Inle Lake, Shan State, Myanmar. Myanmar’s Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry Union Minister, H.E U Win Tun opened the 6th Conference on ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN) in Hu Pin Hotel, Inle Lake, Myanmar with a strong message of commitment and political support towards social forestry during his speech to some 300 local and international delegates.
He further underscored that actively engaging local people in forest management can “help achieve sustainable forest management and improve the well-being of rural people”. He assured everyone that his Ministry will continue to effectively implement social forestry in Myanmar through the Social Forestry Task Force, and the Community Forestry National Working Group, formed in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
During the last 15 years, over 104,146 acres of community forests have been established and about 821 forestry user groups have been formed across the country. The Ministry is aiming for 2.27 million acres more of community forests in Myanmar by 2030 which it hopes to achieve in collaboration with ASFN, NGOs and international organizations.
Mr. Patrick Sieber, Representative of Global Programme on Climate Change of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) reiterated his country’s continued support to social forestry citing that Switzerland is proud to be associated with the ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN) because it serves as an outstanding platform for knowledge and practice sharing, and forest policy reforms in the region. “Just two weeks ago, Switzerland submitted its official support to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to show its commitment in helping develop the region,” he further added.
The opening day was highlighted by the launching of the ASFN Knowledge Fair which featured various publications, Inle Lake’s 3D model map and NTFP products from RECOFTC, CIFOR, ICRAF, NTFP-EP, SEARCA and ASEAN member states. H.E. U Win Tun along with Dr. Nyi Nyi Kyaw, Director General of the Forest Department and H.E. Sao Aung Myat, Chief Minister of Shan State toured the exhibitions.
The conference is composed of three plenaries: the ASEAN Economic Community and Social Forestry: Readiness and potential impacts and opportunities; the Multifunctional landscape mosaic and the promise of social forestry, and Ensuring fair benefits from forest and land use and incentive for sustainable practices. The delegates will also break out into three parallel sessions to discuss Safeguards and Forest Related Investment; Community Based Livelihood in Forest Landscape; and Management and Governance of Dynamic Forest Landscape.
The 6th conference with the theme of ASEAN Economic Community and Its Interrelationships with Community Livelihoods and Environment Conservation which runs from June 2-3, 2014, is hosted by the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF) of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar together with the ASFN Secretariat and ASEAN Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC), supporting partners and civil society organizations (CSOs).