In April 2022, the IKI approved a costed two-year extension for the Coffee Agroforestry and Forest Enhancement for REDD+ (Café REDD) Project implemented by the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) Viet Nam. Café REDD aims at reducing agriculture-driven deforestation and promotes landscape restoration in the Lang Biang Man and Biosphere Reserve located in the northern part of Lam Dong in the Central Highlands. As such, the project contributes to Vietnam’s NDC and national efforts aligned to the Glasgow Declaration on Forests and Land Use. The extension phase will consolidate and build on the project’s impressive results so far – achieved since late 2018 despite the implementation challenges presented by Covid-19:
- Strengthened institutional capacity for climate-smart landscape governance provides the foundation for sustainable forest and land use in the target area. Café-REDD has supported the establishment of a district level public-private-producer partnership (4P) with commitments to strengthen forest protection and ecosystem restoration, scale adoption of sustainable production practices, and support inclusive economic opportunities for rural smallholders in the landscape. The project has supported the development of plans to guide climate smart land use and development decision-making at various levels, including contributions to the Lam Dong Climate Change Action Plan (November 2020), inputs to NDC mainstreaming (climate adaptation and mitigation) in Lam Dong’s integrated planning and the development of a Land Use Plan for Lac Duong District (July 2021). Café-REDD has developed 10 village land use plans and community conservation agreements as a basis for free, prior and informed consent for sustainable landscape management covering 6,406 ha in the most deforestation-prone areas of the district. In the extension phase the project will continue to strengthen public-private cooperation, including collaborative management between local communities, forest owners and authorities and expand its target area to an additional five villages.
- Engaging the private sector to adopt forest monitoring and traceability systems (developed in July 2020). Currently, six coffee businesses have officially signed the commitment on working towards a deforestation-free landscape. The project has piloted the introduction of monitoring and traceability systems with five companies. In the extension phase, the project will start to connect company supply-chain monitoring and traceability systems with the near-real time satellite-based deforestation hotspot monitoring and forest protection system (using drones for on the ground verification) established at the landscape level during 2019-20. Lam Dong province has already committed to applying this approach at provincial scale.
- Supporting local ethnic minority communities and smallholder farmers (3,355 farmers) transition to sustainable production systems. Already, the project has supported the transition of almost 2,000 ha from monocrop coffee to mixed upland agroforestry systems – linking and buffering protection and conservation forest areas. Crucially, Café-REDD has intervened by organizing and training farmer groups and strengthening connection to markets for higher quality coffee. Communities also received funds to improve off-forest-farm livelihoods, creating economic opportunities for vulnerable ethnic K’ho households away from the farm-forest frontier. Such activities help farmers to improve incomes and diversify livelihood strategies and were highly appreciated as they were badly affected by supply chain issues during the Covid-19 pandemic. The extension phase will feature value-chain development for the intercrops introduced as part of the agroforestry models with an emphasis on women’s economic empowerment in the relevant value-chains and off-forest-farm enterprise development. In addition, a model of 30 ha of forest enrichment in Bidoup Nui Ba National Park has mobilized farmers to join in conservation work. This model will also be further scaled in the extension phase in collaboration with public sector investments in tree-planting and forest restoration.
- To date Café-REDD has already mobilized 829,312 EUR public and private finance for climate smart landscape restoration. The extension phase features a new work package which aims to leverage a further €1m investment from public and private sources and improve access to finance for smallholders through engaging local financial institutions and the development of an innovative fund for forests and livelihoods.