This document constitutes the Terms of Reference describing main functions, tasks, institutional structure, rights and responsibilities, and mode of operations of the Forest Sector Support Partnership Coordination Office (FSSP CO) for the period of 2011-2015.
1. Main Functions
The main function of the FSSP Coordination Office is to serve as the secretariat for the Partnership and its key institutions, especially the Partnership Steering Committee and the Partnership Advisory Board (PAB). It serves to coordinate and promote information flows in the sector, between the Government, international and national partners, and to mobilise financial, technical and other resources to support the sector.
2. Main Tasks
The specific responsibilities of the FSSP Coordination Office are as follows:
• Provide secretariat services to the Partnership and its institutions;
• Serve as a communication and information hub, facilitating information flows between Vietnamese and international partners; and
• Coordinate with relevant parties in mobilising resources and other support for the sector.
To fulfil these responsibilities, the FSSP CO must undertake specific tasks as follows:
• Serve as the secretariat for FSSP institutions (FSSP, PSC, PAB, RFN), work with PSC Chairman and Co-chair to prepare and organize PSC meetings;
• Serve as the secretariat for dialogue forums, such as policy dialogues and meetings of working groups;
• Prepare annual work plan and budget for major activities of FSSP and FSSP CO with funding from FSSP CO Trust Fund (CO TF). This fund is audited independently (by a third party) every year;
• Coordinate FSSP review activities and others, e.g. draft Terms of Reference (ToR), define activities with technical support needs, etc;
• Organize FSSP capacity building activities.
• Other tasks assigned by the Partnership Steering Committee
Communication, information and networking:
• Provide favourable conditions for information sharing among members, including FSSP website maintenance and update, issuance of periodical newsletters, etc;
• Coordinate development and maintenance of forest sector monitoring and information systems, develop sectoral evaluation report and others;
• Report FSSP Chairman and Co-chair on information and recommendations from workshops and meetings;
• Work out M&E of post – workshop follow-ups implementation.
Coordination, mobilization of resources, and other supporting tasks:
• Assist Regional Forestry Networks, provinces, local partners and VNFOREST working groups in mobilizing financial, technical and logistic support of their activities;
• Coordinate, collect and synthesize technical comments and feedbacks on priority policies, legal documents, concept notes and other important documents of the sector; and
• Provide detailed work plan (2011-2015) to institutionalize, within MARD scope, functions implemented by FSSP CO.
3. Institutional structure
The FSSP Coordination Office is comprised of part-time Director and Deputy Director, both seconded from VNFOREST. One leader of VNFOREST will be the Director will, while that of the Department of Science and Technology and International Cooperation (DOSTIC) will be the Deputy Director. The FSSP CO Directors report to the MARD Vice-Minister, who is the Director General of VNFOREST and the PSC chairman. The FSSP CO has other full-time staff, comprised of program officers, accountants, and administrative support staff, as well as national or international advisors. From time to time, the CO activities may be supported by short-term consultants or volunteers. The annual staffing pattern is approved in each annual work plan and budget.
4. Rights and Responsibilities
The rights and responsibilities of FSSP CO staff, advisors, consultants, and volunteers are specified in their respective individual Terms of Reference and employment contracts in line with relevant laws and regulations of the Government of Vietnam and the donors. In the case of international advisors, consultants, or volunteers, their employment (or volunteer internship) may be subject to specific bilateral or multilateral agreements between the Government and the donor(s) funding their work.
5. Mode of Operations
The FSSP Coordination Office is a Partnership institution that operates on a full-time basis during the FSSP Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) effective time, i.e. until 2015.
Expenses: Any expenses for the operations of the Coordination Office will be covered by the FSSP Coordination Office Trust Fund (CO TF).
FSSP Coordination Office Trust Fund (CO TF): Core funding for key Partnership institutions and activities, including the Coordination Office operations, is provided through the FSSP Coordination Office Trust Fund. Financial support for the CO Trust Fund is provided through bilateral agreements between MARD and the contributing donors. A separate document, Guidelines on Management and Utilisation of the Trust Fund of the Forest Sector Coordination Office, provides detailed guidance on the use of the core funding for the key Partnership and CO operations. These guidelines include cost norms, which are based upon the cost norms of the European Commission. The guidelines can be periodically updated by the FSSP CO, and approved by the Chairperson and Co-Chairperson of the Partnership.