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Ceremony of granting forest and land use rights certificate to Ro Ngao ethnic communities in Kon Tum
Following the guideline of Kon Tum Provincial People’s Committee stated in the document 2583/UBND-KTN dated November 11, 2013 on allowing the Consultancy on Development Institute (CODE) to conduct program on supporting livelihood in relations with the traditional customary practices of ethnic groups living in Kon Plong and Sa Thay district for the period of 2014 – 2016. Accordingly, CODE in collaboration with the Culture Identity and Rsesource Use Management (CIRUM), Social Policy Ecology Research Institute (SPERI) and Kon Tum Union of Science and Technology Associations (KTUSTA), has implemented forest and land allocation attached with water source protection and cultural identity preservation for three resettled villages of Ro Ngao ethnic group such as Dak Wok, Dak Yo and Ko Tu villages, Ho Moong commune,  Sa Thay district, Kon Tum province.

 Ceremony of granting land use rights certificates

In compliance with Decisions 2040, 2041 and 2042 dated November 6, 2014 of Sa Thay District People’s Committee (DPC) on forest and land allocation for Ro Ngao communities in Dak Wok, Dak Yo and Ko Tu villages, Ho Mong Communnal People’s Committee (CPC) organized a ceremony of granting land use rights certificate for water source protection to these groups on December 17, 2014.
Attending the ceremony were:  Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Son, Deputy Head of Provincial Party Committee Office, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Cao, Chairman of KTUSTA; Mr. Nguyen Tan Liem, Head of Forest Protection Department - Kon Tum Department of Agriculture and Rural Development; representatives from Kon Tum Television and Broadcasting, agencies and branches of Sa Thay district,  Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Forest Protection Unit; officials from Ho Moong CPC, Ro Ngao communities from Dak Wok, Dak You and Ko Tu villages and also representatives from SPERI, CODE and CIRUM.
As a result of Pleikrong hydro-electric construction, Ro Ngao ethnic groups from these three villages have been replaced to Ho Moong commune, Sa Thay district since 2005. In the new locations, the villagers have faced various difficulties and challenges in order to stablize their life. Until 2012, many of the households haven’t still been supported land for production as scheduled, as well as the water source from underground well systems could hardly meet the people’s need, especially in the dry season.

The Dak Yo watershed forest was damaged before the allocation
In order to overcome the water scarcity, from 2012 – 2013 Kon Tum PC instructed the relevant agencies to invest in system of water flowing from watershed streams.  Till 2012, a large amount of natural watershed forestland areas have been destroyed for agriculture production. Continued and uncontrollable forest encroachment and deforestation have directly affected the water source and supply for the local people.
For protecting forest to supply water for the drinking water systems, Sa Thay DPC under the support of CODE, CIRUM, SPERI and KTUSTA has allocated a total of 55.37 ha of forestland to communities consisting of 651 households from Dak Wok (8.5 ha), Dak Yo (37.24 ha) and Ko Tu (9.63 ha) for forest management  and development.

Red Book for community in Dak Yo village
According to Ho Moong local authority and people, the demarcation for further forest and land allocation has facilitated the regular forest protection activities. As a result, the forests have been rapidly regenerated to maintain the water supply for the local people.
The villagers are now better aware of their forest areas and their role in protection of the water source. Therefore, no one dares to damage the forest for cultivation.  
Not only every single person is responsible for forest protection, but the villages also set up their forest protection teams in and between the communities to coordinate in patrolling the forest, monitoring and maintaining the clean water systems as well. The communities also set up their own regulations to prevent the outsiders from gold mining
During the patrolling, the local people have promptly found out the violation cases that are seriously punished by the community regulations and reported to the communal authority.
Mr. A Cuong, Head of Dak Wok village noted that the allocated forest areas play significant role for Ro Ngao ethnic groups in recovering and maintaining their spiritual culture attached with forest, especially water source. They are now committed to well protecting the forest for current and future generations.
Mr. Nguyen Van Niem, Chairman of Ho Mong CPC highly appreciated the importance of forest and land allocation to the local communities in Dak Wok, Dak Yo and Ko Tu villages in water source protection that contributes to improving efficiency of the State-invested clean water system in order to secure the water supply and people’s life stability, prevent deforestation and encroachment, recover and promote traditional cultural practices attached with forest of the Ro Ngao ethnic groups. The success of forest and land allocation in Ho Moong commune also pays the way to expand the model to other localities in Sa Thay district in particular and Kon Tum province in general.

Vu Thai (CIRUM)
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