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IUFRO The Advocate for Forest Science.
RECOFTC's vision is to ensure that local communities and indigenous peoples in the Asia-Pacific region are actively engaged in the equitable and ecologically sustainable management of forest landscapes.
Our mission is to enhance capacities at all levels to enable local people to manage Asia-Pacific's forest resources for optimum social, economic and environmental benefits.
RECOFTC holds a unique and important place in the world of forestry as the only international organization in Asia-Pacific specializing in capacity building for community forestry and devolved forest management. RECOFTC engages in strategic networks and effective partnerships with governments, international and UN agencies, non-government organizations, research and educational institutes, civil society, the private sector and local people in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. With over 25 years of international experience and a dynamic approach to capacity building for both policy and practice – involving research and analysis, demonstration sites, training products, and effective communication – RECOFTC delivers innovative solutions for people and forests.
During the past two decades, RECOFTC has trained over 20,000 people from more than 27 countries in community forestry, including national policy makers, researchers and practitioners, and local forest users. Training, based on research, is central to all of RECOFTC's work, and is complemented by on-the-ground projects, critical issue analyses, and strategic communication.
RECOFTC is consistently guided by the following principles to facilitate the improvement of the lives of millions of forest-dependent people in the region.
Clear and strong rights: Based on MoUs with Governments in five of its six focal countries and its international partnerships such as with the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), RECOFTC has successfully helped communities secure tenure rights or rights to use forest resources. In Cambodia, with the help of the government and non-government partners, nearly 200,000 hectares of community forests are in the hands of 60,000 families in 450 villages through active support to the country's National Community Forestry Program.
Good governance: Through its regional learning networks on conflict and REDD+, its policy work and a strong suite of training courses, RECOFTC has been building capacity for good governance at all levels. In Vietnam, RECOFTC is the national coordinator for the Forest Governance Learning Group (FGLG) promoting the rule of law, transparency, and the meaningful participation of people in local decision-making processes. In Thailand, we have been working with the government to train more than 100 communities in 19 districts to sustainably manage their community forests.
A fair share of benefits: To help reduce poverty by increasing and diversifying sustainable income generation opportunities from forest management, RECOFTC has been piloting a number of livelihood projects. In Laos, for instance, a government-supported initiative aims to help farmers use their teak trees as collateral while connecting local people to markets. In Indonesia, RECOFTC supported the creation of the country's first village forest and studies shows income from coffee sales have risen 50% subsequently.
RECOFTC’s FOUR THEMATIC AREAS help realize community forestry’s potential:
Expanding community forestry: Through our frontline country programs, RECOFTC's works in securing rights for forest-dependent communities has been reflected in a number of international and national studies, national forestry networks, conferences and advocacy events. In the 25 years it has been pursuing this goal, the number of hectares of forestland being managed by communities has grown in almost all ASEAN countries. RECOFTC is now in the process of signing an MoU with the government of Myanmar where its capacity building work for community forestry involves both civil society and government agencies.
People, forests, and climate change: In the Asia-Pacific, with its wealth of endangered tropical forests, the involvement of local people in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts is key. Through its multi-country Grassroots Capacity Building project for REDD+, for instance, RECOFTC has reached out to more than 12,000 local stakeholders to ensure clear understanding and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) for REDD+. A number of pilots on carbon accounting and livelihood adaptation have provided encouraging results.
Securing local livelihoods: As mentioned earlier, RECOFTC pioneers innovative livelihoods programs seeking to realize the full potential of their forest-related resources. Be it training local people to engage meaningfully in emerging opportunities, such as Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), carbon markets, certification schemes, and non-timber enterprises. Its youth–focused Young Seedlings program in Thailand has spawned more than a dozen conservation and livelihood pilots while its support for women’s groups in community forestry in Northern Thailand has resulted in national role for some women committee members.
Transforming forest conflict: Marginalized communities, powerful commercial plantation developers, corruption, unclear land tenure laws – in Indonesia alone some 20 million people are affected by conflict. Through its research and training program, RECOFTC has been working to build capacity for conflict management, mediation, and research at all levels. Our alumni have been actively engaged with the private sector as well as government agencies to resolve contentious issues in a way that does no harm to communities. RECOFTC's support of the Conflict Learning Network become an important regional platform and resource for ASEAN countries, particularly in the context of challenges like those afflicting refugees on the Thai –Burma border.
WHERE WE WORK
The organization's geographical coverage encompasses all countries in the Asia-Pacific region, but prioritizes six focal countries: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam. RECOFTC has its headquarters in Bangkok (Thailand) and country program offices in Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Bogor (Indonesia), and Hanoi (Vietnam).
WHY MEMBERSHIP IN IUFRO IS IMPORTANT TO RECOFTC
RECOFTC is in its final year of a five-year strategic plan and as we move forward, we believe that membership of IUFRO will help us improve our capacity building efforts through the various research-focused platforms of IUFRO, such as GFIS.
RECOFTC's publications, including its monthly electronic roundup of the latest regional community forestry news, events, and analyses are freely available from the RECOFTC website, http://www.recoftc.org. Open to all, the Community Forestry Resource Center in Bangkok houses more than 7,000 publications and other digital resources.
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