Over the past two decades, the Government of Vietnam (GoV) has experimented with a variety of policies seeking to include local people in sustainable forest management. For example, Decree 02/CP (dated January 1994) marked a radical move in shifting forest management responsibility away from state organizations to individual households. IGOs are expected to encourage local people’s participation in forest management, which would make a significant contribution to sustainable forest management.
This brief explains how IGOs can make important contributions to sustainable forest management in Vietnam. It argues that IGOs can only play an important role if they are developed and sustained in a collaborative manner. This brief also demonstrates that today’s IGOs tend to prioritize enhancing technical capacity of professionals in forest management over ensuring people’s participation in decision-making, which severely restricts their contributions on the ground.
- Many organizations created with the aim of improving community forest management (CFM) in Vietnam are “Induced grassroots organizations” (IGOs)1 - organizations created through donor or government funding.
- IGOs can play a critical role in promoting the voice of local resource users in forest governance, but in order to do this they need to meet local communities’ livelihood aspirations and provide meaningful opportunities for local participation.
- Many IGOs decision-making becomes dominated by government interests when insufficient attention is paid to socially inclusive participatory processes and when the regulatory environment is insufficiently enabling to empower communities to make forest management decisions themselves.