More than 450 million people in Asia and the Pacific are dependent on forests for part of their livelihoods – for food, fuel, fodder and other forest products – as well as for environmental services such as water and microclimate regulation, biodiversity and cultural conservation. Despite many positive developments, these forests are still subject to wide-scale degradation and conversion, and are becoming fragmented within increasingly diverse and intensively used landscapes. This often creates negative impacts for local people, particularly the poor and excluded, as well as on national and global issues such as climate change.
Community forestry and related community-based forest landscape management has proven to be an effective approach for reducing forest loss and degradation and improving forest conservation and restoration. It is a powerful approach for improving the rights, governance and fairer access to benefits of local people and smallholders and consequently, their livelihoods and food security. There is increasing national policy support for this approach in many forested countries in the Asia and the Pacific region, and greater interest in more sustainable forest management by national entities and international agencies.
These conditions provide promising opportunities for RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests. RECOFTC has been the primary institution for promoting community forestry in Asia and the Pacific since its inception in 1987. By building the capacity of the various stakeholders – from communities to governments to non-governmental organizations and the private sector – RECOFTC has worked in partnership to improve the policies, institutions and practices of community forestry in the region.
To enhance capacities for stronger rights, improved governance and fairer benefits for local people in sustainable forested landscapes in the Asia and the Pacific region.
As assessed by an independent mid-term review of the Center’s work conducted in 2011, RECOFTC has been successful in fulfilling its mission and achieving positive results. The review commended RECOFTC as an organization uniquely endowed with the skills, credibility, knowledge and committed staff to continue to expand its impact. More recently, an independent stakeholder review conducted in 2013 confirmed that RECOFTC is deemed highly relevant, has a recognized niche, and is effective in contributing to the outcomes desired by national governments and development partners.
This strategic plan for 2013-2018 builds upon the gains of the previous phase and identifies clearer strategic outcomes that RECOFTC hopes to achieve through partnerships during the next five years. Emerging issues such as landscape approaches, food, water and energy security and rural out-migration, and their linkages to community forestry will be explored. RECOFTC will also strengthen its rights-based approach founded on the three underlying principles that strong and secure rights, good governance and fair benefits are the basis of sustainable forest management.
The Center’s thematic areas and functional approaches are outcome driven and focus on addressing key current issues to achieve measurable progress towards changes relating to these underlying principles:
These results will derive from achieving intermediate outcomes that are the result of work in four functional areas for each thematic area both regionally and in program countries:
During this strategic plan period, the Center will enhance the value of its approach by further fostering a learning culture and creating a learning environment within RECOFTC and with partners, and placing increased emphasis on addressing the cross-cutting issues of:
- social inclusion and gender sensitivity through a rights-based approach;
- community forestry leadership development;
- participatory monitoring and evaluation.
Parallel with its regional work, RECOFTC will increase its impact by consolidating and expanding its engagement with eight focal countries – Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Viet Nam – depending on stakeholder demand for RECOFTC’s services, the opportunities for innovation, learning and leverage, and the availability of human and financial resources to support work in the country concerned. RECOFTC will, of course, also continue to engage with other countries in the region and beyond where it can add value and play an important mutual learning role. To carry out this program, RECOFTC will continue to rely on a balanced and increasingly diversified development partner and donor base both for its core functions and for supporting projects. The Center will rely on highly qualified, experienced and dedicated staff organized to maximize the effective realization of its mission to develop community forestry partners’ capacities for stronger rights, improved governance and fairer benefits for local people from managing sustainable forested landscapes.
While implementing this strategic plan, RECOFTC will prepare to frame changing priorities in line with emerging global trends such as ASEAN’s integration by the end of 2015. Such trends also include the post- 2015 global development agenda in which The UN System Task Team calls for an integrated policy approach to ensure inclusive economic and social development, peace and security, and environmental sustainabilityto respond to the aspirations of all people for a world free of want and fear.
- For more on our approach, please see RECOFTC's Strategic Plan for 2013 - 2018.
- For more on the progress we have made with our Stragegic Plan, please see RECOFTC's Program Results Overview 2008-2011.