As ASFCC’s supporting Partner for its flexible funding mechanism called ASEAN Social Forestry Network Strategic Response Fund (ASRF), SEARCA participated in the ASFCC Phase II Planning Mission from 7 to 12 November 2014 held in Jakarta, Indonesia. The activity aimed to develop synergy among the partner-organizations and the ASFN Secretariat in their capacity building, research, and knowledge sharing and communication activities.
The ASRF Regional Program Coordinator Ms. Amy Lecciones and Project Associate Ms. Mary Ann Batas represented SEARCA in this event. Likewise present were the five ASFCC Implementing Partners, ASFCC Regional Advisor, Dr. Doris Capistrano, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)-ASFCC Programme Advisor, Dr. Jürgen Blaser, and Financial Coordinator Mr. Sreeram Koottala.
Dr. Blaser shared upcoming international events and other significant policies on forestry at the global level that are relevant to the ASFCC and ASFN, such as the International Arrangement on Forests (IAF), World Forestry Forum (WFF), and the World Forestry Congress in Durban in September 2015. Dr. Doris Capistrano emphasized that ASFCC-II Partners need to highlight the connection of their respective “Key Achievements of Phase-I” and “Planned Activities for 2015” with the ASEAN Roadmaps, Policy Framework, and the ASFN Adopted Strategies.
The Partners presented their respective accomplishments based on the Log Frame of the ASFCC and their organizational plans for 2015. Two were highlighted as flagship activities of the network: the 6th ASFN Conference and 9th ASFN Annual Meeting in June 2015, and Knowledge Exchange in preparation for the World Forestry Congress in September 2015.
Dr. Dian Sukmajaya, Senior Officer at the Agriculture Industries and Natural Resources Division (AINRD) of the ASEAN informed the ASFCC partners that the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC) is preparing a position paper for the UN Forestry Forum (UNFF). He emphasized that the exchange of knowledge and information across the ASEAN Member States will be very crucial, and that the role of ASFN in policy development will be equally important.
A debriefing session was conducted with the ASEAN Economic Community Department of ASEC where the group was received by Dr. Tan Dong Phuong, Director of the Finance, Industry and Infrastructure Directorate. The ASFCC implementing Partners gave brief presentations about their respective workplans. A discussion ensued on relevant issues and concerns. Among these were the challenges in the forestry sector of Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, and Vietnam; the impact of economic integration to communities and other sectors; and the role of the ASFCC/ASFN in the economic integration process.
The team also paid a courtesy call on the Ambassador of Switzerland to the Republic of Indonesia, Her Excellency Yvonne Baumann at the Embassy of Switzerland in Jakarta. Ambassador Bauman expressed her support to the ASFCC/ASFN and asked to be apprised of the Program’s progress, particularly on the coming ASFN Conference in June 2015 in Myanmar. (Mary Ann A. Batas)