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Social forestry can help resolve climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, land degradation and poverty: Myanmar's Minister of Environmental Conservation and Forestry

  • Published in RECOFTC
  • Tuesday, 02 June 2015 00:00

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).

Source: http://www.recoftc.org/news-and-features/social-forestry-can-help-resolve-climate-change-biodiversity-loss-deforestation

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Land rights and tenure security issues dominate 6th ASFN conference discussions

  • Published in RECOFTC
  • Wednesday, 03 June 2015 00:00

Inle Lake, Shan State, Myanmar. Land rights and secure tenure top the list of ‘must haves’ if smallholders and local farmers are to successfully integrate to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) once it is fully implemented this year. Participants and delegates argue that rights and secure tenure will lessen the effects of regional economic integration to small farmers and forest-based enterprises. “Benefit sharing is often tied to tenure arrangements, the different bundles of rights and level of tenure security in any country or site will determine how much benefits the community can get from the forests,” Dr. Grace Wong, Senior Scientist at CIFOR.

Dr. Wong further pointed out the complexities when land rights do not include the rights to trees or other resources, nor the rights to the carbon. However, Ms. Joy Reyes-Eugenio, Project Officer at the Biodiversity Partnerships Project (BPP) - Biodiversity Management Bureau, DENR-Philippines added some caution saying, “Local communities must balance the drive to generate higher forest resource-based income with the actual state of the natural resources to prevent an ecosystem’s collapse.”

After three days of deliberations and discussions, there is a consensus that although land rights and secure tenure are of paramount importance, they have to be supported with material, financial, technical and market assistance in order to fully realize their benefits.

With AEC just around the corner, delegates were also concerned of transboundary issues such as illegal trading of goods and services which can further make business difficult for small farmers and forest-based enterprises.

As of press time, the recommendations from conference delegates which focused on three main themes: clear and flexible land rights and secure tenure including indigenous people's rights, holistic provision of support services, and protection of smallholders and producers through the establishment of a grievance mechanism in the region, are still being finalized by ASFN. The final list of recommendations will be released in a few days and will be formally endorsed to the ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF).

The 6th ASFN conference with the theme ASEAN Economic Community and Its Interrelationships with Community Livelihoods and Environment Conservation was 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).

Source: http://www.recoftc.org/news-and-features/land-rights-and-tenure-security-issues-dominate-6th-asfn-conference-discussions

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Participatory Action Research Training (PAR), to Bring Positive Change and Impact to Community

  • Published in RECOFTC
  • Wednesday, 21 January 2015 12:25

Makassar, Indonesia - A four-day training on participatory action research (PAR) for community forestry in Indonesia kicked-off yesterday in Makassar, South Sulawesi. Conducted in collaboration with the University of Hasanuddin and supported by The ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Change (ASFCC), the training includes 26 participants from universities, national park management units, forestry traininng centers and national forestry departments. The participants will be trained on the fundamental principles of PAR as well as the key processes and tools for its development and implementation.

Forest management in Indonesia, as in other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, is extremely complex, making sustainable management a perennial challenge. However, in conducting research to improve forestry practices, researchers have traditionally addressed issues from the top down, which has created a disconnect between current professional practices and what is actually needed on the ground. PAR, instead, is based on the principle of including local people in meaningful research. Incorporating multiple perspectives and enabling critical reflection, PAR allows for context-specific results and leads to positive change.

The Dean of Forestry Faculty of Hasanuddin University, Dr. Ir. Muh. Restu, highlighted the importance of PAR for sustainable forest management during the training's opening session.

“We are optimistic that PAR will bring positive change and make an impact on our communities,” he said.

Through PAR, both the participatory processes and the research results are more likely to have positive implications for the research subject than traditional top-down research approaches, because PAR is both designed and conducted in partnership with local people for the local people.

Original source: http://www.recoftc.org/news-and-features/participatory-action-research-training-par-bring-positive-change-and-impact

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Village Forestry Working Group in Lao PDR: A New Beginning

  • Published in RECOFTC
  • Monday, 19 January 2015 14:21

The 2nd Workshop on Coordinating Mechanism for Village Forestry in lao PDR was organized by Department of Forestry Lao PDR with support from ASFCC and RECOFTC in Vientiane, on 18 December 2014. The workshop aims to finalize the terms of reference of Village Forestry Working Group, as a recommendation from the first Workshop.

The meeting was attended by representative from Department of Forestry, Department of Forest Resourcce Management, partners organizations and donor organization and it was opened by Director General Department of Forestry, Lao PDR, Mr. Thongphat Vongmany.

In the meeting, participants shared ideas and thoughts on how the Village Forestry Working Group will be positioned, the principle, objectives, structure, roles and responsibilities as well as their work plan.

During the Consultation Workshop on Coordinating Mechanism for Village Forestry in Lao PDR on 7th August 2014, attended by representatives from different departments and sectors of the Government of Lao PDR, donor agencies, development agencies, civil society organizations and academic institutions attended. An overall agenda highlighted the importance of continuing to implement village forestry across Lao PDR. The participants also discussed crucial current issues in village forestry development in Lao PDR, progress to date, strategy for future village forestry development and methods for improving coordination mechanisms.

In reference to the results of the said Consultation, followed by Forest Sub-Sector Working Group (FSSWG) endorsement of VFWG on 23rd September 2014, the draft terms of reference is required to move the official establishment of VFWG forward.

Source: http://www.recoftc.org/project/asfcc/news-and-features/village-forestry-working-group-lao-pdr-new-beginning

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