CIRUM succeeds lobbying Circular No 38/2007/TT-BNN regarding forest allocation and forest lease

  • On June 27th, 2016 a new Circular (No 20/2016/TT-BNN) was issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). This new Circular amended the previous No 38/2007/TT-BNN, which failed to address issues of forest allocation and forest lease. The amendment is a result of tireless policy advocacy from CIRUM, LandNet and the partners SPERI and CODE based on their 20-years of experience in implementing the Forest Land Allocation Program (FLAP).
    CIRUM and LandNet’s experience in FLAP was taken into account by MARD. MARD’s representatives attended the advisory meeting for the amendment of Circular No 38/2007/TT-BNN organized by CIRUM on April 13th, 2016. During the meeting, MARD’s representatives, local communities and consultants discussed gaps in implementing FLAP on the ground. Leaders of the Policy Edition Board, responsible for revising Circular No 38/2007/TT-BNN, took CIRUM’s constructive recommendations into account. The leaders involved were Ha Cong Tuan, MARD’s Deputy Minister, Vietnam’s Head of Administrative Forestry (VNFOREST), and VNFOREST’s Vice Head Nguyen Ba Ngai. They asked the Policy Edition Board to take those recommendations into account for the Circular amendment.
    The following table shows how CIRUM’s recommendations for FLAP are included in Circular No 20/2016/TT-BNN:



    Gaps remaining in the Draft of Circular No 38/2007/TT-BNN

    Amended Circular No 38/2007/TT-BNN


     Clarification of 1. Forest allocation and 2. Forest allocation scenarios.
    CIRUM recommended the addition of provisions relating to forest allocation. 

    Add “1. Forest allocation & 2. Forest allocation scenarios” to the new Circular
    Objective: To confirm which forest types can be allocated to households and communities. Particularly multi-aged protection forest, production forest which is natural forest, and plantation forest which can be allocated to households and communities. This is to clarify uncertainties and contradictions about forest and forest land allocation to households and communities as regulated in Article 135 of Land Law 2013.


    Identification of responsibility for forest inspection, regarding FLAP to households and communities.
    CIRUM suggested identifying who is in charge of forest inspection.

    District forest ranger is responsible for forest inspection.


    Involvement of neighboring forest owners during forest inspection prior to forest allocation.
    CIRUM suggested including neighboring forest owners during forest inspection and requiring their signatures on the inspection documents.

    Neighboring forest owners take part in forest inspection before forest allocation, and sign inspection documents.


    Involvement of local authorities and neighboring forest owners during forest inspection prior to forest allocation to organizations, state owned enterprises, private enterprises, and the forest management board.
    CIRUM suggested participation of local authorities and neighboring forest owners during forest inspection and before forest allocation to organizations.

    During forest inspection, local authorities and neighboring forest owners have to participate, and sign inspection documents.


    The Circular 20/2016/TT-BNN is the result of policy makers respecting vulnerable households and local communities. The Circular also indicates effective recommendations of LandNet members and scientific technology organizations for policy amendment. Although just part of CIRUM and LandNet’s recommendations were included, CIRUM and LandNet consider the Circular No 20/2016/TT-BNN to be an encouraging step towards bringing life into policy, instead of just bringing policy into life.