Vietnam experienced significant forest loss in the period between 1943 and 1993, with forest cover reducing from 43% to 28%. Continuous efforts by the government and society in afforestation have increased forest cover to approximately 42% by 2017. However, the quality of natural forest is degrading. By 2010, two-thirds of natural forest was classified as poor and regenerated, while rich and close-canopy forest only accounts for 5% of the total.

An underlying factor for deforestation and forest degradation is poor forest governance, including the lack of transparency on forest information and decision-making, the lack of participation of local communities and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and the lack of an accountable government monitoring system.

International initiatives, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) and the EU’s FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade), grant more space for non-state actors such as CSOs and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) to engage in legal reform and implementation of forest policies and programmes. However, the engagement is mostly at the consultation level and less focused on implementing and monitoring. REDD+ provides a specific opportunity for CSOs and CBOs to advance forest governance outcomes, as the legitimacy of REDD+ and its implementation depends on safeguarding the rights of those most dependent on the forests.

In 2017, Vietnam introduced the National REDD+ Action Programme 2017-2030 (NRAP) with the overall goal to “Contribute to protecting and improving the quality of the existing natural forests, expanding the forest area and improving the quality of plantation forests; linking with the implementation of national goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, forest protection and development, green growth; mobilizing international support, getting access to carbon markets; and improving people's lives and the country’s sustainable development.”

Moreover, in 2018 Vietnam developed an Emission Reductions Programme (ER-P) in six North Central Provinces for the period 2019-2025 (in the frame of the World Bank’s promotion of initiatives for greenhouse gas emissions reduction) with the commitment to introduce a Forest Change Independent Monitoring (FCIM) system in six provinces, where CSOs and CBOs are the key factors to ensure good forest protection and governance. Nghe An Province is one of the six North Central provinces participating in the project "Emission reduction and transfer of emission reduction rights in the North Central region" as part of the ER-P. Within this framework, the present Intervention came to support the areas of Ky Son and Tuong Duong districts of Nghe An Province in establishing a well-functioning FCIM system.

The European Commission has awarded a Grant Contract through a Call for Proposals, with the objective to increase CSOs' capacity and establish an enabling environment for civil society in Vietnam to address issues relating to youth engagement, tackling climate change, and CSOs' response to the new development perspective in Vietnam. The Intervention is implemented by two Vietnamese Implementing Partners, the Research Institute for Sustainable Forest Management and Forest Certification (SFMI) and the Centre of Environment and Biological Resources (CEBR).