Strengthening forest landscape governance: Exploring academic collaboration in Viet Nam
In July 2023, the Explore secretariat visited Vinh University and Hue University in Viet Nam to introduce the Explore Program and engage in discussions regarding potential collaborations with RECOFTC.
Supported by funding from the Swedish International Cooperation Development Agency (Sida) through Explore, both universities received research grants of up to USD 190,000 in 2022. These grants were among seven awarded that year for research focused on improving forest landscape governance in the Asia-Pacific region.
The purpose of the visits was twofold. Firstly, they aimed to introduce Explore to university leadership and discuss potential collaborations and synergies with RECOFTC. Secondly, the meetings discussed the research, administrative, financial and compliance aspects of grant implementation, providing valuable insights for effective partnerships.
Dr. Ho Thi Phuong, a faculty member at Vinh University, is leading a multi-country research project that examines the roles, rights and responsibilities of women and men in forest-dependent communities, as well as their forest-based livelihoods. Her four-year research effort spans Lao PDR and Viet Nam.
RECOFTC’s ongoing projects in Nghe An province align naturally with Vinh University's priorities. This alignment forms a solid basis for potential collaborative efforts in the region, particularly in research cooperation related to sustainable development, livelihoods, environment and natural resource management.
The team also met with the management at Hue University and Dr. Le Thanh An, a faculty member at Hue University, who leads a multi-country research project focusing on understanding forest dependence during the time of COVID-19. The project adopts a multi-disciplinary approach and covers Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam.
Explore interim Program Manager Sirichai Saengcharnchai stated, "The collaboration with Hue University paves the way for potential partnerships between RECOFTC, Explore and the university. This extends to exploring social enterprise and value chain perspectives in forest landscape governance."
The visits have helped forge stronger partnerships with universities in the region, setting the stage for RECOFTC to co-design projects that promote good forest landscape governance.
The Explore secretariat at RECOFTC is reviewing the details to formalize the grant mechanism through partnership agreements and memoranda of understanding with the universities that received the grants. The secretariat will be conducting courtesy visits to other grant recipient universities in the coming months.
Explore is a research network and community of practice dedicated to expanding and applying knowledge on forest landscape governance in Southeast Asia. It is the only research network in the world focused on forest landscape governance.
Launched in October 2020, Explore is funded by Sida. The network is hosted by RECOFTC, in partnership with the CIFOR-ICRAF, in collaboration with universities, research institutes, governments, civil society organizations, local communities, and the private sector in Southeast Asia.