Vientiane, Lao PDR - On 29 May 2017, Voices for Mekong Forests (V4MF) project was officially launched by H.E. Leo Faber, the European Union (EU) Ambassador in Lao PDR. Co-funded by the EU, the 5-year project aims to improve forest governance in Mekong countries by strengthening civil society. More than 40 participants representing government departments, local international nongovernmental and civil society organizations and media attended the event organized by RECOFTC - the Center for People and Forests and with project partners WWF-Laos and Lao Biodiversity Association (LBA).
Launching the project was Leo Faber, "The EU understands that in countries where rural people rely on forests for their livelihoods, forest governance can positively or negatively impact them. However, it’s challenging to have villagers directly involved in central level meetings so, the EU and government recognise that Lao Civil Society Organisations have an important role in bringing the opinion of forest dependent communities into the VPA process”, he said in his opening remarks.
"We see great potential in this project, in effectively reaching out and ensuring the effective participation in the FLEGT-VPA process of civil society group forest-dependent communities and other key stakeholders” Mr Faber added.
The launch event was part of the national inception workshop series in five Mekong countries that follow the regional launch in Bangkok in April 2017. In the Lao context, this initiative intends to serve as an additional, contributing input to support the NSA involvement in the FLEGT-VPA process that the Government of Lao PDR is engaged in with the European Union. As part of the launch event, participants also took part in the inception workshop where RECOFTC and the main implementing partners in Lao PDR share project highlights and proposed workplans. They further discussed activities and roles of each national partner to be conducted at the project sites in the country.
Read more about the launch event from Vientiane Times article
More on V4MF project:
To learn more about the V4MF project
Read about the Lao inception workshop in Lao language