Lam Dong Province Learns About Payments for Environmental Services

11 September 2008 | News story

Community members, local authorities and journalists gained a better understanding of the concept of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) after IUCN Viet Nam hosted a series of educational events, which most recently featured a public awareness campaign in July and August 2008.

As part of the USAID-funded Asia Regional Biodiversity Program (ARBCP), IUCN, Winrock International and government partners held village meetings and other awareness-raising events, during which it circulated written materials and CDs, and organized commune- and district-level competitions to raise awareness about PES in communities in Lam Dong and other provinces. 

The ARBCP program had previously trained government officials on the legal aspects of PES, their potential roles and responsibilities under the scheme and how to adjudicate forest land disputes. It also hosted regional dialogues and produced regional policy briefs on the topic.

PES, one of several mechanisms for generating sustainable financing for biodiversity conservation, is a relatively new concept in Vietnam and the region. It rewards local communities involved in conservation activities by allowing them to manage land and resources, and then providing payment for the economically important goods and services that result from their acting as ecologically responsible stewards.

The most recent awareness-raising campaign was in part to spread the word about Decision 380, a pilot PES program the Vietnamese government signed in April. The activities were designed to support efforts to improve the sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation across the Dong Nai River landscape, and to learn lessons that would apply throughout Viet Nam and the Greater Mekong Subregion.

The public awareness campaign lasted from July 10 to Aug. 10, 2008, culminating with a district-wide competition in Da Nhim commune, Lac Duong district, Lam Dong province. Participants completed trivia quizzes, musical performances and skits to demonstrate their conservation knowledge and their ability to use the new information to change their behavior in regards to the environment.

The contestants were winners of commune-level contests in Da Sar, Da Nhim and Da Chays communes. The district event drew a crowd of more than 1,000 ethnic minority villagers and officials, and local media broadcasted it to a television audience of about 120,000 people.

ARBCP additionally built the media’s capacity to report on PES. On August 1, MARD’s Forest Protection Department and IUCN co-hosted a training for 57 environmental journalists in Ho Chi Minh City, where reporters became familiar with the concept, for use in future news stories.

For more information, please contact Mrs. Tran Minh Phuong at phuong@iucn.org.vn.