the structure of Village Management Board. The provisionregarding contributions of villagers in forest protection is agreed in line with that ofthe ‘Phuong Hoi’.Step 8: In-door work and procedure preparation for official approvalThe FLA Team completed a plan of forestland allocation, maps, land use planning andcommunity regulation on forest management and use, and other related documents inaccordance with the provisions of Circular 38/2007 and Joint Circular 07/2011 inorder to submit Que Phong People’s Committee for review and approval. Then, thedossier is reviewed by the district competent authority. The review’s result isafterward submitted to the district People’s Committee to issue the certificate offorestland use right for Pom Om community.As reported by the head of Que Phong District Office of Natural Resources andEnvironment, the issuance of the certificate of forestland use right for Pom Omcommunity is different in terms of process compared with forestland allocation toother entities i.e. families and organizations. The procedures for issuing the certificateof forestland use right for are not yet incomplete, no specific and complete guidelines.On the other hand, the implementation of forest allocation associated with forestlandallotment, mapping methods, map symbols, map content under the Joint Circular 07require differences compared to the provisions of forestland allocations in theprevious legal documents / guidelines. There is no any clear provision in the legalframework regarding issuing the certificate of forestland use right for the community.The procedures applied for the case of Pom Om are implemented on the basis of"flexibility" in order to complete the pilot on implementation of the Joint Circular 07.This has caused the longer duration for completion of procedures of forestlandallocation to Pom Om community as up to 5 months. It is obvious that, with thecurrent incomplete legal basis, local communities alone like Pom Om cannot completeall required dossier regarding forest allocation associated with forestland allotment
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 28(the Joint Circular 07). Even, the local authorities at commune and district are not ableto make FLA records for forestland allocation to the community under the JointCircular 07 and Circular 38/2007/TT-BNN if there are no supports and advices ofexternal consulting agencies.Step 9: Forestland allocation in the fieldThe forestland allocation in the field for Pom Om community is implemented with theparticipation of different representatives including village leader, elderly, key farmer,and village groups i.e. women and healers which are assigned to manage thecommunity forestland. Then, these representatives conducted boundary markers in thefield, and also signed the handover, received the decision and record regarding FLA.The measurement, land boundary identification and forestland allocation in the field inaccordance to the land use right certificate are necessary to confirm the scope of rightsand responsibilities for all forestland users.As reflected by Que Phong district officials, currently someone does not want to getforestland. Some even sold the allocated forestland after allocation for ‘lowlanders’,who have money. This means that there are people who do not really understand andappreciate the value of forest land use rights. So, the forestland allocation in the fieldis an opportunity for people to understand the value of forest land use rights.Step 10: Organize a workshop for reviewing lessons learntThe FLA Team and Communal Council on FLA prepared contents and plan fororganizing a workshop to review and withdraw lessons learnt from the pilot on forestallocation associated with forestland allotment in Pom Om. Que Phong People’sCommittee hosted the workshop. The FLA team prepared a final report of the FLAincluding lessons learnt regarding the contents, methods and plans of community-based FLA.This workshop is to not only draw meaningful marks for the completion of the piloton forest allocation associated with forestland allotment based on the community, butmore importantly is the opportunity to share the lessons learned. Moreover, theworkshop is to identify possibilities of replication of the pilot into other locations inQue Phong. The shortcomings in the legal framework and enforcement of forestlandregarding the livelihoods of local communities, especially ethnic minorities are alsoraised in the workshop with concrete policy recommendations.
