Regular Courses

AFoCO's Regular Courses aim to enhance knowledge and understanding of forest management and provide greater access to advanced technologies.

Regular Courses are usually organized over a period of 5 days, combining lectures, discussions, practical exercises, and field visits. Each course accommodates between 15-25 participants from forestry departments of member countries. Our Regular Courses are invitation-only courses for government officials who have been nominated by the designated focal officials for AFoCO-related matters in AFoCO member countries.

Course Information

AFoCO-ITTO Capacity Building Workshop on Forest Landscape Restoration in the Asia-Pacific Region (30 Aug. – 3 Sep. 2021)
DATE 30 August – 3 September 2021
NO. OF TRAINEES (COUNTRIES)72 trainees (15 countries)

Forest landscape restoration (FLR) is an inclusive and integrated landscape approach that can help reverse land degradation, increase carbon storage, conserve biodiversity, and create sustainable livelihoods for local communities, allowing them to play a critical role in shaping the landscape and gain significant benefits from restored forest resources.. Also, FLR helps regain ecological integrity and enhance human well-being across deforested or degraded forest landscapes, contributing to climate change mitigation and adaption in a broad sense.

Embarking the first year of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 in the Asia-Pacific region and across the world offers an opportunity to scale up restoration partnerships. In an effort to enhance its restoration initiatives at the national and sub-national levels, the AFoCO and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) jointly organized a virtual workshop on forest landscape restoration on with partners in the region. The workshop contributes to  capacity building in AFoCO and ITTO’s member countries in the Asia-Pacific region to undertake successful FLR interventions via adopting and implementing a new Guidelines for Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) in the Tropics. The FLR Guidelines that lay out six (6) key principles with thirty-two (32) guiding elements, provide a basis for policy decisions and a technical reference that can be adopted by practitioners. These new FLR guidelines are a joint effort of ITTO, members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), AFoCO, and other collaborating institutions. 

The workshop aimed to:

  • provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of six FLR principles and associated guiding elements in view of sustainable knowledge sharing on the basis of ITTO’s recent Guidelines on Forest Landscape Restoration in the Tropics; 
  • provide an interactive opportunity to brainstorm, discuss, share and develop future FLR project concepts amongst the participating countries; and
  • raise and analyze the challenges and issues in implementing FLR schemes and develop project concept notes based on their problem tree and stakeholder analysis, and logical framework analysis.

The workshop also studies national and local restoration cases and lessons, and the challenges and opportunities in the member countries. Ten (10) sessions were provided, consisting of 4 keynote presentations on the global discourses on forest restoration and rehabilitation, 6 lectures about the main pillars of FLR, wherein cases studied in Asia and the Pacific region were introduced with a focus on analytical views in project proposal development.

Payments for Ecosystem Services: how PES serves as a new financial instrument in UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030 (19-23 Jul. 2021)
DATE 19-23 July 2021
NO. OF TRAINEES (COUNTRIES)60 trainees (14 countries)

Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) is a type of market-based incentive system offered to farmers or landowners in exchange for managing their land to provide some ecological services for society or end-users. PES is considered and implemented as part of nature-based solutions under the Sendai Resilience Framework, contributing to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation with socio-economic benefits in an integrated manner. Under the “UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030” declared by the UN General Assembly in 2019, the value of the PES remains as a new financial instrument. At the 25th Session of the FAO Committee of Forestry in 2020, PES was emphasized as one of the innovative financing modalities for forest conservation, restoration, and sustainable use, to address deforestation. This call to action recognizes the need to speed up the restoration of degraded ecosystems in order to combat the global warming issue, improve food security, provide clean water, and conserve the planet’s biodiversity.  

As a successive opportunity from the 2014 AFoCO PES workshop “How PES serves Livelihood of Forest Community in the Southeast Asia Region,”  the course aims to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of PES for practical strategies in planning and encouraging projects/programs for PES in the forests and forestry sector. The training also fulfilled knowledge and shared experiences in exploring financial instruments to set the PES schemes in member countries.

The workshop aimed to:

  • provide the comprehensive understanding of PES for practical strategies in planning and  projects/programs;
  • explore risks and challenges for the progress of PES; and
  • find practical and sustainable solutions by sharing cases and experiences of the Asian region.

A total of eight (8) sessions were provided by the trainers and various experts from international organizations, universities, research institutes, and government agencies. In addition, four (4) PES practices of the member countries were introduced, which covered the current trends and cross-cutting practices reflecting general concepts and methodologies. 

Community-based Forest Enterprise Development (31 May – 4 Jun. 2021)
DATE 31 May – 4 June 2021
NO. OF TRAINEES (COUNTRIES)50 trainees (11 countries)

Despite the significant area that forests cover — approximately 4 billion hectares globally and 740 million hectares in the Asia-Pacific region — they are the last unexplored land to provide substantive incomes. Yet, with the belief that community forestry can be an asset for making people’s livelihoods more secure, developing community-based forest enterprises (CBFE) is recognized to help the local communities generate income and improve their social welfare through making community forestry products and services marketable and commercialized. Still, certain challenges in scaling up community forestry to make it economically viable and sustainable remain. Building up an entrepreneurial mindset at the local and community level is also another barrier.

