ASEAN-Swiss Partnership Programme celebrates gains in social forestry

  • By Carmen Nyhria G. Rogel
  • 21 February 2020

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Officials and representatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Bodies, the Embassy of Switzerland in Jakarta, ASEAN Member States (AMS) Leaders and Social Forestry Focal Points, development partners, academe and international research organizations, civil society organizations, and the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC) partner organizations will gather for the ASFCC Closing Event at the ASEAN Headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia on 25-26 February 2020.

The ASFCC, over 10 years of implementation which began in 2011, addressed the interlinked issues of food security, poverty, and climate change, particularly in forested landscapes in Southeast Asia, through cooperation and partnership activities with AMS. With support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the ASFCC has worked closely with the ASEAN Social Forestry Network, an intergovernmental platform for policy learning and knowledge exchange which became the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) in 2016. Complementing this focus on social forestry, ASFCC supported the development and implementation of the ASEAN Multisectoral Framework on Climate Change: Agriculture and Forestry towards Food Security (AFCC), a cross-sectoral policy platform for issues relating to climate change and food security.

ASFCC activities were implemented through its five partner organizations: Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP), The Center for People and Forests (RECFTC), and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). SEARCA managed the AWG-SF Strategic Response Fund (ASRF) meant to provide funds to AMS Leaders and Focal Points to enable them to respond to immediate needs or catalyze strategic action to address emerging issues, opportunities or other situations that may not have been anticipated but to which the AMS' response is critical. In over six years of implementation, ASRF supported 28 projects in eight AMS. It also provided six travel grants to AMS and partners to present papers in various fora.

The final event aims to celebrate achievements over 10 years of ASEAN-Swiss partnership through ASFCC and to formally close the program. It will showcase and disseminate ASFCC research results, outputs, and key messages, and encourage donors and development partners to build upon ASFCC's work. It intends to facilitate and help shape strategic agenda and priorities for ASEAN cooperation on food, agriculture and forestry and social forestry beyond 2020 and promote strengthened cross-sectoral approaches in ASEAN regional cooperation on climate change, food security, and sustainable development more generally.

The two-day event will include two parallel technical workshops during the first day and a moderated panel discussion and a high-level policy dialogue during the second day. An exhibit and knowledge fair will showcase ASFCC outputs and research results and feature products and services from NTFP-based community enterprises. A commemorative tree, a forest tree species native to Southeast Asia, will be planted at the ASEAN Secretariat campus before the final session on the second day.

SEARCA will be represented by Mr. Joselito G. Florendo, Deputy Director for Administration; and Dr. Pedcris M. Orencio, Program Head; Ms. Carmen Nyhria G. Rogel, Program Specialist, and Ms. Rochella B. Lapitan, Program Support Staff, all of the Research and Development Department; and Ms. Amy M. Lecciones, ASRF Regional Program Coordinator.