Starting in 2010, the Vietnamese Government had been in the negotiation process for VPA-FLEGT. The Agreement was officially signed in 2018, ratified, and came into effect in 2019. By 2021, Vietnam will expectedly be exporting only FLEGT-licensed timber materials and products to the EU.
According to FLEGT, timber legality is timber and timber products (hereinafter referred to as timber) exploited, imported, processed, confiscated, transported, purchased, sold, processed, and exported in accordance with the laws of Vietnam, relevant provisions of treaties Vietnam jointly signed, and relevant laws of the country where timber is harvested then exported to Vietnam. This also includes the legal status of the land. In Vietnam, forest and forestland allocated to local people are mainly forests and land planned for planting production forests. Although Land Uses Rights Certificates have been widely extended to most people, there are still areas where communities have not yet been granted forest land-use certificates due to disputes and overlaps between maps and reality. Timber harvested from these areas, whether planted or natural forests, is considered to be illegal under the provisions of the VPA/FLEGT.
In REDD+, payment is made based on evidence of forest land tenure. In a disputed site, a facility for payment cannot be established. Therefore, the issue of forest land use rights is a big concern for REDD+ and FLEGT. In many places, lands are allocated to the people by forestry companies and forest management boards through short-term contracts. In this type of contract, local people face the possibility of not having long-term benefits from REDD+, especially when forestry companies or the management boards change contracts and allocates forest land to other units.
In addition, REDD+ and safeguarding measurements require fairness for forest-dependent entities and social groups involved in forest management, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to consider whether existing benefit-sharing mechanisms are fair enough for the long-term interests of the forest-managing communities to be taken into account, for the transparency to be ensured throughout, and for REDD+ regulations to have complied or not.
Through this assessment, the more comprehensive, point-of-view findings will support the proposal of safeguard policies under REDD+ and VPA/FLEGT regulations.