RECOFTC launches new project to scale up community forestry in Myanmar

2 March 2015, Naypyidaw - A new project aimed at doubling the area of forest under community forestry to 85,000 ha was recently launched in Myanmar. The project, ‘Scaling Up Community Forestry in Myanmar’ (SuComFor), is supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Yangon, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and implemented by RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests.Naypyidaw,

“The project will demonstrate how community forestry can empower local communities, provide livelihood options, foster fair benefit sharing, act as a safety net for the impact of climate change and promote democratic principles at the grassroots level. Putting local people as the main partners and actors in decision-making will pave the way to sustainable forest management,” said Dr. Tint Lwin Thaung, RECOFTC Executive Director at the launch of the project.

The launch was held in Naypyidaw on 26-27 February 2015 and was organized by Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry (MOECAF) and RECOFTC. At the opening of the event, H.E. U Aye Myint Maung, Deputy Minister, MOECAF, emphasized that “to scale up and strengthen the development of community forestry (CF), CF units are being formed not only in the forest department headquarters, but also in every state to support the CF National Working Group (CFNWG).”

Fifty participants from the Forest Department (FD), Dry Zone Greening Department (DZGD), CFNWG, CSOs, academia and the private sector took part in the launch.

Out of 31 million ha of designated forest area in Myanmar, 2.8 per cent is officially allocated for community forest. To date, only 4.6 per cent of the targeted CF area has been established. While the Government of Myanmar acknowledges the need to involve local community in managing the forest, more collective efforts and ground work are required to achieve the target.

Under the MoU signed in January 2013 between RECOFTC and the Forest Department, under MOECAF, one of the main CF priorities in Myanmar is to expedite the progress of CF in Myanmar through piloting, demonstration and sharing. The objectives of the SuComFor project are: (i) supporting the capacity development of CF key stakeholders in Myanmar; (ii) piloting and demonstrating CF development and implementations in selected areas; (iii) collecting, analyzing and sharing relevant CF information through participatory process; and (iv) supporting the development of local and national CF policies and regulations and, ultimately, serving as basis for national CF program.

The project will be implemented from 2015-2017 in seven targeted areas: Pyapon (Ayeyarwady State), Pauk Kaung (Bago State), Kalaw (Shan State), Kanpetlet (Chin State), Myaing (Magwe State), Gwa (Rakhin State) and Yebyu (Tanintharyi State). RECOFTC will work together with the FD and other key partners to implement the project.