Forest and farm producer organizations commit to promote rights and livelihoods of their members, call for support from governments and partner organizations

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Knowledge Exchange Forum on Promoting Rights and Livelihoods through Forest and Farm Producer Organizations Bangkok, Thailand, 7-8-9 December 2016. The information exchange event was organised by the International Family Forestry Alliance (IFFA), the Asian Farmers Association for sustainable rural development (AFA), and was hosted by RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests. The event took place with support of the Forest & Farm Facility (FFF). Hosted at FAO, the FFF is a global partnership between FAO, IIED, IUCN, and AgriCord that aims to promote sustainable forest and farm management by supporting local, national, regional and international forest and farm producer organisations for improved livelihoods and decision-making over forest and farm landscapes. It was attended by more than 60 participants from 10 countries. Building on the experience of the previous conferences/workshops, this Asia conference was meant to facilitate networking between existing associations and provide them a platform to build their capacity by sharing experiences. Examples from different producer organizations both in a background paper and from presentations at the conference and the field visit were meant to inspire, give visibility to and energize participants and their organizations. It was also be an opportunity to show that local initiatives and organizations are not alone as they could belong to a bigger popular movement.

Strategy From the Knowledge Exchange Forum on Promoting Rights and Livelihoods through Forest and Farm Producer Organisations

Bangkok, Thailand , 7-8-9 December 2016

We the participants of the Forest and Farm Producer Organisation’s Exchange forum at our first Asian meeting 7-9th of December 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand,

RECOGNIZING the key role of forest and farm producers’ organizations and the legal and institutional recognition we need to plant, care, protect and market our family forest and farm products as significantly contributing to the broader sustainable development agenda and directly to most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

RECOGNIZING the serious Climate Change threat to our lives as well as the great and large scale climate change mitigation and adaptation function our forest and farm producer groups can provide by the interlinkage between trees and food production, recovering the forest/agricultural landscape, promoting eco-system services and improving the livelihoods and sustainable land management through Locally Controlled Forestry and Farming.

RECOGNIZING that secure land tenure (including forest land), freedom of association and legal and institutional recognition of farm/family forest producer organizations, supportive government policies and extension services, and access to markets and finances as indispensable pillars for an enabling environment for the success of forest and farm producer organizations.

CONCERNED that there should be a leveling of the playing field by empowering smallholder organisations so that they can claim their rights and access to markets and at the same time fill the gap between well intentioned political reforms and reality on the ground.

ENCOURAGING the establishment of partnerships between farm and forest producer organizations and government field services and international donors to leverage budgets and staff capacity as a model to be encouraged.

STRESSING the benefit of increased inclusiveness in producer organisations with women, youth, indigenous and other underrepresented groups in our organisations

We commit to the following actions to overcome challenges presented at the Knowledge exchange with our association’s members

– Expand our membership and strengthen our capacities including in the area of data management relating to forests and trees, and thereby achieve respect and legitimacy for our associations

– Ensure the full inclusion of women, youth and indigenous peoples in the forest and farm sector

– Provide a leadership (men and women) with high character values and democratic, transparent and good governance management

– Promote trees as an asset with a broad spectra of forest products including non-timber products and agro forestry practices where appropriate, for increase the capacity to add value to products and services

– Increase collaboration with informal and formal, existing or new networks in the region and global levels

We call our Governments to:

– Recognize the importance of and provide financing for, tree growing and utilisation for sustainable forest and farm management, by smallholders and their producer organisations to enhance rural livelihood and enterprise as well as national economy

– Reduce legal barriers for commercial use by forest and trees by smallholders

– Recognize the legal rights and traditional knowledge of smallholders and strengthen their participation through their producer organisation’s representatives in land, forest and agriculture policy and decision making processes

– Do everything possible to improve land access and to strengthen land tenure legislation that incentivises tree growing and sustainable forest and farm management

– Promote and ensure wide spread education of trees as an asset both in the growing and use of wood from sustainable forests as a prime climate action. See the initiative of Tree Bank in Thailand as a very promising effort to contribute to a restoration of forest cover for the benefit of people as a new source of income and the environment

– Recognize the services provided by the ecological restoration by smallholders and indigenous peoples that requires compensation in national and international processes

– Fairly implement the laws governing natural forest and other protected areas with due consideration of local people

We call our regional and global partner organisations to:

– Strengthen national, regional and international cooperation between forest and farm producer organisations

– Meet again in this Asian regional context in two/three years to make a bench mark of achievements and their relation to SDGs

Click here to download the paper in PDF 

Click here for Tweets from the conference

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