With a large population dependent on forests for livelihoods and welfare, community forestry (CF) plays a significant role in Asia and quite a number of organizations at national and lower levels are active in promoting the CF process. To derive possible regional strategies for strengthening community based networks and federations in Asia, a regional workshop, co-organized by GACF and RECOFTC, was held in Bangkok, Thailand during March 25-29, 2010, bringing 31 participants from 11 countries. The APFNet was invited to attend the workshop.
The workshop consists of a field trip to 2 forestry communities in north Thailand and a 2-day dialogue session, where CF status and constrains in the perspective of Asia as well as country reports were presented. Based on regional and national progress and challenges, participants discussed how to move forward to support and strengthen existing regional network through providing policy recommendations and enhancing linkages among countries in terms of sharing information and good practices. The outcomes of the workshop include:
an update of GACF Asia Declaration signed in 2008;
the establishment of an Ad Hoc committee to support GACF; and
1-2 CF activities to be proposed by each country to promote regional CF.
During the workshop, a meeting was held between APFNet representatives and Dr. Yam Malla, executive director of RECOFTC on future cooperation. Progress of the APFNet activities, capacity building programs in particular was introduced and the ways and fields APFNet could collaborate with RECOFTC were discussed. An initial consensus was reached to strengthen cooperation through signing a MoU as soon as possible.
The APFNet representative also met Mr. Ghan Pandey, GACF chairperson to explore the possibility of cooperation between the APFNet and GACF in terms of regional CF.