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 293.5. Initial resultsThrough mapping the village, most of the village leaders and villagers understoodclearly the boundaries and current status of the forestland management, andpreliminarily identified challenges and problems possibly appeared. The communityforestland planning is openly defined, reasonable and specific for each functional areawithin the community forestland. These areas are included in the communityregulation in forestland management, use and development.Chart 5: Classification for different functional areas within Pom Om communityforestlandAs the watershed area, namely ‘Nhot Huoi’ and Nhot Nam’, sacred forest ‘Hua Huoi’and ‘Pu Ke’ of the plot e of lot 8; plot f of lot 14; plot b, c, g of lot 9 are situated in thesub-area 85 with a total area of 123.16 ha. These are strict protected to maintain andpromote the traditional spiritual values and protect water resources. The areas ofregenerated forest, namely ‘Pa Lieng Ban’ belong to the plot d, e of plots 8; lot h, j ofplot 7. These areas all locate in the sub-area 85, with a total area of 23.39 ha for multi-valued biodiversity; so that forests can become rich after the period of regenerationand protection. The herbal medicinal forest on the foothills southwest of the Pu HuotMountain has an area of 5.75 ha. This forest locates in plots f of the sub-regional 85 isfor preserving herbal plants as well as traditional medicinal knowledge of thecommunity. Grazing area, namely Tung Lieng Quai’ in plot i, g of plot 8; lot h, i ofplot 14; lot a, b, c of plot 15 of the sub-area 85, with a total area of 37.2 hectares arefor raising livestock such as cattle, goats, pigs, poultry in accordance with the
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 30traditional practices of the community. Agro-forestry production area, namely ‘ DinHay’ in lot o of plot 7; lot b,c,d of plot 14, lot b,g,i of plot 8; lot b,i,j,g of plot 9, with atotal area of 24.04 ha are for planting crops, perennial crops, forest trees, livestock,poultry and aquatic. Cemetery area, namely ‘Pa Dong’ in lot a of plot 8 has an area of1.78 ha. This area is shared with Pa Co village for burial ceremonies in accordancewith the Thai tradition. Each functional area is assigned and clearly described in thecommunity regulation, to help villagers to know, is what to do, what not to do (ban),thus limiting their use of forest land for the wrong purposes, or to take advantagelogging and land acquisition in forest communities.Hanh Dich commune officials and villagers in Pom Om had enabling opportunities toinvolve in discussion and resolving problems related to the forestland boundarybetween Pom Om community and Que Phong Rubber Plantation Farm, and betweenthe community and families whose cultivated land located in the communityforestland area. They are key actors for all decisions in the process of forestlandallocation. So, they understand and grasp the method on community based forestlandallocation as well as legal provisions within and after forestland allocation. Withknowledge and experience in forest management, conflict resolutions, Pom Omvillagers and leaders get confident to better make forestland planning, managementand utilization in the post-allocation. With the consensus of District/CommunalPeople’s Committee and villagers, the progress of forestland allocation is in realityefficiently carried out. Que Phong District Peoples Committee has clearly definedplanning areas within Pom Om land boundary for the Que Phong Rubber PlantationFarm and Hanh Dich commune to manage. This is an important basis for theallocation of the sub-area 85 for Om Pom community. The clarification of theboundaries between communities with the Que Phong Rubber Plantation Farm helpedto resolve the current problems regarding the area and boundaries, as well preventconflicts and overlapping boundaries arise in the future.As of May 6/2012, the legal procedures for the pilot on forest allocation associatedwith forestland allotment for Pom Om community has been fully completed. The FLATeam has completed the FLA file for 11 lots in plots 58 of the sub-area 85 to allocatean area of 426.52 ha of forestland for Om Pom community. This area is mainly thesacred forest, watershed forest, common use forest and forest in the border with othervillages, communes. Four sacred forests, watershed forest with a total area of 123.15hectares are respected and allocated for Pom Om community. This has contributed tomaintain the cultural spaces for the community to organize the traditional rituals topray the Forest Spirit, Land Spirit, Water Spirit, etc. while the natural resources(water, forest and land) are protected in accordance to the Thai customs andcustomary laws.
