Empowered local people are effectively and equitably engaged in the sustainable management of forested landscapes.
We can no longer afford to ignore the skills and experience of local people as effective forest managers as we fight to retain our forests. Ensuring that they receive fairer rewards and benefits from forest resources will also help lift millions of people out of the trap of rural poverty, promising a much brighter future for both people and forests.
Community forestry is now widely acknowledged as a powerful solution for many of the challenges facing local people and wider society in:
- Improving rural livelihoods
- Enhancing community governance and empowerment
- Transforming forest-related conflict
- Protecting and enhancing the environment
- Helping to fight climate change
Over the past 30 years, governments in the Asia-Pacific have increased their commitment to community forestry in ways such as in passing vital legislation and investing in long-term institutional development. Today, tens of millions of local people already manage more than 25 million hectares of forestland in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since the 1990s, the area of forestry under community or household management in our region has grown from a negligible amount to around a quarter of the region's forests. Working in close partnership with governments, nongovernment organizations (NGOs), and local communities, RECOFTC has been a strong catalyst for making this happen.
To enhance capacities for stronger rights, improved governance and fairer benefits for local people in sustainable forest landscapes in the Asia-Pacific region.
Our Guiding Principles
- Clear and strong rights are essential if local people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, are to actively engage in and benefit from forest management. RECOFTC works on strengthening local people's rights to access, use, and own forests through tenure, policy, and market reforms.
- Good governance is necessary for the development and implementation of "community friendly" national forest policies, programs, and regulatory frameworks. RECOFTC promotes the rule of law, transparency, accountability, and the meaningful participation of people in local decision-making processes. Local people must be empowered to make their own choices and have their voices heard.
- A fair share of benefits for local people from forestry is needed to help reduce poverty and motivate active participation in forest governance and management. RECOFTC aims to increase and diversify sustainable income generation opportunities from forest management, and to ensure that benefits are shared equitably.