Since the 1990s Viet Nam has been allocating forestland to local communities and individual households to promote forest protection. As part of the forest allocation the government has also conducted trial programmes for paying forest owners the costs for forest protection and the provision of related services, also known as Payment for Forest Environmental Services (PFES).
The policy on PFES is regulated under the Decree 99 of 2010 applied nationwide since 2011. However, due to the fact that the policy is new to most forest actors, from the central government to local authorities, its implementation has encountered difficulties and challenges. An example of such difficulties is that the PFES policy is not based on a market approach where sellers and buyers can negotiate prices, amounts, and payments. The transparency of the payment processes and the capacity of the government agencies are also constraining factors during the first stages of the PFES implementation. There has been no comprehensive research about the impacts of this policy on local livelihoods and forest protection efforts.
Tropenbos International Viet Nam is implementing a project in partnership with Hue University’s Quang Tri Branch to assess and analyze PFES performance and efficiency. It considers the costs, benefits, mechanisms for assessment and improvement, payment methods, and equity at the local level to identify possible shortcomings of the policy implementation. The project will also give recommendations and potential options of market-based approaches to improve the PFES policy.