Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme

From Planning to Action: Civil Society Organizations Forum on Social Forestry in ASEAN targets capacity building and formulation of regional advocacy and communications strategy on its 6th Annual Meeting

June 9, 2017

CHIANG MAI, Thailand – This year, the CSO Forum on Social Forestry in ASEAN will focus its energy on strengthening its capacity as a regional body to effectively communicate and engage with the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWGSF), and other key actors in ASEAN on forestry. Taking off from the common vision, goals, strategies and targets, jointly developed by participating organizations from the previous CSO Forum meeting in 2016 hosted by the Philippines.
CSO Forum 2017

Already on its 6th annual meeting, the theme for this year’s CSO Forum is “From Planning to Concrete Action: CSO Forum Advancing Social Forestry in ASEAN,” which will be held on 9-10 June 2017, at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand.


The CSO Forum on Social Forestry in ASEAN

Started in 2011 through the NGO Open Space at the 2nd ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN) Annual Conference on Social Forestry and 5th ASFN Annual Meeting held in Brunei, the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Forum Social Forestry in ASEAN was formalized in 2012 and garnered its pertinent role of being the platform and avenue of local communities, indigenous peoples’ organizations, and civil society organizations to distill, consolidate and elevate its important messages to the members of the ASEAN states through the ASFN now the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWGSF).

The Forum seeks to provide effective information, facilitate capacity and provide technical support on forest concerns in income generation to forest access and tenure, traditional ecological knowledge systems, and climate change themes such as REDD+. At present, the forum is comprised of over 40 local communities, civil society organizations, network and membership organizations and indigenous peoples’ organizations and networks actively working in the ASEAN region on forestry issues. 

CSO Forum 2017
CSO Forum participants with Ms. Wilawan Wichiennopparat, AWG-SF Focal Point for Thailand

Objectives of the 6th CSO Forum

In general, the objective of the 6th CSO Forum on Social Forestry in ASEAN is to continue being a platform to discuss, distill, consolidate, and elevate messages and learnings of CSOs, IPOs, POs, and smallholders on Social Forestry, Climate Change and related topics and develop concrete recommendations to be endorsed to the AWGSF. In detail, the Forum aims to:

  • Craft more sharply the advocacy agenda of the CSO Forum and push this into concrete action;
  • Strengthen the capacity of the CSO Forum as a regional body to more effectively communicate and engage the AWGSF, and other key actors in ASEAN on forestry; and
  • Develop and elevate key messages and recommendations to put forward and deliver to the AWG-SF Conference and Meeting for adoption and consideration.

An estimated 70 CSO, NGO, IPOs and POs country-based representatives and CSO Forum participating organizations coming from the 8 ASEAN countries are expected to attend the this 2-day meeting, structured with a mix of plenary and capacity building sessions on policy research, communications, and Knowledge Sharing of countries in ASEAN on Context, Experience, and Challenges on Community Rights to Forests and Improving Forest based Livelihoods, among others. Another highlight of this year’s meeting is the dialogue between the representatives from the Royal Forestry Department of Thailand and the Thailand IPOs, CSOs and participating organizations. The Forum participants will also formulate key messages, recommendations, and nominate a presenter for the AWGSF Conference 2017 to represent the Forum and formally present the statement on behalf of the participating organizations. They will be joined by their respective country coordinator and thematic leads of the Forum.


CSO Forum 2017Thailand CSOs – Royal Forestry Department dialogue


Expected Outputs

The Forum hopes to have participating organizations that are updated on the latest activities and highlights at the country level, regional thematic action plans that presented milestones and achievements, challenges in implementing its plans, and future activities. Furthermore, the capacity building and knowledge exchange sessions aims to have participants with increased and enhanced knowledge of participating organizations on country specific cases, experiences, and challenges on social forestry, ensuring community rights to forests and improving forest based livelihoods, engaging regional actors, communications and policy research, among others. Finally, the CSO Forum regional thematic working groups at the end of the meeting will soon have a developed 3-year advocacy strategy and communications plan to implement their CSO Forum regional activities and targets.

There will also be a Forum statement that will encapsulate the recommendations and call to action to be endorsed and reported to the AWG-SF, and can also be elevated to the ASOF, SOM-AMAF, and other ASEAN working groups and bodies, even during the AWG-SF Conference 2017.

The 6th CSO Forum on Social Forestry in ASEAN meeting is being organized by the Non-Timber Forest Products-Exchange Programme Asia, the convenor of the Forum, in partnership with the CSO Forum on Social Forestry Regional and Thematic Working Groups with support from the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) through the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC) program. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Indigenous Peoples’ Foundation for Education and the Environment (IPF), Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT) and the Indigenous Women’s Network of Thailand (IWNT) are the hosts of the CSO Forum.

For more information, you may refer to the detailed concept note and agenda of the Forum.