The Participatory Forest Monitoring (PFM) approach has been generally emerging in forest landscape management across Asia region. Given its broad conceptual approach in engaging multi-stakeholder in monitoring forest resources ad ecosystem services for multi management purpose, it is necessary to have a broad participation of stakeholders. PFM is concerned with sharing both responsibilities for monitoring and resulting benefits.
Despite the early interventions of this approach, there is a strong potential for PFM to be replicated and operationalised to meet local and subnational demands as well as to support the development of National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS).
In response to this emerging need to share exiting on-the-ground experience and strategise ways forwards for PFM, the Regional Knowledge Exchange Event on PFM had been hosted by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Lam Dong Province, Vietnam in Da Lat city from the 18th to 20th of November, 2014.
The event was supported from SNV Vietnam’s MB-REDD project,USAID’s Lowing Emissions in Asia’s Forest Programme and Silva Carbon. The primary objective of the event was to share experiences on piloting PFM models in order to examine whether or not efforts are supporting the development of NFMS for REDD+ and other evolving forestry financing mechanisms.
More than a hundred of delegates joined this Event including those from across Asia with experiences and responsibilities in designing and implementing PFM related activities, especially where a wide range of stakeholders are contributing to joint work programs. Speakers who are from outside Asia e.g. Europe and Latin America, provided pioneering examples on PFM systems upon which participants can exchange their PFM related experience and knowledge.
Mr. Miguel Mendez, Country Director of SNV in Vietnam, shared SNV’s experience as one of the pioneering players in REDD+ in Vietnam since 2009 with its key interventions operating on-the-ground and at policy level. He emphasized “One of our first projects on REDD+ was adopting local partners’ demand oriented and participatory approach in monitoring of forest resources and ecosystem services which has been greatly welcomed and supported by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Lam Dong province.”
Most of the participants agreed that the initial achievements are premature, the idea of involving multiple stakeholders from local to subnational, and ultimately national levels has strong potential to contribute to broader goals of sustainably managing forest resources and ecosystem services in Vietnam and in the region. Main discussion focused on whether or not our work on PFM is supporting NFMS, most of participants believe that PFM can help to support the development of NFMS despite a number of challenges related to institutional aspects, operational challenges, reliability and legitimacy of data collected by local communities which had been identified as one of the key barriers for PFM to move forth.
Based on all these discussions, a short synthesis paper on field experiences related to PFM interventions informing the development of NFMS will be published. Additionally, a short strategy paper will also be produced to respond to issues and challenges identified during the workshop.