The APFNet Interim Steering Committee members
The Fourth Meeting of the APFNet Interim Steering Committee and the Fifth Annual Meeting of the APFNet Focal Points, co-organized by the Royal Forest Department of Thailand (RFD), were successfully concluded during 6-8 May 2014 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The two meetings have yielded substantive outcomes to advance APFNet’s institutional development and gathered insights on the strategic planning for the next five years.
From left to right: Co-chair (Ms Remedios Evangelista, the Philippines), Chair (Mr Suchat Kalyawongsa, Thailand), facilitator (Mr Philip Antweiler), ED of APFNet (Mr Qu Guilin)
Nine members of the Interim Steering Committee attended its fourth meeting, including Australia, P.R. China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, FAO/RAP, ITTO and TNC. Madam Yin Hong, Chair of the Interim Steering Committee, reviewed the achievements made by the Interim Steering Committee since its establishment in 2011 and extended the sincere gratitude to RFD for co-organizing the meeting. Mr Somchai Masatian, Deputy Director General of Royal Forest Department of Thailand, congratulated the meetings for being innovative and adaptive to advance international cooperation as a key instrument in rehabilitating forests of the world, and appreciated the initiative of APFNet in promoting international cooperation in forestry. Madame Yin Hong then entrusted Mr Su Chunyu, Director General of International Cooperation of the State Forestry of China, to chair the rest of the meeting on her behalf. During the meeting, facilitated by Mr. Philip Antweiler, the Interim Steering Committee reviewed APFNet’s work report 2013 and work plan for 2014, revised and approved the Terms of Reference for the Selection Committee of the Initial Board of APFNet, and agreed on an ideal size for the initial Board. The Interim Steering Committee then briefly reviewed the Draft Plan of Establishing the Council of APFNet and gave preliminary inputs on the document. At the end of the day, the Selection Committee, entrusted by the Interim Steering Committee, selected the candidates and developed the list of Initial Board members for the host economy for appointment. With consensus reached on the size of the Board and selection processes of Board members completed, the meeting has laid solid foundation for APFNet to develop its permanent governance structure.
The Focal Points family
Since the fourth gathering last June, the APFNet focal points reunited at the Fifth Annual Meeting of the APFNet Focal Points on 7-8 May. The meeting gathered 42 participants from 17 economies and 7 organizations and staff from APFNet Kunming Training Center as observer. Chaired by Mr Suchat Kalyawongsa, Director of International Forestry Cooperation Office of the Royal Forest Department, co-organizer of the two meetings, and co-chaired by Ms Remedios Evangelista from Department of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines, the meeting listened to the report on the progress of APFNet in 2013 and reviewed APFNet’s work plan for 2014. To showcase APFNet’s effort in translating its mission on the ground, the outputs of three APFNet funded projects were introduced at the meeting and aroused great interest among the participants. The APFNet secretariat then introduced preliminary thoughts and arrangement on the next Strategic Plan of 2016-2020 to solicit the initial advice on the thematic priorities and formulation from the focal points. The meeting suggested that the secretariat work on a comprehensive review of the first Strategic Plan 2011-2015 and conduct a consultation process to gather more helpful advice. At last, the focal points reviewed the draft plan for establishing the Council of APFNet and reached a consensus in principle on the establishment of the Council as a policy advisory body of APFNet.
Participants in the teak plantation forest
On 8 May, a field trip was organized for the meeting participants to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center and the Teak Plantation managed by the Forest Industry Organization (FIO) of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand in Lampang province. Participants were interested to find out the elephant conservation and research in Thailand and appreciated the Center’s effort in cultivating a harmonious relation between elephants and human. The management of the teak plantation, introduced by the FIO director, is a prime example of sustainable forest management to provide livelihood opportunities to the local community and conserve the ecosystem.
At the end of the field trip, participants all expressed appreciation for the RFD’s effort in good organization of the two meetings.
Elephant taming at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center