RECOFTC: Center for People and Forests
Deforestation and forest degradation are threatening the livelihoods of the rural poor in the Mekong region. Community forestry has proven to be a sustainable way to improve forest management, strengthen local livelihoods, and mitigate impacts of climate change. SDC supports RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests to promote community forestry throughout the Mekong region through a core contribution.
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural land resources
About 140 million people live in the Mekong region, and many depend on access to forests for food and income. However, rapid economic growth is putting pressure on the environment and on local people’s livelihoods.
Each year between 2000 and 2010, an average of 370,000 hectares of forest disappeared from the Mekong region. The World Wildlife Fund has estimated that the region risks losing more than a third of its remaining forest cover during the next two decades, unless serious efforts to improve forest management are undertaken.
The primary causes of deforestation are conversion of forested land into mining and hydropower projects, unsustainable logging and hunting, largescale infrastructure development, and lack of good governance. Community forestry has proven to be an effective way to manage forests and mitigate climate change, while improving the livelihoods of the rural poor.
RECOFTC is the primary institution for promoting community forestry in the Asia-Pacific region. It is the only international not-for-profit organization that specializes in capacity building for community forestry and devolved forest management. By building the capacity of relevant stakeholders, the center has contributed to improving the policies, institutions, and practices of community forestry.
SDC has supported RECOFTC since its foundation in 1987. After a brief interruption in 2006, SDC reinitiated its support of the center in 2012.
SDC seeks to ensure that local women and men living in or near forests in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam—especially those belonging to ethnic minorities—have secure access to and control over forest resources in or around village land.
Results from previous phases:
By supporting and assisting government, nongovernment, and community partners, RECOFTC has shown that community forestry and related approaches can deliver results that both improve livelihoods and safeguard the environment.
In its focal countries, RECOFTC and its partners have contributed to increase and maintain coverage of CF over the period and as of September 2015 around 35,000 groups have been formalized with over 13 million hectares of forested landscape managed by them (excluding China).
Organized 1, 331 capacity development events and trained 29, 277 participants (30% of them women). A sample follow up of capacity development event participants found that 9 out of 10 of them were using the knowledge and skills gained from RECOFTC.
Engaged with national governments to develop or improve at least 26 legislative instruments (acts, regulations, decrees and directives) to strengthen pro-people regulatory frameworks in the forestry sector in RECOFTC focal countries.
RECOFTC has also been involved with policy submissions and recommendations related to local communities and climate change at the regional level, through the ASEAN Social Forestry Network and ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF) and also at international levels through the UNFCCC.
RECOFTC continues to increase its work in conflict transformation. In Cambodia, with RECOFTC backstopping, from 2009-2014 negotiations ensured legitimate rights of more than five thousand people from local and indigenous communities to resources in forested landscape, preventing their displacement and being denied traditional sources of livelihood opportunities.
RECOFTC has piloted a range of approaches to showcase that CF communities can be capable stewards of forests while earning an income from them. In Cambodia, communities have been guided into developing CF business plans and a total of 41 CFs and community protected area groups developed business plans; and generated income of about US$ 400,000 through market linkages with the private sector. In Northeast Laos appropriate technology to harvest teak and bamboo more efficiently are showing promising pathways to commercial options for communities as well as forest restoration options improving the forest landscape.
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
International or foreign NGO
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), The Government of Thailand
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 5’675’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 5’662’108|
Phase 1 01.12.2013 - 30.09.2018 (Completed)