Global initiative offers hope for hill tribe in Viet Nam

Villagers learnt how to measure trees, slopes and stems

Like most of the K'Ho ethnic minority people living Preteng village, in the Central Highlands of Viet Nam, K'Sau is a person of the forest. The 30-years-old man and his family fully depend on the forests, particularly to meet their needs for fuel, water and food.

Forests and forest land areas cover nearly 60 percent of the region. The forests are home to valuable varieties of wood such as banian kingwood, rosewood, makamong and tracwood. However, burning trees to grow corn and rice is still a practice of K’Sau and his villagers.


  • Hill tribe in Viet Nam’s Central Highlights to generate stable income from protecting the forests.
  • 26 villagers learn how to measure trees, slopes and stems.
  • UN supported study offers 17 policy recommendations for a standard benefit distribution system.

Fortunately, K’Sau recently learnt about the environmental values of the forests. Being involved in a UN program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD), he has become aware of the importance of the carbon stored in the forests. K’Sau was among the 26 trainees - local people and rangers. He learnt about the average height and diameter of forest trees and how to measure trees, slopes and stems.

"I hope this programme will help us to generate more and stable income,” K’Sau said.

K'Sau now knows that he will continue to make his living from forestry sources, but in a different way. It is the same forest that K’Sau lives on but he now has a more practical look on estimating carbon stocks and CO2 absorption in it. He and other villagers hope the benefits of REDD activities will come soon and help improve their living standard.

The programme K’Sau is referring to is a joint effort between three UN organizations – FAO, UNDP and UNEP. The US$4.38 million programme has been mainly funded by the Government of Norway. The training is expected to result in improving people’s understanding and bringing stable income for them. “Anyone engaged in this assignment is expected to turn this work into a new career as a means of livelihood,” said Le Van Cong, a ranger in the Central Highlands. “This is crucial factor to secure forest protection.”

The Program also disseminated information and explained to K’Sau and other local people the effects of climate change and how protecting forests will help to stop climate change.

Earlier efforts to protect the forests focused on law enforcement and allocating existing forests to local people for their management and tending. However, there wasn’t any standard allocation system so K’Sau and his neighbors often had to worry about feeding their family.

The program has also conducted a study on the benefit distribution issue. As a result, it identified a total of 17 policy recommendations. The study was undertaken in consultations with various stakeholders so it will be useful for the Government to design a standard benefit distribution system.

The program is Phase 1 and focused on building capacity to implement REDD. Building on Phase 1, Viet Nam is expecting to launch a Phase 2 in 2013. This is the first time a country is entering Phase 2. “We believe Viet Nam can become one of the success stories of REDD that will be told to the world to help convince world leaders that REDD+ is possible,” said Royal Norwegian Ambassador to Viet Nam, H.E Stale Torstein Risa.

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Viet Nam 
Go to UNDP Global