Forest Land allocation for local people who is ethnic minority groups in Tuong Duong District, Nghe An Province 14/09/2018 admin Nghe An is one of the poorest province in Vietnam. It is located in the north central region being 291 km south of Hanoi. Nghe An shares boundaries with Thanh Hoa in the north, Ha Tinh in the south, East sea in the east, Hua Phan (Laos) in the northwest and Borikhamxay (Laos) in the southeast. Nghe An has a population of 2,912,041 people with 6 major ethnic groups that are Kinh, Thai, Tho, Kho Mu, H’Mong and O Du. Tuong Duong is a mountain poor district of Nghe An province, 162 km away from Vinh city. It shares border with Lao in the south and south-west, Que Phong district in the north, Con Cuong district, Nghe An province in east and south-east. Total land area of Tuong Duong is 281,129.73 ha. Tuong Duong has 18 communes and one town. It has 16,425 households with five main ethnic groups that are Kinh, Thai, Hmong, Kho Mu and Tho. Poor ethnic minority in Tuong Duong shared the same problem with land shortage as national context described above. According to a study conducted by Forest and Delta Program in 2014, land shortage is common situation in surveyed villages. The assessment at the villages revealed that 54% surveyed villages have land-shortage households, and 33% of household within the villages are lack of land. According to local villagers, the term “land-shortage” refers to both no land or amount of land is not enough for food security. In Tuong Duong district’s plan for land allocation 2016-2020, in 18 communes of Tuong Duong, there are 9,371 household need to have land allocation, with total area available for them is 62,589.7 ha. However, of the 18 communes, there are 7 communes in remote areas that, according to Tuong Duong district officers who involved in this proposal development, will be no budget for land allocation due to high cost of land allocation process in such remote areas that local government cannot afford. The project will build capacity for poor ethnic minority men and women to exercise their land rights through a participatory land allocation process in the 7 communes as well as pilot and document an initiative model of low cost for forest land allocation for advocate to scale up national wide. 1. Target groups The project will be implemented and provided support to capacity building and forest land allocation to poor ethnic minority people in 7 communes of Tuong Duong district. It is expected that by the end of the project, there will be 3,084 poor and near poor households in 58 villages in 7 poor communes, which equals a total number of about 15,000 poor people, will be directly benefited and improved their capacity and access to forest production lands through a participatory, pro-poor and gender/cultural sensitive land allocation process, as well as other different project interventions such as capacity-building/training courses, sharing and learning events. Information on this target group as in the Table 2 below (all forest lands are production forest). Table 2: Information on target group in 8 communes Communes Number of Hhs who get new forest land Ethnic groups % poor/near poor HHs Average area per Hh (ha) Total areas (ha) 1. Yên Thắng (8 villages) 275 Thái 100 4 1,100 2. Mai Sơn (10 villages) 376 Thái, Hmong, Kho mu 100 5.2 1,955 3. Yên Tĩnh (8 villages) 552 Thái 100 12 6,624 4. Xiêng My (7 villages) 596 Thái 100 7,3 4,351 5. Yên Na (8 villages) 444 Thái, Kho Mu 100 10 4,440 6. Hữu Khuông (10 villages) 536 Thái, Kho Mu, Hmong 100 5,5 2,948 7. Tam Hợp (7 villages) 305 Thái, Hmong 100 14 4,270 Total (58 villages) 3,084 100% 25,688 Other group of direct beneficiaries include 58 male and 58 female village land allocation facilitators, 18 commune officers/commune women union officers, 20 district officers and 200 provincial and national government staff who will get benefit from project capacity building, project documents/communication materials, sharing/learning meetings and workshops. 2. Project Objectives, Output and Activities Development objective of the project: Contribute to improving forest land rights of ethnic minority people in Vietnam. Specific objectives of the project Objective 1: Improved forest land access for poor ethic minority in 58 villages of 7 poor communes in Tuong Duong district, Nghe An province. Indicators for objective 1: By the end of the project, 3084 poor and near poor households in the 58 villages in the communes, which equals a total number of about 15,000 poor people will be directly improved their capacity and access to forest production lands through a participatory, pro-poor and gender and cultural sensitive land allocation process as well as other project interventions. By the end of the project, 58 male and 58 female village land allocation facilitators, 18 commune officers/commune women union officers, 20 district officers are capable to carrying out the participatory pro-poor, gender/cultural sensitive land allocation process for other villages/communes in Tuong Duong district. Objective 2: A low cost model of participatory forest land allocation is piloted and documented. Indicator for objective 2: By the end of the project, a low cost model of participatory forest land allocation piloted in 10 villages in Tuong Duong district, Nghe An province and documented for wider dissemination and advocacy. Objective 3: Communication strategy developed and implemented for policy change to scale up the low cost model of participatory forest land allocation in Vietnam. Indicators for objective 3: By the end of the project, the low cost model of participatory forest land allocation and other lessoned learnt from the project widely disseminated and acknowledged by national policy makers as input for revising forest land allocation policy and Forest Law. Project key Activities: Activity 1.1: Conduct baseline survey to collect information on land areas, local people expectation on land allocation, cultural/customary law and gender issues in forest rights etc., to serve the project planning, monitoring and evaluation. Activity 1.2: Develop tailor-made training materials on participatory, pro-poor, gender and cultural sensitive land allocation and provide capacity building to local district, commune and village people. Activity 1.3: Carry out the participatory, pro-poor and gender/cultural sensitive land allocation in 48 villages of 7 communes of Tuong Duong district. Activity 1.4: Documentation of approaches and lessons learned to serve replication in other communes as well as for designing the low cost land allocation model. Activity 2.1: Conduct a study to assess capacity of commune and village people as well as other aspects for designing the low cost land allocation model which can be carried out by local village and commune people instead of district/outsider consultant as current process/policy. Activity 2.2: Design the low cost land allocation model/method with active participation from local and national technical agency and experts. Activity 2.3: Pilot the low cost land allocation model/method in 10 villages of 7 communes in Tuong Duong district and documented the method and lessons learned. Activity 3.1: Develop a communication/advocacy strategy for promoting the low cost models at local and national levels. Activity 3.2: Carry out communication/advocacy events at local and national levels with participatory of local villagers and leaders, commune leaders, experts and mass media for sharing the low cost model/method and policy influent. Activity 3.3: Advocate provincial and national agencies for allocating Government fund/other donors’ fund for wider piloting the model in Nghe An and other provinces. Activity 3.4: Advocate and support for specific forest policy and forest law changed to institutionalize the low cost model for national wide replication.  Nghe An provincial website, http://www.bdt.nghean.gov.vn/wps/portal/bandantoc/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3i_MG9_TxPDUGcnPyczA09HU6NQYw8PY38XY6B8JJJ8kI-pi4GnmamFsbGRm5NzsAEB3eEg-_DrB8kb4ACOBvp-Hvm5qfqR-lHmuOwJBpoSmZOanphcqV-QG2GQZRKqCACNuXLr/dl3/d3/L0lJSklna2shL0lCakFBTXlBQkVSQ0lBISEvWUZOQzFOS18yN3chLzdfTlZLT0k0MVVDQk5CNjBJQTUyVTNISDNTUzA!/?WCM_PORTLET=PC_7_NVKOI41UCBNB60IA52U3HH3SS0_WCM&WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/wps/wcm/connect/web+content+ban+dan+toc/bdt/ttsk/tcn/f161810045723eacbecabf9161698e95.  The VFD program has supported land allocation for one commune.