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 31Map 3: Planning for forestland use in Hanh Dich commune. Source: Pom Om community, 2012
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 32The herbal medicinal forest with an area of 5.75 ha in plot f of the sub-area 85 isofficially allocated to Pom Om community. Then, this forest is assigned by Pom Omcommunity to the Village Herbal Medicine Group for management and use. As a partof the community forest, herbal medicine forest is referred in the communityregulation and plan for forest management. The rationalization of procedures for theallocation of herbal medicine forest is also a key element to promote the process ofentitling the community right to forestland in Pom Om. The first step was to develop apilot on allocation of community forest under the Joint Circular 07/2011/TTLT whichdemonstrates its feasibility and applicability to other locations with the sameconditions.Thus, Om Pom has become the first community in Que Phong district to be officiallyrecognized its rights to use and manage forest land. Moreover, the customary law ofPom Om is recognized by the district administration through the integration betweenthe traditional rules of the community in the community regulation in forest landmanagement and use. This regulation is a way to promote grassroots democracy inwhich all community members actively involved and raised their voices throughoutthe process of forestland allocation, management and use. On the other hand, theregulation mentions the role of traditional institutions of the community; that is therole of elders and representatives of the Village Herbal Medicine Group. Theserepresentatives form a Village Management Board, which represents the entirecommunity to implement the community regulation in forestland management anduse. The plan on forest land use is built on the basis of local knowledge. This plan isintegrated into the overall planning of the commune.Part V. Discussion1. Inconsistency in the legal framework on forest and landAlthough the government has issued the policies regarding allocation of forest andland to the community, it has been not yet implemented or with very limited results inreality. The main obstacles are the complicated requirements regarding documents andprocedures. The mandatory procedures relate to community meetings for agreementon the forestland allocation application, plans on forestland management and use,evaluation of the competent agencies to the records / profiles of forestland allocation,and financial obligations, etc. (under clause 5, Section II, Circular 38/2007/TT-BNN).Therefore, it is hard for local communities, especially in remote and ethnic minorityregions could fulfill all the above requirements.Notably, the requirement relates to the identification of forest characters which isconducted by the external consultant agencies; the allocation of forest must be
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 33consistent with the planning of protection and development of forest, land useplanning or plans for the three types of forest; the requirement regarding the viabilityof forest management plans of local communities (in point 5b, 5c, Section II, Circular38/2007/TT-BNN) are reasons for district officials (if not willing) easily dismiss allefforts of local communities in the process of preparing procedures to receiveforestland rights.Without the commitment of the local government, an effort of the community, andmethodological support and funding of SPERI, the pilot on allocation of forestland inPom Om is hard to complete as described above. So, it is necessary to raise a questionwith all the other communities, if there is no any above support whether the allocationof forestland to the community is feasible or not?Decision of the Prime Minister dated 3/6/2009 750/QD-TTg to approve thedevelopment plan of rubber plantations up to 2015 with the vision until 2020 requiresenvironmental impact assessment, but does not compel assessment of socio-culturalimpacts. The decision clearly stated: "rubber development plan must be based onmarket demands. Exploitation, and promote effectively the advantages of land, naturein some areas for sustainable development". Moreover, it requires intensiveapplications of techniques to increase productivity. Although, this decisionemphasizes conditions related to market and nature to meet the rubber demands, butdoes not require social impact assessments. Human factors, sustainable livelihoods,culture of the affected communities are not considered. To synchronize with therequirements regarding livelihood security, poverty reduction, it is necessary tospecify a principle of rubber plantations, which is “to ensure productive land andcultural space, living space (such as the sacred forests, livelihood forestland etc.) ofthe affected communities. This should be confirmed not only for cash crops such asrubber, but also for other projects i.e. hydropower dams and mining. On the otherhand, the technical application needs to be required to promote local knowledge of thelocal areas, avoiding monoculture which could bring about long-term consequenceson the environment.Circular 58/2009/TT-BNNPTNT dated 9/9/2009 on guiding the rubber planting onforestland, which allows the conversion of degraded forests to rubber plantations.Similarly, Decision 750/QD-TTg, this Circular does not require social impactassessments. Article 4 mentions: "Where the forests with an area of less than 3hectares with the greater reserves compared to that stated in the Clause 4 of Article 4,Chapter II of this Circular, and are interspersed amongst forests are converted torubber plantations in order to ensure the continuity of ecological areas”. The fact isthat, the sacred forests which are normally narrow and located betweenneighbourhoods or poor watershed forests, and productive land, would be targets for
