A number of partnerships, projects and research with regard to forests in Asia and the Pacific have focused on stakeholder engagement, data collection and monitoring, and the sustainable management of forest resources in various countries in the region.
31 March 2015: A number of partnerships, projects and research with regard to forests in Asia and the Pacific have focused on stakeholder engagement, data collection and monitoring, and the sustainable management of forest resources in various countries in the region.
At the regional level, a new report and series of policy briefs on mainstreaming gender into forest policies was released. Focusing on case studies from developing country members of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC), the publications from the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), identify a number of challenges including: cultural norms and perceptions of gender roles in forestry, lack of gender disaggregated data, limited gender expertise within the forest sector and insufficient engagement of women in forest decision-making.
Also based on cases from the region, the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) developed guidance on REDD+ benefit-sharing mechanisms given experiences in Nepal and Indonesia. The study examines community forestry projects identifying rights-allocation based mechanisms as well as payment-based incentives citing the former as more sustainable than the latter. Overall the guidance associates successful benefit-sharing with clear and secure land tenure and use rights, weighting projects that benefit the poor, women and other marginalized groups, adequate consideration of opportunity costs and compensation for transaction costs.
With regard to national efforts, in Thailand, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) released a series of technical reports from its projects on forest conservation and forest monitoring and evaluation. Two reports cover wildlife management in the Emerald Triangle protected forest complex where 16 endangered and critically endangered species can be found. An additional report provides guidance on carrying out inventories of trees outside forests.
Also related to forest monitoring, the Kyrgyz Republic and FAO are partnering to fill information gaps in the national forest inventory, which currently only covers 60% of government administered forests. The partnership includes training for government staff on forest monitoring and assessments, revision of forest legislation based on updated data, and the establishment of a long-term natural resource monitoring system.
Other recently launched projects in the region include an ITTO partnership with the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet) in support of community-based efforts to restore degraded watersheds in Malaysia. The project, valued at over US$500,000 will support sustainable forest management through the development of community forest management plans, demonstrations of sustainable management techniques and the provision of alternative livelihood options.
Furthermore, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) announced continuing progress in the implementation of its small grants program (SGP) in Timor-Leste. It consists of a series of projects with a combined budget of US$1.1 million. The projects include grants to 27 organizations for forest conservation and restoration, the reduction of land degradation and increases in agricultural sustainability
Coming to a close is a pilot project on the use of information technology for forest governance. The project, implemented by the World Bank, through the Program on Forests (PROFOR) provides capacity building to improve data and information sharing within government agencies and introduces new technologies for the use of remote data and information collected on mobile devices. The pilot project was implemented in the Republic of Moldova.
[Publication: Mainstreaming Gender into Forest Policies in Asia and the Pacific] [Publication: CIFOR Infobrief No. 112 – Thinking about REDD+ benefit sharing mechanism] [Publication: Wildlife Resources in the Emerald Triangle Protected Forest Complex between Thailand and Lao PDR] [Publication: Land Use Change and Wildlife Distribution Modeling in the Emerald Triangle Forest Complex] [Publication: Guidebook on Inventory and Monitoring of Tree Resources Outside Forest in Thailand] [Publication: Information and Communication Technology for Forest Law Enforcement and Governance] [FAO Press Release] [GEF Press Release] [ITTO Press Release] [PROFOR Press Release]