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Southeast Asia

Ms. Mai Thin Yu Mon, AIPP Executive Council Youth Representative and Programme Country Director of Chin Human Rights Organization reads the CSO Statement.

Background

The CSO Forum on Social Forestry in ASEAN was established in 2012, and is participated in by civil society organizations and community based organizations, indigenous peoples’ networks and membership organizations who are present in ASEAN and are implementing capacity building, awareness raising, and technical support programs on forest and NTFP livelihood and marketing, forest tenure and access rights, and traditional and indigenous knowledge systems on natural resources, and a few projects in REDD+. It is a platform to distil, consolidate and relay key messages from CSOs and communities to ASEAN member states through the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWGSF).

This year’s 6th Annual Gathering of the CSO Forum  on Social Forestry in ASEAN, was participated by over 60 participants from 40 organizations, from more than 8 countries. Following the development of our CSO Forum vision last year at the 10th Annual Meeting and Policy Dialogue in Palawan, Philippines, and the setting of our goals and targets up to 2020 to contribute to the ASEAN cooperation on forestry, we are pleased to share our update with you.

Social forestry provides significant contribution to global targets for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and is one of  the already proven mechanisms to achieve sustainable forest management. Indigenous peoples and local communities are already leading several restoration initiatives in forested landscapes. RECOFTC’s report on the status of social forestry in ASEAN noted that approximately 10M hectares has been allocated as of 2016 which is around 50% of the ASEAN countries’ social forestry target as of that year.

The target for other countries like Indonesia has since been increased which we see as a sign of an expanding commitment to social forestry. The increased target affirms trust in indigenous and local communities as vital stewards of ASEAN forests. We hope that other ASEAN countries may follow suit.

The engagement with the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACCMSME) is ongoing with several marketing events to support community forest enterprises in the region. Relationship between CSOs and ASEAN member states made possible through the facilitation of the ASEAN Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC) has indeed improved and is making vital contribution.

Read more: Statement of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Forum on Social Forestry in ASEAN during the 7th...

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Climate change could damage the fragile zones, causing major carbon emissions.

Researchers have found one of the last undisturbed tropical peat forests, in the nation of Brunei on the island of Borneo.  Photo: Courtesy of the researchers

The researchers were able to see how peatlands function under normal conditions, to provide a baseline for better understanding as the lands change.

Tropical peat swamp forests, which once occupied large swaths of Southeast Asia and other areas, provided a significant “sink” that helped remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But such forests have been disappearing fast due to clear-cutting and drainage projects making way for plantations. Now, research shows peatlands face another threat, as climate change alters rainfall patterns, potentially destroying even forested peatlands that remain undrained.

Read more: Peatlands, already dwindling, could face further losses

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The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement last week was regarded as a step backward for Alaska.

Lione Clare presenting her photo story to fellow Sitkans. (Photo by Cameron Clark/KCAW)Following the president’s decision, Gov. Bill Walker announced that “Alaskans know our landscape is changing at an accelerating pace. We are experiencing social and economic upheaval caused by shrinking sea ice, rising sea level, increasing intensity of storms, and increasing coastal erosion.” And it’s not just Alaska. A college student from Sitka is exploring how climate change is affecting Southeast Asia too.

Read more: Sitkan focuses lens on climate change in Southeast Asia

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