ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Forestry and Climate Change

The Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) has partnered with ASEAN and the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) through the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC). The twin objectives of the ASFCC programme are to (1) SF approaches developed and integrated into the climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies of ASEAN and the Member States; and (2) Socio-economic benefits derived from the inclusion of communities, women and vulnerable groups in SF and climate change adaptation and mitigation measures. The partnership also hopes to provide contribution to the Multisectoral Framework on Climate Change: Agriculture and Forestry towards Food Security and to the regional Plan of Action on Forestry Cooperation of ASEAN. NTFP-EP, RECOFTC, CIFOR, ICRAF, and SEARCA, alongside the AWG-SF Secretariat, were among the institutional partners that are closely working together under the programme.

Since 2011, NTFP-EP’s role has consistently focused on key priority areas such as facilitating meaningful civil society engagement at country, regional(ASEAN) levels, enterprise development, and policy advocacy and policy support on social forestry and climate change (CC) throughout the different programme phases. NTFP-EP has made significant impacts and accomplishments in coordinating social forestry policies, knowledge sharing, communication and networking on different levels have been developed, and experiences and lessons have been disseminated.

For the 1st and second phase, NTFP-EP focused its energy on capacity building initiatives, government-CSO multi-stakeholder processes, and research & knowledge sharing. NTFP-EP has enabled CSO participation at national and sub national policy development particularly in the formation of the national REDD+ strategy in the Philippines and the engagement of civil society and indigenous peoples (IP) inputs into the implementation of the REDD+ roadmap and governance structures in Cambodia. In Malaysia, livelihood development as a step wise approach to community involvement in forest management was initiated. These bear fruits and contributed to the following activities:

  1. Mainstreaming social forestry through national, state level community forestry bodies,
  2. Assessing and supporting community livelihood adaptation strategies in Malaysia (Sabah & Sarawak), Philippines, Cambodia, and Indonesia. Assessing impacts and presenting opportunities for Social forestry within the planned ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Integration in 2015
  3. Enhancing the effective engagement of the Civil Society Forum on Social Forestry in ASEAN (CSO Forum),
  4. Implementing a multi-stakeholder approach of the Philippine National REDD Plus Strategy (PNRPS).
  5. Facilitating exchanges on inclusive REDD+ process and other SF and CC related themes,

For its third phase under the ASFCC programme, NTFP-EP’s sustained its gains and achieved significant milestones among these are the platforms like the CSO Forum, EXCEED, and PARARA, which further highlighted the critical role of CSOs, indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities in social forestry and climate change.

A thriving CSO Forum on Social Forestry. The Civil Society Organizations Forum on Social Forestry in ASEAN has successfully provided a grounded perspective of social forestry and climate change governance models. From a CSO space in one of the early meetings of the AWG-SF, it grew and now are composed of 60 organizations from 8 countries in Southeast Asia whose common goal is to mainstream people-centered actions in thematic areas of social forestry and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Over the years, the CSO Forum made significant progress on four key thematic areas: Community Economy and Livelihood, Governance Mechanisms, Forest Tenure and Access Rights and Safeguards. Because of the collaborative, multi-sectoral engagements, the CSO Forum has been successful in elevating recommendations at the regional level, which have been adopted as official strategies of the AWG-SF.

EXCEEDing Expectations. Expanding Community Enterprise and Economic Development (EXCEED) is the training and advisory program of NTFP-EP. Since 2014, NTFP-EP was able to conduct 6 trainings that covered key aspects of establishing, managing, and sustaining community forest enterprises (CFEs). Through these trainings, effective and relevant support towards income generation, sustainable resource management and conservation have been provided to a diverse set of delegates from countries in Asia. One concrete example of EXCEED’s impact was in Lao PDR, where the training has helped increased honey production in parts of Laos as well as the establishment of the Lao Forest Honey Network.
Further, there were evidence of trainings “cascading”/ replication/use in ASEAN country. For example, in Myanmar, knowledge learned from the EXCEED CLAPS training by AMS participant have started to implement in their country

Shifting perspectives through PARARA. Panen Raya Nusantara (PARARA), the Great Harvest of the Archipelago, is the cheerful expansion of the Sustainable Livelihoods Initiative and Models in Indonesia. The festival has provided brand-development support and a space for marketing for over 100 community producer groups. The movement has inspired the Local Harvest initiative set to link over 3500 local producers to markets and retailers while building the capacity of farmers in sustainable production.