Using REDD+ Policy to Facilitate Climate Adaptation at the Local Level: Synergies and Challenges in Vietnam

McElwee, P., et al., 2017. Forests

Original research (primary data)
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Attention has recently been paid to how REDD+ mitigation policies are integrated into other sectoral policies, particularly those dealing with climate adaptation at the national level. But there is less understanding of how subnational policy and local projects are able to incorporate attention to adaptation; therefore, we use a case study in Vietnam to discuss how REDD+ projects and policies address both concerns of mitigation and adaptation together at subnational levels. Through stakeholder interviews, focus groups, and household surveys in three provinces of Vietnam with REDD+ activities, our research sought to understand if REDD+ policies and projects on the ground acknowledge that climate change is likely to impact forests and forest users; if this knowledge is built into REDD+ policy and activities; how households in forested areas subject to REDD+ policy are vulnerable to climate change; and how REDD+ activities can help or hinder needed adaptations. Our findings indicate that there continues to be a lack of coordination between mitigation and adaptation policies in Vietnam, particularly with regard to REDD+. Policies for forest-based climate mitigation at the national and subnational level, as well as site-based projects, have paid little attention to the adaptation needs of local communities, many of whom are already suffering from noticeable weather changes in their localities, and there is insufficient discussion of how REDD+ activities could facilitate increased resilience. While there were some implicit and coincidental adaptation benefits of some REDD+ activities, most studied projects and policies did not explicitly target their activities to focus on adaptation or resilience, and in at least one case, negative livelihood impacts that have increased household vulnerability to climate change were documented. Key barriers to integration were identified, such as sectoral specialization; a lack of attention in REDD+ projects to livelihoods; and inadequate support for ecosystem-based adaptation.

Case studies

Basic information

  • Case ID: INT-085-1
  • Intervention type: Combination
  • Intervention description:

    In Kien Giang, the GIZ/AusAid Conservation and Development program was originally designed as a climate change adaptation, mitigation and integrated coastal zone management project. In recent years it has also supported research into mangrove forests, awareness raising of forest protection, and training on REDD+ readiness in Kien Giang and Ca Mau provinces. One of the major activities funded by the project has supported local communities to develop “green fences” along the coastal area through mangrove plantations to protect against landslides and coastal erosion due to strong waves from the seas and future sea level rise. Local people were also supported by the project to establish mangrove nurseries. The project provided training courses for local people, especially women, on primary health care services and rural sanitation, for example building toilets and using clean water, among others, which have adaptation benefits. Kien Giang province also has had since 2005 an initiative of benefit sharing in mangrove forest protection that enables local people to combine forest protection and aquaculture development to secure local livelihoods. People are allocated two to three ha of protection mangrove forest, and they are allowed to use 30% of this area to raise shrimp, as long as they maintain 70% mangrove forest. By 2013, there were 1076 households participating who were allocated mangrove forest with “green books” (a long-term contract for forest protection) along 200 km of the coast of Kien Giang province. The program aims to give local people incentive to protect mangrove forest while developing shrimp production for their livelihood; however, according to GIZ/AusAid project officers’ assessments, the expectation from local people is for a higher percentage of land devoted to shrimp production due to low profits and higher costs of maintaining mangrove forest as compared to non-participating shrimp farms.

  • Landscape/sea scape ecosystem management: Yes
  • Climate change impacts Effect of Nbs on CCI Effect measures
    Reduced water availability  Positive Kieng Giang - people’s perceptions of how effective/useful livelihoods activities implemented on site were towards reducing water scarcity issues and shoreline erosion
    Coastal erosion  Positive Kieng Giang - people’s perceptions of how effective/useful livelihoods activities implemented on site were towards reducing water scarcity issues and shoreline erosion
  • Approach implemented in the field: Yes
  • Specific location:

    Kien Giang is located in the Mekong Delta area in the South

  • Country: Vietnam
  • Habitat/Biome type: Mangroves |
  • Issue specific term: Other


  • Notes on intervention effectivness: Kien Giang – livelihood activities were developed that extended beyond typical REDD+ activities, such as addressing water scarcity and shoreline erosion, adaptation responses that were considered useful by households facing water and land erosion risks, and which may increase positive feelings and household participation in other parts of the project (e.g., tree planting). - Kon Tum case study excluded because outcomes reported result from poor governance based on the fact that adaptation needs were not considered in the way the intervention was implemented o In kon tum project – the negative outcomes of the redd+ strategy results from governance/the way it is managed; restricted livelihoods -> reduce coping ability to on-going climatic impacts affecting livelihoods - the decision was made to keep kieng giang however because it directly assesses how a project which was designed to address adaptation needs fared
  • Is the assessment original?: Yes
  • Broadtype of intervention considered: Not applicable
  • Compare effectivness?: No
  • Compared to the non-NBS approach: Not applicable
  • Report greenhouse gas mitigation?: No
  • Impacts on GHG: Not applicable
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on natural ecosystems: No
  • Impacts for the ecosystem: Not reported
  • Ecosystem measures:
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on people: Yes
  • Impacts for people: Positive
  • People measures: assessment derived from survey gauging livelihoods, income, assets, participation in forest projects, climate vulnerability, adaptation measures. Focus groups were also conducted. They considered intervention impact in relation to socio-economic status.
  • Considers economic costs: Yes
  • Economic appraisal conducted: No
  • Economic appraisal described:
  • Economic costs of alternative considered: No
  • Compared to an alternative: Not reported

Evaluation methodology

  • Type of data: Mixed qualitative/quantitative
  • Is it experimental: No
  • Experimental evalution done: Not applicable
  • Non-experimental evalution done: Empirical case study
  • Study is systematic: