A gap analysis in advancing jurisdictional sustainability and stakeholder engagement for jurisdictional sustainability governance in Lam Dong and Dak Nong provinces, Vietnam

This publication delves into the intricate dynamics of forest loss in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam, an area of economic, social, and ecological significance. Over time, its forests have dwindled due to a confluence of political and economic policies, aggravated by factors such as forest fires, illicit logging, and the expanding activities of local communities. The briefing identifies gaps within the production of forest-risk commodities and proposes a stakeholder engagement plan to promote a jurisdictional sustainability approach to managing coffee production in the provinces.

Key messages

  • Increasing efforts for sustainable agriculture: The Central Highlands has seen a rise in initiatives led by international entities, businesses, and local authorities to promote sustainable and deforestation-free agricultural practices. Some of these initiatives have achieved success at a small-scale landscape level. Despite successes at smaller scales, there is a challenge in translating these pilots to broader district and provincial levels.
  • Interconnected gaps and challenges: Notably, successful pilot programs involving various stakeholders have experienced a gap between high-level steering committees and grassroots multistakeholder engagement. This gap is due to inadequate representation of certain actors at these steering committees.
  • Importance of multilevel governance: The complexity of involving numerous stakeholders in provincial steering committees can be challenging. However, for effective governance, activities need to be organised and prioritised through a multilevel structure that incorporates both state and non-state actors at different levels.
  • Fragmented perceptions of sustainability: The existing gaps and challenges in multi-level governance have led to fragmented perceptions of sustainability goals among stakeholders. While training and communication can spread knowledge, the lack of equal support for enhancing knowledge and fostering a shared understanding of jurisdictional sustainability can marginalise certain actors due to power imbalances.
  • Role of local authorities: Multistakeholder engagement hinges on the performance of local authorities. Approvals and support from authorities are often seen as pivotal for successful sustainability governance.