The 7th AWG-SF Conference and the 11th AWG-SF Meeting

Chiang Mai, Thailand, 12-16 June 2017


The 7th AWG-SF Conference was organized by the AWG-SF Secretariat in collaboration with ASFCC supporting partners (CIFOR, NTFP-EP, RECOFTC, ICRAF, and SEARCA). It was hosted by the Royal Forest Department (RFD) of Thailand. This year conference theme was ‘Social Forestry in Forest Landscape Restoration: Enabling Partnership and Investments for Sustainable Development Goals’. The conference was attended by more than 200 participants from ASEAN countries including representatives from government, civil society organizations, development partners, private sector and academic/research institutions. (Read more:

CIFOR presented in a plenary session and organized two panel sessions:

Plenary Session 2: Setting the context for FLR in achieving the SDGs and the role of SF. 

Dr Habtemariam Kassa from CIFOR shared lessons, progress and gaps in engaging communities in landscape restoration in Africa with a focus on Ethiopia. Some highlights from the presentation include:

  • Landscape restoration initiatives need to be knowledge-based and measures need to be taken to make them sustainable.
  • Population pressure, less secure tenure and poorly defined responsibility and benefit-sharing arrangements, low level of participation/rushing, poor productivity and weak institutions undermine positive gains and sustainability of community engagement in forest management and landscape restoration.
  • Improving participation through negotiating often competing objectives of FLR and developing corresponding management plans to maximize economic and conservation gains is critically needed.

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Parallel session 1.3: Enabling Achievements of International Commitments

This session provides lessons from different global and regional initiatives to understand how they affected livelihoods, could lead to equitable local benefit sharing and how local people participated and reacted to such initiatives. There were five speakers presenting in the session:

  1. Social-environmental impacts of international forestry certification scheme (case study Malaysia); Daisuke Naito from Kyoto University.
  2. The regional fire and haze issue and how local communities deal with the fire ban (case study Indonesia); Moira Moeliono from CIFOR
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  3. Non-state actor in strengthening rights and improve government through FLEGT-VPA in Lower Mekong Countries (RECOFT-TC case study); Ms. Warangkana Rattanarat from RECOFT-TC Thailand Country Program Coordinator.
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  4. A REDD+ pilot project in Davao Oriental; Mrs. Dolores d. Valdesco from ENP, OIC ENRO, Davao Oriental
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  5. Implications of the ASEAN Economic Community for transboundary agricultural commodities, forests and smallholder farmers (case study Laos); Indah Waty Bong from CIFOR
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Parallel session 3.1. Research and Development

This session looks at the identified issues and gaps discussed during the conference and explore areas for actions in terms of research and development to support evidence-based policy making and implementation in social forestry and forest landscape restoration in Southeast Asia.

It was organized as a focus group discussion attended by participants from various backgrounds including government, private sector, academia, and NGOs. Some recommendations derived from the discussion are as follow:

  • Research need to have policy engagement. We need to allocate time to talk and coordinates with various policy making components. Research can involve representatives from government since the very beginning of the research, writing, and then publish together. This needs more time, but in long-term it can increase policy uptake.
  • Using hybrid approach in research. We can collect primary data, do literature review, and other practical lessons learned to develop a framework that works. We see benefits and identify challenges, then we can work with this or that partner to deal with this challenges.
  • To address structural issues in coordinating research activities within government research center, the recommendation is:
    1. decentralize decision making to local level. Many already hand over decision making process to the local level, but village government still needs capacity building to follow requirement form national.
    2. more flexibility to use the money and respond to community needs.
    3. highlight success stories, so others can see and be motivated.
  • To address issue in dissemination of research findings, researcher need to clear who are they audience(s) and community the findings in a simple language. There is also a need to create a sharing platform or use existing forum such this conference to facilitate knowledge and technology exchange cross countries.
  • Research need to be relevant. Make sure that research agenda reflects and included the interests of indigenous people and local communities for more meaningful implementation.