VIENTIANE, LAO PDR. The Department of Forestry (DoF) of Lao PDR developed a proposal to improve the guidelines on and harmonize approaches to village forest (VF) and non-timber forest product (NTFP) management during the pilot testing of the Project Development Toolkit from 26 to 28 September 2017. The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)-ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) Strategic Response Fund [ASRF] program management unit developed the toolkit to assist ASEAN Member States (AMS) in developing strategic proposals that respond to emerging issues on food insecurity, poverty, and climate change.
Participants of the workshop came from different divisions of DoF. The workshop was led by the Village Forest and Non Timber Product Management Division (VFNTPMD)-DoF, headed by its Director, Dr. Oupakone Alounsavath, who is also the AWG-SF Leader of Lao PDR. Mr. Khamla Sinthavong of VFNTPMD-DoF facilitated the workshop.
The proposed project was developed as a result of the validation of gap analysis at the level of the AWG-SF Plan of Action, presented by the SEARCA team led by Ms. Nyhria Rogel, Program Specialist at SEARCA’s Research and Development Department, and at the level of the national agenda presented by Dr. Alounsavath.
Dr. Alounsavath, in his closing remarks, explained that the government had already developed guidelines on VF and NTFP management. However, there is a need to harmonize different approaches implemented by the government of Lao PDR and other local and international organizations to further improve existing management guidelines. Furthermore, this project will capacitate forestry officers to improve the services they provide to the villages. The results of the proposed project can serve as basis for policy recommendations for policymakers.