Update on the Regional Model Forest Project (Southeast Asia)

The Regional Model Forest Project (RMFP) in Southeast Asia is well underway following the June 2000 inception workshop hosted by the Linan Model Forest in China. Very productive discussions were held around the concrete plans to develop each site – Philippines, Thailand, China, and Myanmar.

Only five weeks after the regional inception workshop, Philippines held its national workshop in Cebu, which was opened by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary, Antonio Cerilles.  The national workshop provided an opportunity for some key stakeholders to build awareness of the Model Forest concept, and to do some preliminary planning for the  next steps. In particular, the question of the broad engagement of stakeholders in the Model Forest area – the Ulot watershed of Samar Island – was discussed.  

Over the summer, Thailand held preliminary discussions with forest specialists before its scheduled national inception workshop in November. IMFNS participated at both the Philippine and Thailand events. Myanmar held its national inception workshop in mid-summer, attended by RMFP project leader Mr. Tang Hon Tat, with assistance and expertise offered by Dr. Jiang Chunquian of the Chinese Academy of Forestry and Head of the China Model Forest Secretariat. 

Mr. Tang Hon Tat, FAO Chief Technical Officer 
for the Regional MF Project

Over the next six months, the new sites will be devoting considerable energy to building awareness among stakeholders, making documents and information available to them, establishing the physical and technical capacity for managing the initiatives, and doing some initial planning on the approach that each site will take to develop a vision of sustainable forest management.

At about the same time as this newsletter is published, the RMFP project office (FAO Bangkok) will be releasing its first newsletter, which will detail activities and objectives in each of the four sites.