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 34rubber plantations. Quite often, the majority of business or corporate are sensitive toprofits, but the lack of understanding, respect and proper behave to the lives andculture of local communities. If the sacred forests are cut down, it could cause theendanger to the traditional cultures, and create conflicts between local communitiesand business companies.2. Inconsistency of forestland allocation in Hanh DichDue to the legal provision that the provincial people’s committee is assigned the rightto allocate forest and land for organizations and collective entities, communities inHanh Dich have not completed procedures for land allocation from 2002 to present.So, on the basis of community consensus, TEW has to propose the solution whichtemporarily allocates forestland without official land use right certifications for villagemass-organizations e.g. Youth’s Associations, Women’s Union, Veterans’Association and Herbal Medicine Groups. Some forests are managed quite effectivelyby the Herbal Medicine Groups. Forest areas which are temporarily allocated tovillage mass-organizations are not shown to be effective in management andprotection. Even, some cases, heads of these organizations illegally transferred theallocated forestland. In the tendency of asserting legal entities from the existing forestland areas which are managed by the communal people’s committee (about 1,347.60ha), local communities are disadvantage in terms of approaching the formalprocedures as well as financial obligation compared to business companies /enterprise.Although, there is still available forestland in Hanh Dich, the current ‘suspended landuse planning for Que Phong Rubber Plantation Farm and Pu Hoat NationalConservation Area has caused difficulties for forestland allocation to localcommunities. The planned area for Que Phong Rubber Plantation Farm is still notclearly defined. So, families in three villages in Hanh Dich are still not allocated forestand land. On the other hand, forest and land allocation for households is in realityimplemented for one time with rare or quite long-time adjustments. Therefore, currentfamilies could get land rights, but may be difficult for the young couples in the futuredue to forestland were already allocated. So, the land use planning is required toforesee the future need on land, especially productive land for the expansion of newfamilies in order to make an enough land reserve.One of the main reasons for the delay in allocation of forestland for communities isthat local entities such as Que Phong Rubber Plantation Farm, Management Board ofPu Hoat National Conservation Area and Que Phong Management Board ofProtection Forest are assigned to manage a large area of forest land. Another paradoxis that, despite management with a large area of forest land as such, but these entities
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 35lack of human resources. This has led to severe deforestation in the areas of suchentities (Agriculture Electronic News and Tuoi Tre Electronic News in 2012). Thefunction of Management Board of Pu Hoat National Conservation Area is to managethe special forest. However, in reality, this function is implemented by forestprotection office (forest ranger). The current structure in forest protection has createda vicious circle in terms of responsibility. When asked, the communal people’scommittee said, forest protection is the responsibility of forest protection agency.Whilst the forest protection agency ranger said, that is the responsibility ofManagement Board of Pu Hoat National Conservation Area (on the basis of theDecision 245/1998/QÐ-TTg of the Prime Minister dated 21/12/1998 on theimplementation of the responsibility of the State management at all levels to forestand land).Part VI. Recommendations1. Related to the Legal frameworkThe forest and mountainous area primarily function for forestry development, so it iscompletely different from agriculture in the plains. Forest has its protection function,supplies energy and nutrition for the agricultural sector. The spatial separationbetween nature and society is related to the geographical planning and functionalplanning. Because of the differences and particularities of the mountain, it would beinappropriate and ineffective if we apply rigidly the lowland agriculture mode whichmakes the forestry spatial variations to become intensive agricultural production orindustrial parks.There should be provisions in the legal framework to confirm the priority in allocationof forest land for ethnic minorities. The current legal documents on forest landallocation remain vague, and evenly arrange the priorities regarding land users.Therefore, the business sector has more advantages to benefit the legal documentsthan other entities i.e. local people and communities. For example, Circular38/2007/TT-BNN and Circular 07/2011/TTLT guide the allocation of land to differententities, but not made clear priority for communities and local people. To ensure thatethnic minorities are able to escape poverty situation in a sustainable way, the localgovernments need to implement effectively the policy on supporting residential landand agricultural land by specific plans and activities. There should be regulations toensure the community forest land from the current suspended land use planning or orforest land withdrawn from enterprise. The government needs to monitor and allocateforest land for landless poor ethnic minorities in order to ensure their sustainablelivelihoods. Local people and communities must be prioritized to allocate forest andland as they are primary forces in place for forest protection. If they are not entitled
