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Speech by Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director, on behalf of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam

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Date: Monday, 21 March 2011
Event: Policy Board of the UN-REDD Programme
Venue: Saigon Da Lat Hotel, Da Lat, Viet Nam
Speaker: Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director, on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam


Your Excellency Vice Minister Hua Duc Nhi of the Viet Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Chairman of the People’s Committee in Lam Dong, Mr. Huynh Duc Hoa,
Mr. Alexander Müller and
Dr. Yetti Rusli, Co-chairs
Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the United Nations in Viet Nam, I would like to welcome you to the 6th Policy Board Meeting of the UN-REDD  Programme here in this beautiful mountain city of Da Lat. We look forward to sharing information and working together with all partners, including the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility participants, to build on the progress made so far with UN-REDD around the world.

We in the UN are working hard to ensure the success of UN-REDD efforts in Viet Nam. As a pilot country for the ‘Delivering as One’ reform initiative, the work of the three UN organizations is an example of how enhanced collaboration, under the strong leadership of the Government, leads to better incorporation of each organization’s comparative advantages.

Viet Nam initiated the Quick Start Phase of the UN-REDD with a pilot project here in Lam Dong Province in 2009. Based on experiences thus far, as well as local consultations designed on the principle of free prior informed consent, work is now underway to craft the National REDD+ Programme. This will encapsulate all REDD+ activities in Viet Nam and ensure that REDD+ is fully operational.

It is encouraging to see that more countries have joined UN-REDD, either as pilot countries or partner countries, and that additional international REDD+ initiatives are being developed.  Close coordination is crucial to making sure we build on the strengths of each initiative.

The establishment of the interim REDD+ Partnership in Oslo last year, was key to maintain an active discussion on REDD+ at the international level. Also, last December’s outcomes from COP16 in Cancun were critical for advancing REDD+.  With clearer directions in areas such as monitoring, reporting and verification and safeguards, countries are now better able to design and implement REDD+ systems. I am sure that many participants are interested in discussing these topics later today under Agenda item IV.

I also want to emphasize how grateful we are for the investment and support from Norway for the UN-REDD in Viet Nam. Currently, the UN is assisting Viet Nam to draft a proposal for starting Phase 2. If the proposal is successful, Viet Nam could be the first of the UN-REDD pilot countries to enter into a Phase 2 stage.

Phase 2 would create a new, highly relevant set of experiences to be shared with other countries. Already, UN-REDD in Viet Nam has facilitated information exchange activities, including meetings between representatives from the lower Mekong region countries in Bangkok in November of last year.  And in a few weeks a delegation from the Government of Viet Nam will visit Mexico and Ecuador to learn more from their experiences with the set-up of payment systems and financing modalities.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Ultimate success of REDD+ will depend on many factors, including equitable sharing of benefits, and careful implementation that addresses risks and embraces opportunities. However, applying REDD+ does not help us to fight climate change if cross-border leakage of carbon is not addressed.  There are also risks that financial flows are diverted – funds that are meant to benefit forest dependent communities, who in Viet Nam are often ethnic minority people.  Experiences with pilot projects are helping us learn how to best mitigate these risks.

If implemented well, our efforts to promote and support low-carbon, climate-resilient development will have a real impact on the lives of the many millions of people that depend on forests, such as those living in the mountains surrounding us here today.  

In this spirit I wish you a very fruitful meeting in Da Lat in the International Year of Forest and thank you for your attention.

*****

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