The main objective of ASRF is to enable the ASEAN Member States (AMS) Focal Points to quickly respond to emerging issues and challenges and articulate policy recommendations and directions on social forestry as it relates to climate change, food security, and poverty alleviation. The ASRF is one of the new initiatives of the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC) - Phase 2 in support of the ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN). It is currently funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) with some counterpart resources from SEARCA.
The ASRF Program Management Office under the Research and Development Department of SEARCA led the First Call for Proposals as well as the compliance and technical reviews. The final approval of the proposals was made by the ASRF PSC. The Committee which is composed of selected AMS representatives; SEARCA Director; ASFCC Regional Advisor; SDC representative; ASFN Secretariat; and ASEC representative, was created to provide more specific guidance and direction in the design and implementation of the ASRF. Dr. Doris Capistrano, ASFCC Regional Advisor chairs the ASRF PSC.
The ASEAN Member States (AMS) that responded to the Call include Cambodia, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Lao PDR. The proposals that were approved seek to enhance community-based watershed management through research, provide avenues for learning on Social Forestry, strengthen the Sub-National Community Forestry Program, and conduct case studies on community approaches on climate change adaptation.
The PSC also pushed for the refinement of the guidelines for the Call for Proposals to further coach future proponents on the type of projects that can be supported by the ASRF and on the essential contents of the proposals. While the PSC agreed to further elaborate on the guidelines, they also acknowledge the need to observe the principles of flexibility and adaptability as well as simplicity, cost-effectiveness, transparency and timeliness.
Some of the members joined the learning visit to the Los Baños Science Community on 15September 2014. (Mary Ann A. Batas)