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 36the rights to forest, forest will be deforested. Simultaneously, there is a need tosystematize the planning of three types of forests and coordinate between receptordifferent forest managers / users for these three types of forest a responsible andtransparent way.Ensuring forest land for mountainous peoples and communities must be clearlydefined in the legal documents as their current standard of living is very low, whereasthey have been over many generations closely attached to forest. The expectation ofconversion of upland people to other jobs or work in industrial parks is not suitableand feasible. In the trend on implementation of payment for environmental servicesfrom forest, it is necessary to allocate forestland for upland residents in order toimprove and stabilize their lives via getting benefits from such services. If they areentitled to get forestland rights and benefits from such above incentives, forests willbe protected effectively.The Law on Land in 2003 (Clause 3 of Article 9), the Law on Forest Protection andDevelopment in 2004 (Clause 13 of Article 3) should be expanded to suit the trend ofdevelopment of social forestry in the mountains. It can refer to the concept ofCooperative in according to Decree 151/2007/ND-CP dated 10/10/2007 of theGovernment. The ‘cooperative’ with the endorsement of the communal people’scommittee, although it is not yet entitled the legal status but it is fully representativeand can be traded, self-reliance and self-responsibility. A community which is notentitled the complete legal status can still be as equivalent to a cooperative.The legal framework should recognize the sacred forest of community which hasequal position with small-scale special-use forest. In fact, mountainous communitieshave their own of knowledge systems and customary laws in classifying differentcategories of forests for instance the sacred and cemetery forests (ghost forests),watershed forest, use forests i.e. collecting bamboo shoots, firewood, medicinal herbs,harvesting non-timber forest products, and forest land for rotational shiftingcultivation. Forest is living space and where local communities practice theirtraditional cultures. Forest protection by spirituality and customary law is greatstrength of the community, because it is associated with conscious, voluntary andcommunity cohesion. So the recognition, respect and promotion of the living spaceand practices of the community meet the material and spiritual needs, and areconsistent with the policy on preservation and promotion of the traditional culturalidentities.2. Related to policy implementationThe implementation of policy on allocation of forestland to local communities andpeoples is currently hampered as most of the community does not have the conditions
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 37to completion of the procedures required. The local communities are almost poor, sovirtually do not have financial resources to pay for forestland allocation procedures (asrequired by Point 5, Section II, and Circular 38/2007/TT-BNN). Moreover, many ofthem are not able to write applications and procedures for forestland allocation,because of the constraint of low education level. Therefore, it is necessary to notconsidered requiring such communities to complete the complicated procedures andpay financial obligations as other entities. The priority for allocation of forest land tolocal communities must be evident in forest land-use planning, development planningand the resolution of the Council of Peoples commune, district and provincial levels.It needs to change the definition and understanding of "community". There should notbe confined to forest land allocation to communities associated with village units. Ifthe allocated forest is associated with the village unit and representative role of thevillage head, it will be very difficult to clarify the responsibilities and rights of forestowners and actual forest protectors with the village representative. The self-claimedforestland areas by different clans or groups of families within the community shouldbe entitled the rights of management and use. Doing so will ensure the equality interms of forestland rights and benefit distribution between different land users withinthe community.The forest land allocation procedures under Circular 07/2011 need to be revised inorder to ensure the accessibility of the community. The state should clearly define thesynchronization between priorities in allocation for community with forest planning.Moreover, the government should support finance for local communities to cover allexpenditures regarding forestland allocation. The legal aid without charge for poorpeoples and communities is necessary to help them to complete the legal proceduresfor getting forestland rights. To reduce the budget for the consulting firms, there is aneed to change the approach in forest investigation i.e. forest volume identification. Itneeds to clearly define the rights and responsibilities of peoples to participate in thisprocess with the support of technicians and advisory agencies.
