Will strong analysis in the World Bank’s Vietnam Country Forest Note create the intended outcomes?

As the World Bank continues to support incorporating forests into development work, it should examine methods for improving implementation of project finance and strengthening pro-forest outcomes.

The Vietnam Country Forest Note (CFN), disclosed in October 2019, presents the World Bank’s overview of efforts aimed at improving sustainable forest management and enhancing rural livelihoods in Vietnam. But are the proposed solutions identified in the CFN enough? Our analysis finds that the CFN recommends a number of innovative approaches for improving the forest sector. In particular, the financial tools being leveraged to support smallholders and incentivize the development of private enterprises hold promise. While these measures are welcome, the Bank should also address needed plans for direct forest conservation/protection efforts and community forest management and training, as complements to what the Bank has already proposed. 

Read BIC’s Vietnam Country Forest Note Analysis here.

CFN Patterns: How does this compare to the Zambia Country Forest Note? 

Both CFNs acknowledge national challenges concerning deforestation and forest degradation. And both align with the World Bank’s 2016 Forest Action Plan by suggesting actions needed both inside the forest sector and outside, such as land tenure agreements, forest-smart agriculture, and ecotourism. They also address cross-cutting themes, namely institutions and governance, climate change and resilience, and rights and participation. While we appreciate the Bank’s progress towards engaging on these fronts, we have also identified shared issues between the CFNs that require concerted action so that resources will be effectively administered to the communities that need them. Among the most prominent of these issues is the lack of integration of World Bank efforts with other donors and partners which can result in the misallocation of resources. Failures and lags in disbursement of project funds is another shared thread that continues to diminish the full impact of World Bank efforts towards supporting pro-forest activities. Read our Zambia CFN analysis for a deeper dive into its strengths and weaknesses.