A Symposium on Sustainable Forest Management in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) was held from 21-23 June, 2010 in Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China. Organized by the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet), the aim of the symposium was to exchange experiences on forest rehabilitation and sustainable forest management, identify priorities, and explore ways in which APFNet and countries of the GMS (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam and China) can enhance collaboration.
Twenty-two representatives from forest agencies of the six countries, the Mekong River Commission (MRC), The Nature Conservancy/Responsible Aisa Forestry and Trade(TNC/RAFT), Southwest Forestry University (SFU) and APFNet attended the symposium.
Mr. QU Guilin, Director General of the APFNet Secretariat addressed the symposium, highlighting the importance of sustainable forest management to the social, economic and environmental development of the sub-region, explaining the purpose of the symposium, and expressing APFNet’s desire to cooperate with GMS countries to promote sustainable forest management.
The six countries presented their national forest policies and strategic plans for forest rehabilitation and sustainable forest management, in addition to describing the main challenges and priorities associated with these activities. Experts from MRC and SFU provided information on integrated watershed management and biodiversity conservation in the Mekong river basin.
Mr. David Cassells, senior policy advisor of APFNet, facilitated discussions which identified the following key challenges in the region: capacity building at all levels, policy making with multi-stakeholders participation, land use planning and alternative livelihoods for local communities.
Participants proposed a series of priority activities at both national and regional levels for cooperation with APFNet and, through exchanges and discussion, the meeting strengthened forestry cooperation among GMS countries.