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 38Annex : Simplify the complex procedures for forest and landallocation to ethnic minoritiesWith the supports of Social Policy Ecology Research Institute (SPERI), recently, QuePhong District Peoples Committee, Nghe An province have signed the certificate ofthe right to use 426,7 hectares of forest land for Pom Om village (the Thai ethnic),Hanh Dich commune in compliance with laws and customs of the Thai ethnic.However, during the implementation process, many inconsistencies, gaps in the legalframework for forest and land has revealed. These should be adjusted promptly.Inconsistencies in forest and land allocationAlthough the State has issued the policy on forest and land allocation for ethnicminorities, but in fact its result is very limited. In particular, the biggest obstacle is therequirement of profiles, procedure which are too complex. According the Circular38/2007/TT-BNN on guiding the sequence, procedures of forest allocation, tocomplete a set of records it is required to have meetings among local authorities andpeople to approve the application, the forest management plan after allocation,assessment records, reports together with the records, minutes of forest granting in thefield and the financial obligations ... "A minority and commune government normallydo not or is very hard to fulfill all the above requirements. Regardless the ethnicminority who face with language barriers, the above procedures are actually andquestions and insurmountable" – shared by Vice Chairman of Hanh Dich commune,Mr. Luong Quoc Viet. He also said: If we did not have the support of funding andmethods of SPERI, the Forest and land allocation model in Pom Om would not able tocomplete. The complexity of the procedures not only interferes with the localauthorities, but also for individuals and households. Mr. Vi Dinh Van, a coordinator ofthe key farmers network in Hanh Dich which has been supported by SPERI said: Therequirements and procedures are too complex. While ethnic minorities are poor, soalmost of them do not have enough resources to cover expenses for forest landallocation procedures as prescribed in Circular 38/2007/TT-BNN. On the other hand,the education qualification of villagers in most of villages are very limited, so askingthem to write applications and prepare procedures to be considered for land allocationis not possible.In addition to the complexity of the procedures, the current forest and land allocationalso ‘prioritizes’ enterprises and business who are holding forestland, but does not payattention to local ethnic minorities. In Hanh Dich where has the large forestland areaper capita, but the ratio of land allocated to the people is too low. While the localpopulation lack of forest land (only allocated 0.65 ha / person), then the average offorestland per official of the management board of protection forest is 1,243 ha, andeach staff of the Nghe An General Investment Joint Stock Company on RubberDevelopment is allocated around 61.3 ha. This situation is not only happened in HanhDich, but also popular in many other places. The main reason is that the legaldocuments do not have the proper priorities for the ethnic minority land-users.
2012.9.17. pvdung lichsu quantri dat rung va GDGR HanhDich Quephong 39Ethnic minorities - first priority in forest and land allocationPriority of forest and land allocation to ethnic minorities is a necessary as the currentstandard of living of the ethnic minorities are very low. Moreover, upland agricultureis completely different that in the plain due to it associates forestry and forestrydevelopment. Therefore, forest and land allocation to households and individuals willcreate conditions to assure production. In fact, after the allocation of land and forest,there is an occurrence of different self-help groups which work relatively effectivelyin a range of themes such as gardening, ecological forestry gardening like models ofMr. Vi Van Nhat and Vi Van Thanh in Na Xai village or bio-diversity garden withvariety with the medicinal species of Mr. Ha Van Tuyen in Pom Om.To do this, the priority on land allocation for local people needs to be clear in forestland-use planning and lawful documents from the central to local levels. Accordingly,it requires to simplify the procedural requirements in forest and land allocation andflexibility in financial obligations as we cannot see and ask households and ethnicminorities to have to complete the complex procedures and pay financial obligationslike the entities who competent in finance and educational qualification.In addition, the ‘hanging’ plans have had direct impacts on the allocation of land andforests for people. Although the State has policies and legislations to requirereorganization and renewal of state agro-forestry enterprise to return land to localpoeple and ensure residential and production land for ethnic minorities, but in HanhDich and many other locations in Que Phong dsitrict, while lacking of land forproduction, people are still allocated land because the forestland was planning on"hanging" for Nghe An General Youth Volunteers Association Team 7– laterconverted as Que Phong Rubber Plantation Farm. Plot No. 83 and 85 where arewatershed forests of Pom Om and other surrounding villages are being planned forrubber plantations. Although the Que Phong Rubber Plantation Farm has not beengranted the land use right certificates, it still keeps these areas.The implementation of pilot on forest and land allocation to the Thai community inPom Om village, Hanh Dich commune, Que Phong district revealed manyinadequacies in the legal framework for forest management. Amending andsupplementing proper legal documents, as well identify the priority of forest and landallocation for ethnic minority groups and local people is an urgent task, contributing tothe socio-economic development, defense and security stability in mountainous ethnicminority areas. At the same time it creates a local major force for effective andsustainable forest protection.