2017’s changes to the Forest Law recognised of ethnic minority communities as forest owners that was absent before. Further, customary forests (sacred forest, water source forest, communal use forest) are legally recognized in the new law (We have made years efforts for this success). To make the law implemented, CIRUM as a pioneer NGO in Vietnam practices Clause 4, Article 108 which allows to overview and review overlapping forest areas between communities and state owned organizations so that to reallocated to the communities for legal use and management. To this end, we are in cooperation with Lao Cai Forest Protection Department with support of Lao Cai People Committee to start the pilot in Sin Cheeng commune, Simacai district where overlapping issues addressed.
The results are used for preparation to continue follow up steps and to make sure it is going with participatory approach. Documenting all steps and lessons learnt is planned for producing manual guildlines for expansion and contributing to new decreeguidlines under the new law which started into effective in Jan 2019.
The pilot approach is involved by local authorities and functional officials, especially community representatives who are the owners of the forests. CIRUM acts as supporting for implementation methodology and partly financing. We have started MOU among mentioned actors to make sure roles and responsibilities are well identified, agreed for implementation. As a result, the MOU signed in July 2018 and in August we have started baseline study and need assessment study with deep situational analysis and getting common understaning and agreements over mappings, developing common maps, field activities, etc which are compliance with the state law and customary law.