DoFI and IUCN work to promote Forest Governance,
DoFI and IUCN collaborate to promote Forest Law Enforcement and Governance.
Vientiane, Lao PDR — On 29 July 2009, the Department of Forestry Inspection (DoFI) held an official signing ceremony for the endorsement of a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Lao.
IUCN Country Representative, Mdm. Latsamay Sylavong and DoFI Deputy Director General, Mr. Mr.Khamphout Phandanouvong signed the MoU in agreement to continue collaboration in 2009-2011 on promoting Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) in Lao PDR.
Participants in the signing ceremony included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Deputy Chief of Permanent Secretariat and Deputy Director General of Department of Planning), officials from Department of Forest Resources and Conservation, Department of Forestry, and several divisions within DoFI.
IUCN will support DoFI at the central level to improve regional cooperation on FLEG and initiate work with the Champassak provincial office to enhance capacity building. Joint activities include participating in international dialogues related FLEG and sustainable forest management, regional forest products and wildlife trade, engagement with the Vietnamese and Chinese forestry agencies, and provincial level technical trainings on inspection procedures.
IUCN will also assist with the organization of the 2nd annual Interagency Meeting in 2009 for further developing interdepartmental negotiations for the drafting of a Ministerial declaration and action plan.
How forests are governed and protected is of growing importance in Lao PDR. Not only are forests home to a rich diversity of plants and wildlife, they support the livelihoods of a large proportion of the Lao population, and play an important role in mitigating climate change. Ensuring the proper management and protection of forests will be a prerequisite for participation in new initiatives like REDD – reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation – and ensuring the access of Lao timber products to environmentally sensitive international markets.
The FLEG process aims to address the threats posed to forests by illegal logging and associated trade, poaching of wildlife, and other unsustainable forest activities. According to IUCN, the cornerstones of good forest governance are equity, transparency, participation and action, which should underpin all responses at all levels to illegal logging and other unsustainable forest practices.
The collaboration between DoFI and IUCN is intended to be a first step toward a long term partnership to combat illegal and unsustainable forest practices, in order to protect the country’s valuable forest resources and to promote good governance.