SEARCA hosts Regional Learning Exchange on the impacts of social forestry in the ASEAN

  • By Xyrus Godfrey B. Capiña
  • 5 September 2019

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) in cooperation with The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) and the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) Secretariat will host the Regional Learning Exchange: Impacts of Social Forestry in ASEAN back-to-back with the AWG-SF Strategic Response Fund (ASRF) Knowledge Sharing Workshop to be held at the Kalahan Educational Foundation, Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya and in Makati City, Philippines on 8-13 September 2019.

Over the past decades, Social Forestry has made significant strides in Southeast Asia and has become an important feature of forest management in the region. Since 2011, the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry (ASFCC) program has been supporting the AWG-SF in addressing three inter-related issues confronting the region – food insecurity, poverty, and climate change. SEARCA, as an implementing partner of ASFCC, manages the AWG-SF Strategic Response Fund (ASRF), a flexible funding mechanism that aims to enable AMS Leaders and Focal Points on Social Forestry to quickly respond to emerging issues and challenges and articulate policy recommendations and directions on social forestry.

ASFCC ends in 2020, after nine years of implementation. At present, eight of the ten ASEAN Member States (AMS) have developed official social forestry or community-based forest management programmes, each with its own specific terminology, definition and objectives. However, Social Forestry has some way to go to meet its potential.

The Regional Learning Exchange workshop for high-level officials is designed to reflect on the key factors such rights and tenure, governance, and local livelihoods that could influence the success of social forestry in meeting national forestry targets and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event will provide an opportunity for AMS Leaders and Focal Points on Social Forestry to create a vision on how social forestry could support the achievement of SDGs and the Strategic Plan for ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (FAF) 2016-2025. Participants will identify specific key interventions for the Plan of Action (PoA) for the ASEAN Cooperation in Social Forestry beyond 2020.

The workshop will be attended by AMS Leaders and Focal Points on Social Forestry from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam; ASRF ProjectGrantees; representatives of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Non-timber Forest Products-Exchange Program (NTFP-EP), RECOFTC, ASEAN Secretariat, AWG-SF Secretariat, and SEARCA.