To discuss the status and progress of the regional project, “Facilitating the Participatory Planning of Community-Based Forest Management Using Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing Technologies in Forest Resources Management in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand (AFoCo Regional CFM Planning Project),” representatives from the three ASEAN member states gathered for a meeting at the AG New World Manila Bay Hotel, Manila on October 24, 2017.
The second Project Coordination Committee (PCC) meeting highlighted the achievements of the countries involved in implementing the AFoCo Regional CFM Planning Project.
Already in its midterm of implementation, the five-year project intends to contribute to the improvement of the forest resources and their management, particularly in community settlement areas.
Forest Management Bureau (FMB) Director Nonito Tamayo recognized the efforts of the project implementers in achieving their feats despite the problems that they encountered in fulfilling the Project’s activities.
“I am impressed that the implementing countries have already achieved so much, though they are only on its third year of project implementation,” Tamayo said.
During the meeting proper, each implementing country elaborated the updates and status of the physical and financial progress of their in-country activities.
Ms. Donna Octavia, Project Manager of Indonesia, discussed their community and area profiling activities in preparation for the development of a 10-year community forest management (CFM) plan.
The results of their profiling showed the potential of their three pilot sites for the investment and development of non-timber forest products (NTFPs), including rattan, honey, coffee, and clove. Training on the processing and planting of these NTFPs were conducted as part of the livelihood and enterprise development activities.
Meanwhile, Dr. Surim Onprom, Project Manager of Thailand, reported similar activities on community profiling for the development of a CFM plan.
He also presented the status of procurement of seedlings and preparation of a nursery as part of their forest plantation establishment. These activities are geared toward the rehabilitation of community forests, biodiversity conservation, and creating buffer zones between community forests and agricultural areas.
Unlike Indonesia, Thailand will be rolling out enterprise development activities in 2018.
The Philippines has undertaken similar activities for the development of a CFM plan for its identified pilot sites.
Forester Rosalie Imperial, a member of the project’s technical working group (TWG) of the Philippines, recounted the orientation-cum-trainings on the CFM plan preparation.
Imperial shared that activities on plantation establishment had commenced. However, provision of livelihood/enterprise development opportunities to beneficiaries had been temporarily put on hold, while waiting for the procurement of a consultant who would take on this role.
Forester Norlito Sarmiento, Regional Project Manager and designated lead for the Philippines, concluded the 2nd PCC meeting with the consolidated physical and financial accomplishment of the project implementation. He noted that all activities under the in-country application of the enhanced procedures in CFM planning and implementation had been completed by all three implementing countries.
For the remaining years of the AFoCo Regional CFM Planning Project, implementing countries will focus on the CFM Plan Implementation as well as its Monitoring and Evaluation. Cross country visit will also take place to share best practices and lesson and experiences gained from implementing countries. (AFoCo Regional CFM Planning Project/ Paolo G. Balderia)