Celebrating 30 years of community forestry
2017 marks RECOFTC's 30th anniversary. Over the past three decades, RECOFTC and our partners have worked together to secure community forestry in Asia, resulting in more community forests, effective people-centered land policies, poverty reduction, and healthier forests.
In the 1970s, forests in Asia were rapidly disappearing, and along with it the livelihoods of millions local people. Internationally, there was growing recognition that government-controlled forestry wasn't effective in many countries. Community forestry provided a solution, and began to spread to a growing number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region. However, it became clear that a lack of technical knowledge, skills, and effective approaches were hindering policy-making and implementation of community forests.
In Thailand, Dr. Somsak Sukwong, Kasetsart University, Faculty of Forestry, recognized this and began to develop a community forestry curriculum which received support from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The project grew and on 27 March 1987, RECOFTC (Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific) was established in Bangkok, Thailand. Support came from FAO, the Government of Switzerland (through the Asian Development Bank), and Thailand's Kasetsart University.
RECOFTC initially operated as a Thai national institute to provide training on community forestry to regional forestry practitioners. It has since evolved into an international organization with seven country offices and eight focal countries where it works actively with governments and civil society organizations to improve the lives of forest-dependent people through climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainable livelihoods, and preventing and transforming conflict over forestland use. Capacity development, training, and learning events remain central to RECOFTC’s work, together with on-the-ground projects, critical issue analysis, and strategic communication. At present, RECOFTC is managing numerous regional and national projects in countries in Asia and beyond.
- More than 100 legislative instruments have been enacted as a result of support from RECOFTC, resulting in improved forest tenure and livelihood security of local people
- The establishment of national-level Community Forestry Working Groups in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar, and the regional ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN)
- Networks of local-level community forestry groups established in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand, and Viet Nam
- More than 5.3 million families are participating in CF in the region
- Over 38,000 community forestry user groups have been established in focal countries
- There are now approximately 15 million ha of forest land under community/smallholder management in the region
- Learn more about RECOFTC's impacts through this infographic highlighting our overarching achievements.
As a result of solid achievements, strong demand for community forestry support from governments and CSOs and donor support for regional and country programs continue to grow in the region. RECOFTC is proud of its reputation as the leading organization for building community forestry capacity in many ASEAN countries. We have much to celebrate and much to look forward to, including ensuring that continued successful community forests contributes toward achieving multiple sustainable development goals (SDGs). We look forward to the next 30 years of empowering local people and building a fairer future for all.
Watch a brief video timeline of RECOFTC's history since 1987, and learn how RECOFTC and our partners have contributed to more community forests, improved people-centered land policies, poverty reduction, and healthier forests in Asia over the past 30 years.
Events and activities
In celebration of our 30th Anniversary in 2017, RECOFTC is holding events around the region throghout the year. These include:
- A panel discussion on the Roles of People in Forest Governance, Yangon, 26 March 2017, for more information, see https://www.facebook.com/recoftc/posts/10154202942616695)
- Welcome event for RECOFTC's new Executive Director, Bangkok, Thailand, 29 March 2017, for more information, see https://www.facebook.com/recoftc/posts/10154210471986695 and https://www.flickr.com/photos/149704738@N03/sets/72157679449380824/
- Workshop On Tenure Right Of Community And Household In The Revised Forest Protection And Development Law, Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 20 April 2017, for more information see: https://www.facebook.com/recoftc/posts/10154285906721695 and https://www.facebook.com/recoftc/posts/10154285838836695
- Village Forestry Working Group Workshop, Vientiane, Lao PDR, 17 May 2017, for more information, see https://www.facebook.com/recoftc/posts/10154342937581695
- 30th Anniversary Buddhist merit-making ceremony, Bangkok, Thailand, 29 May 2017, for more information, see https://www.facebook.com/recoftc/posts/10154370853246695
- 30th Anniversary celebration @ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) annual regional conference, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 11 June 2017 , for more information, see: https://www.recoftc.org/press-releases/recoftc-and-partners-celebrate-30...
- 30th Anniversary celebration @Parara festival in Jakarta, Indonesia on 14-15 October 2017, to see how we celebrate: https://www.facebook.com/pg/RECOFTCIndonesia/photos/?tab=album&album_id=855442784632095
- Joint Networking Event with APFCN in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 23 October 2017: https://www.facebook.com/recoftc/posts/10154760157086695
- 30th Anniversary celebration in Nepal with RECOFTC's partners on 23 January 2018: https://www.facebook.com/pg/RECOFTCNepal/photos/?tab=album&album_id=55676559467039
- Final 30th Anniversary hosted by the Swiss Ambassador to Thailand, Bangkok on 19 March 2018: https://www.facebook.com/recoftc/posts/10155094791771695