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Justice in the Forests: Vietnam - Local People Need Legal Rights to Forests| 12mins
Director: Dominic Elliot | Producer: IIED & Dominic Elliot
Focus Years: 2011 | Country: United Kingdom
Subject Tags: asia, education, environment, vietnam
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
Although many communities in Vietnam have managed their forests for centuries, it is only recently that the government has recognized the legal status of community forest management. This film compares the case of one village that has received legal title to one that has not. Thon Bon is one of the few villages to have been given legal title under the government’s pilot scheme while Pho Trach, which also relies heavily on the forest for its wellbeing, has been managing it successfully for centuries without legal title. The co-operative has done a good job of looking after the forest yet the village has not yet been issued legal recognition to its rights to the forest. Instead, they must rely on the co-operative system to manage their natural resources and can fall victim to outside exploitation without compensation. In the current context of global schemes to fight greenhouse gas emissions, these legal titles provide a real opportunity for Vietnam, provided they can be made to work at the community level. Gaining security and rights will not only ensure the health and well being of the forests themselves, but also for the people who have cared for them for generations and hope to continue doing so far into the future. The film series "Justice in the Forests" explores the question: who gets to decide about forests? With deforestation causing such havoc for biodiversity, the climate and the livelihoods of millions of forest-dependent people around the world, it is an important question. The Forest Governance Learning Group is a network of teams in ten countries in Africa and Asia who grapple with this question and believe that solutions to forestry problems lie in increasing the power of local people over forest decisions. These films show how small teams can have a big impact in tackling forest governance.

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