INCHEON, South Korea – The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), which manages the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) Strategic Response Fund [ASRF], organized the session on Youth and Gender Inclusion in Forestry under Stream 2: People and Forests Living in Harmony in the Asia Pacific Forestry Week 2019 (APFW 2019) which was held in Incheon, South Korea on 17-21 June 2019. The APFW 2019 was jointly organized and hosted by the Korea Forest Service and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Dr. Pedcris M. Orencio, Program Head for Research and Development, gave the Welcome Remarks and Session Overview in which he emphasized that the experiences from countries in the Asia Pacific region show the transformative impacts of empowering men, women, youth and indigenous communities to manage forest and natural resources, resulting in substantial benefits such as capital formation and improvements in livelihood and food security.
Dr. Kalpana Giri, Focal Point, The Center for People and Forest (RECOFTC), presented "Forests, power and exclusion: What it takes to include women and youth in forest landscapes?" She highlighted that representation, resources and rights are the key entry-points for inclusion. Ms. Bharati Pathak and Mr. Suvas Devkotta, Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal (FECOFUN) and Dr. Ei Ei Swe Hlaing of Myanmar presented their country's experiences on the role of men and women in forest decision-making. Dr. Ei Ei, in particular, highlighted that women, both young and old, are empowered through the income, minimal as it is, that they get from NTFP and are able to contribute to household expenses.
Ms. Oindrila Basu, IFSA Representative, presented 'Youth Inclusion in Decision Making for Sustainable Forest Management.' Ms. Basu underscored that youth inclusion in decision making not only recognizes and encourages their voice and action but also instills in them a sense of responsibility to the cause of the planet and accountability towards the decisions taken.
The Session on Youth and Gender Inclusion in Forestry brought together voices of youth and women champions who have led the way to meaningful participation towards sustainable forest management (SFM). It aimed to identify gaps and interventions towards streamlining youth and women's participation in forestry decision-making and their implications for SFM.
The session was facilitated by Ms. Carmen Nyhria G. Rogel, Program Specialist, while Mr. Xyrus Godfrey B. Capiña, ASRF Project Associate, served as rapporteur.