December 5-16, 2022 — AFoCO and the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) have joined hands to conduct the two-week training on ‘Developing Data Portals for Community Forest Data in ASEAN Member States’ in Bangkok, Thailand. The training welcomed invited mid- to high-level officials and technical staff involved in data management from five AFoCO member countries—Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The training is funded by Korea International Cooperation Agency’s (KOICA) Capacity Improvement & Advancement for Tomorrow (CIAT) Program.
AFoCO, RECOFTC, and KOICA are working together to develop capacities to establish a regional-level community database management portal for the ASEAN region. In line with this, the training course aims to achieve the following objectives:
- Improve the knowledge systems and potential for investment in community forestry initiatives across the ASEAN member states;
- Learn how to apply knowledge and tools that will support future investment in community forestry solutions that will contribute to climate change mitigation and long-term economic development in the forestry sector; and
- Enhance the quality and availability of community forestry data in decision-making to support community forestry programs and projects.
During the opening ceremony, Mr. Ricardo Calderon, Executive Director of AFoCO, and Dr. David Ganz, Executive Director of RECOFTC, delivered their welcome opening remarks. Both representatives expressed their excitement about holding a joint training course and look forward to developing more meaningful collaborations in community forestry in the future. Mr. Calderon emphasized the importance of community forests, which have grown exponentially and have become critical components of nature-based solutions. He also stated that it is critical to create the most reliable and well-organized digital data that is accessible and can be shared among ASEAN states and AFoCO member countries, as this can be a valuable tool for planners, investors, and decision-makers.
Dr. Ganz highlighted that indigenous peoples and local communities are important stakeholders in mobilizing global climate and conservation finance, as they can gain opportunities to resolve climate issues and gain resilience from the pandemic. He also stated that because the governments and local institutes of ASEAN states are prepared to support technical systems for community forests, spatial database knowledge will become a critical component for benefit-sharing among forest users.
RECOFTC officers Dr. Peter Cutter, Director of Program coordination and technical services, Mr. William Francis, Manager of digital development of knowledge management, and Mr. Ronnakorn Triraganon, Senior strategic advisor, are leading the training.
This training will lay the foundation for addressing future community forestry-related issues and concerns at the regional level. Based on the outputs from the training, AFoCO will pursue its stepwise approach of expansion towards the entire region.
Submitted by Lee Hansol, Assistant Program Officer