In order to provide a platform to build up local communities’ capacities to address the difficulties, AFoCO RETC and The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) jointly organized the ‘Training of Trainers for Community-based Forest Enterprises’ inviting member countries in 2019. By studying good practices cases in the Asian region, trainees mobilized collective efforts to accumulate the regional data and information, by which they developed a module introducing practical methodologies and concepts to investigate enterprises in the forests and forestry sectors. Utilizing the module, the 2021 Community-based Forest Enterprises Development (CBFED) training course invited local entrepreneurs, project managers, governmental officials, and financial enablers to share experiences and explore practical CBFED implementations on the ground.

The course aimed to:

  • provide in-depth knowledge of the policies and practical strategies for planning and encouraging  CBFED in the forestry sector;
  • explore risks and enabling conditions for sustainable CBFED initiatives; and 
  • learn the practical and sustainable solutions by sharing practical cases and experiences of the Asian region

To achieve the objectives aforementioned, eight (8) sessions were provided by the trainers and various experts from international organizations, universities, research institutes, and government agencies. In addition, four (4) CBFED practices by various fields (e.g., biodiversity, group certification, carbon, local entrepreneurship, carbon, etc.) were introduced covering the current trends and cross-cutting practices reflecting general concepts and methodologies. 

At the end of the training, participants were able to apply the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) framework to identify community assets and conditions that help develop these assets for CBFED; use the value chain tool to assess potential forest products and services and identify interventions along the value chain for sustainable CBFED; explore risks and enabling conditions for sustainable CBFED initiatives in the CF context; and, develop an action plan to be acknowledged in future AFoCO projects and strategies.

Forest-based Climate Change Adaptation and Practices (3-7 May 2021)
DATE 3-7 May 2021
NO. OF TRAINEES (COUNTRIES)44 trainees (12 countries)

Climate change is a natural phenomenon that has significant and adverse impacts not only on the ecological system but also on the Earth and human beings. Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change, especially countries whose economies are heavily dependent on agriculture and natural resources. The more profound and unforeseen negative impacts include rising temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, prolonged dry weather and drought seasons, and frequent occurrences of natural disasters. To cope with the impacts of climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation are considered as the main policy responses to cope with the impacts of climate change. Mitigation consists of actions to limit the magnitude or rate of global warming and its related effects, particularly caused by human actions, while adaptation leads to anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate actions to prevent or minimize the damage they can cause or taking advantage of opportunities that may arise. 

Forests play a critical role in climate change adaptation and indirectly support economies via cost reduction. In the post -COVID-19 era where New Normal casts everywhere across all sectors, forests and forestry may also explore their future roles in FBCCA. In order for corresponding policymakers to respond to the global call by raising climate change awareness, the training course shared knowledge of FBCCA approaches, tools, and financing mechanisms covering the concept of urban forestry, biodiversity conservation, nature-based solutions, disaster risk management, community-based fire/water management, agroforestry, and ecosystem/landscape-based adaptation. The training also provides trainees with an opportunity to develop project concept notes in the context of Climate Change adaptation by utilizing their training outputs as baseline information.

With the aim to provide participants with in-depth knowledge of the policies and regulatory frameworks for developing and managing climate change adaptation strategies, the three key objectives of the training are to: 

  • enhance understanding of forest-based climate change adaptation in the context of sustainable development;
  • share practical cases and experiences of member countries; and, 
  • discuss challenges and opportunities and establish possible recommendations and concrete ideas reflecting the lessons learned.
Project Development & Project Proposal Writing (22-26 Mar. 2021)
DATE 22-26 March 2021
NO. OF TRAINEES (COUNTRIES)38 trainees (10 countries)

While AFoCO remains committed to undertaking action-oriented forest cooperation activities, the Secretariat has been initiating efforts to develop programs and projects with relevance to their five (5) Strategic Priority Areas. In this connection,  regional project, several ideas for regional projects were also presented at the 4th Session of the Assembly held in November 2020, with the aim of accomplishing AFoCO’s vision and mission through promoting equitable and inclusive regional cooperation in project implementation.

For the balanced development of priority areas, the need for more projects on climate change adaptation and mitigation has emerged, which is also linked to AFoCO’s application for an Accredited Entity of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Relatedly, the Secretariat is exploring channels to mobilize the GCF’s Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme (The Readiness Programme) as a delivery partner, hoping that it will, in turn, serve as important corroboration to the application and more projects will be within reach in the near future.

Despite the fact that well-structured project documentation and technically implementable plan are prerequisites to win investment, it still remains as a major constraint to member countries mainly due to their shortage of project professionals. Thus, capacity building is essential to make them equipped with relevant skills to diversify and increase project funding sources. In accordance with the approval of the Strategic Plan, Project Manual, and Guidelines, the course provides participants with AFoCO’s project materials to cultivate project formulation skills and gives the potential to identify promising regional projects or/and GCF Readiness Programme.

The course aims to foster an understanding of project development and enhance the capacities of AFoCO member countries in developing AFoCO projects and related undertakings. The training aims to:

  • provide information on the step-by-step project formulation processes of AFoCO and other potential donors;
  • improve the project proposal skills of member countries taking into consideration of AFoCO’s Strategic Priority Areas and the requirements laid out in the Project Manual; 
  • identify potential country-specific and regional projects to be implemented by AFoCO; and 
  • identify potential Readiness Programme projects for GCF.

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