Speech at courtesy visit to vice chair of PPC Mr. Son on the occasion of the UN REDD - reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation inception workshop

Nov 24, 2009

Speaker: Ms. Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director.
Date:       Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Event:      Courtesy visit to vice chair of PPC Mr. Son on the occasion of the UN REDD - reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation inception workshop 

Excellency Mr. Hoang Si Son, Vice chairman of Lam Dong Province People’s Committee

On behalf of the visiting delegation, I would like express our appreciation for your kind invitation to Lam Dong Province on the occasion of the local inception workshop of the UN-REDD team to be held on 26 November.

In September, I had the honor to launch one of the first UN-REDD projects in the world with you, Vice Minister Nhi, and Ambassador Risa of Norway and congratulate the Government of Viet Nam on appointment as a pilot country of the UN Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.

The commencement of this programme is both relevant and timely. Around the world, deforestation is a growing problem and according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, deforestation contributes to close to 20 percent of the overall greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere. The expected endorsement of REDD at the Conference of the Parties (COP) 15 in Copenhagen, Demark, next month will be a further step towards curbing deforestation and contributing to the mitigation of the impacts of climate change.
For number of reasons, Lam Dong province offers a great opportunity for the Viet Nam REDD Programme to have a close look on a number of issues that REDD would like to address.

Firstly, as a pilot country, Viet Nam has been given the opportunity to be one of the first countries to benefit from the REDD programme and showcase the value of our forests, This Programme will strive to demonstrate that the costs associated with deforestation outweighs the immediate economic benefits of cutting down trees. The UN-REDD programme aims to tip the economic balance in favor of a more sustainable management of Viet Nam’s forests. With the forest coverage of about 620,000ha, equivalent to 60 percent of land territory, Lam Dong will present a case as to how forest conservation and improvement of the forest quality could offer more economic gain than just timber harvest.

Secondly, past assessments of poverty in Viet Nam showed that high poverty rate, ineffective forest protection, and ethnic minority groups, whose livelihood depends on forest resources, have strong corelation; and that improvement of livelihood of forest dependents, particularly the ethnic minority groups is a win-win solution for both forests and peoples’ well-being.  Lam Dong has a population with diverse ethnicity of 40 different ethnic minority groups who major income and livelihoods are dependent upon forests. These groups also represent about 40% of the poor households in the province. The REDD programme will help develop and implement benefit distribution system of the income that REDD could bring to the country including Lam Dong.

Thirdly, REDD Programme look forward to creating synergy with other initiatives. We also learnt that Lam Dong leaders’ commitments to sustainable development and strong support for national reforestation programme (programme 661) and new initiatives such as Payment for Environment Service, which shares some similarity with the REDD programme. We believe that strong cooperation of REDD programme with those programmes in Lam Dong will offer more opportunities for success of REDD programme.

And last but not least, all the lessons leant and success from the work in Lam Dong and from the Vietnam REDD Programme will be very important to future of UN REDD programme in other countries.
One factor for success is strong collaboration among government agencies, local authorities and other interested groups. That is why we are very glad and highly appreciate Lam Dong People’s Committee support. We look forward to stronger collaboration with Lam Dong leadership in the future.