About us

  • Culture Identity and Resources Use Management (CIRUM), is a Vietnamese Non-Government Organization (NGO) that has been working over the past 20 years with 19 different Ethnic Minority (EM) groups in upland forested provinces around Vietnam and more recently in neighbouring countries.
     With a small highly experienced team and guided by a strong and representative Governing Board, CIRUM has built a substantial body of evidence and experience in working with ethnic minority communities on forest & land rights and management issues and advocacy across a diverse range of stakeholders, especially across all levels of government and investors/companies
    The recent changes to the Forestry Law 2017 has proven that CIRUM’s research and policy advocacy approach is effective in enhancing use and protection rights over customary forest and forest land for ethnic minorities. Our focus now is on applying this approach of action research and community mobilization via LandNet Plus  for local advocacy and campaigning to address the issues of economic investments affecting forest communities’ livelihoods and existence.
    With Vietnam recognized by the UN as one of 5 countries likely to be most affected by climate change and rapid development of 44 Special Economic Zones (SEZ) 
    (Landnet Plus:LandNet (The Forest People Land Rights Network) is an informal Network in Vietnam (LandNet set up since 2013. CIRUM works as partnership with LandNet to lobby land law and forestry law for ethnic minority communities for their rights  over customary land & forest tenure in Vietnam)  and we have expanded the LandNet to affected communities from large scale investments in Vietnam (from Son La hydropower) and hope to expand to Laos (affected people from SEZs). This is called LandNet Plus. LandNet Plus is the ones who are champions representing affected communities in Vietnam and Laos, to involve in action research and advocacy activities. We are working closely with them to support affected communities to regain their rights)

    Securing Strong Sustainable Ethnic Minority Forest Communities
    CIRUM believes that a balance of interest between people and nature is necessary for genuine development and is dedicated to the fundamental human rights of ethnic minorities living in upland forest areas.
    We seek solutions to forest and land conflicts, securing ethnic minority people's rights to access, control and benefit from their forest and land resources in a way that is sustainable and in line with their own values, needs, knowledge and customs.

    Our Vision

    A just sustainable society that honours its indigenous knowledge and peoples.
    A just society where natural resources are governed in a sustainable and transparent way and where marginalized ethnic minority groups can access, control and benefit from their natural resources in fair and equitable ways.
    Affected communities are allied and connected to be strong enough to protect their resources over harmful investments.

    Our Guiding Principles
    Integrity: we do what we say
    Evidence Based: we use evidence based models on the ground and action research to build a strong foundation network and a body of knowledge that informs our decisions
    Valuing Indigenous knowledge & people: we work with many stakeholders, but work for EM peoples and value indigenous knowledge and customary law
    Innovation: We seek to work on the edge: tackling the more complex emerging challenges and building evidence for future programs
    Working in Partnership: to achieve the change we seek requires collaboration across all sectors

    Our Objectives
    To address the issues and impact of large scale development in the region and its impact on ethnic minority people, CIRUM will Secure Strong Ethnic Minority Forest Communities by:
    (1) Support and expand the network of ethnic minority groups that seek better access to land use, title and cultural rights in Vietnam and neighbouring countries to influence land use decisions’ for community benefit.
    (2) Research and document community issues for evidence based advocacy to ensure governments and corporations implement their duties and responsibilities to communities.
    (3) Build the capacity of local groups working in forest conservation that are part of the CIRUM network, developing models or pilots for sustainable income generation.
    (4) Grow Nep Xua as the business arm of CIRUM to explore business opportunities congruent with CIRUM’s core purpose.





    Mr. Lu Van Que
    Board Chairman. He is a Thai ethnic minority person from the Mai Chau district, Son La province. He has been the Vice-Minister of the Committee of Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA), Chairman of Son La People’s Committee and President of Vietnam Fatherland Front. At present he is a member of the steering committee of Vietnam Fatherland Front. He remains very much involved in policy research and analysis related to ethnic minority affairs and makes important contribution to policy lobby and advocacy.

    Ms. Pham Thi Suu
    She is currently Head of the Ethnic Minority Policy Department of CEMA, with over 20 years of experience in this area. She is committed to the development of appropriate policies to improve the life of ethnic minority people in Vietnam. 

    Mr. Nguyen Van Tien
    Vice Head of Ethnic Minority Department of National Assembly Office. He is committed to working for ethnic minority people and making efforts for contribute to improved ethnic minority policies and development.
    Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhan
     She is the coordinator of lobby & advocacy for CARE International in Vietnam. Ms Nhan is experienced in partnerships with different development organizations and government official, and skilled in communications for lobby and advocacy activities and networking.
    Mr. Peter King
    Mr. King of British nationality is currently our Organizational Development Advisor. Peter has many years of experience in project management and organizational development work in Asia and the Pacific. He is very happy to assist in program development, and to help connect CIRUM with international partners.

    Ms. Tran Thi Hoa
    Director of CIRUM, Secretary of CIRUM Board. Ms Hoa is very experienced in ethnic minority forest and land rights and community development. She is a trainer in gender and household economic management, a facilitator in establishing customary law based forest management and protection, community based organizations, and networking at village level for lobbying and advocacy.