Evidence - Based Advocacy

  • Key Achievements
    After many years advocating, the Revised Forestry Law 2017 was passed recognizing the legal rights of ethnic minority communities over their customary forests in Vietnam (EM communities are legally recognized as forest owners (this was absent in the previous Forestry Law). To this end, EM communities have the same rights as other forest owners (like state owned organizations, forestry companies/private companies; EM communities have legal rights to receive government fees for forest protection and payments for environment service (PES), to practice forest belief, establish ecotourism business organizations, government helps to carry out forest based income generation activities and reforestation with local forestry species, to own planted trees that have been invested by communities themselves; Traditional forests of EMs (sacred forests, water source forests) are legally recognized as special use and protection forests and can be legally allocated to EMs for management and protection. EMs now have fully legal rights to access and control over their traditional forests; EM communities and households have legal rights to involve in forestry activities to promote transparency and gender equality; Customary law in forest land allocation and forest management is legally recognized)
    The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and Ethnic Minority Council of National Assembly (NA) publicly recognized CIRUM as an active NGO for policy changes via effective contributions to forestry law revision 2017.
    CIRUM also received awards for our work from Lao Cai, Lang Son and Kon Tum Provincial People Committees.
    Through action research and documentation, CIRUM has built effective tools both for Ethnic Minority communities to know and activate their land rights and for government to better implement laws.See our Documentation Section (Live link)

    How we work:
    CIRUM prides itself on evidence-based advocacy.
    (1) Using the Action Research approach: CIRUM engages with communities and provides training in action research methodology so that community champions can collect evidence of customary use of forests and impact of developments to use in their own grassroots- level advocacy.
    (2) This evidence building is linked with training communities in knowledge and tools for advocacy using legal rights based approach ensuring personal safety & security.
    (3) Policy Influencing: We use both desk review and action research to identify areas of improvement to law & policies and meet with investors & officials to achieve better law & policy outcomes for communities.

    Our focus for the future:

    (1) We will continue to support Land Net communities in Vietnam through research and training to gather the evidence they need to advocate for their land rights over customary forests.
    (2) We will develop partnerships in Vietnam and neighbouring countries to address the negative impacts of large scale developments in the Mekong region
    (3) We will facilitate exchanges of experience in enforcement of forestry law between different communities, between community and policy makers, government officials, civil society and community based organisations.
    (4) We will provide an evidence base to support government in developing and implementing sound laws and policies to manage land issues in a manner that honours ethnic minority traditional rights.

    For more information, please contact Director: Regional Collaboration: Pham Van Dung, email: