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RECOFTC Celebrates 25th Years of Commitment to Community Forestry
In the late 1970s, there was growing recognition that government-controlled forestry was failing in many countries. Forests were rapidly disappearing, and with it the livelihoods of millions of local people. Through major events, such as the 1978 World Forestry Congress, the call went out to implement community-based forest management programs to help reach environmental and poverty-alleviation targets.
Over the next 10 years, community forestry spread to a growing number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region. However, it became clear that a lack of technical knowledge, skills, and effective approaches were hindering policy making and implementation for community forests.
RECOFTC is founded
In response, the Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC) opened in Bangkok, Thailand, on 27 March 1987. Major support came from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Government of Switzerland (through the Asian Development Bank), and Thailand's Kasetsart University.
At first, RECOFTC operated as a Thai national institute to provide training on community forestry to regional stakeholders. It has since evolved into an inte
rnational organization with four country offices and six focal countries where it works actively with governments and civil society organizations to improve the lives of forest-dependent people through climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainable livelihoods, and the management of conflict over conflicting interests in forestland use. Capacity building, training, and other learning events are still central to RECOFTC’s work, which is increasingly being complemented by on-the-ground projects, critical issue analysis, and strategic communication. At present, RECOFTC is managing some 50 projects and services in countries in Asia and beyond.
In 2009, the organization adopted the new name RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests to reflect the broader work it does today.
Over the past 25 years, RECOFTC has worked to secure the rights of local communities over forest resources and to increase their participation in forest management to ensure optimum social, economic, and environmental benefits.
Some highlights over the years include:
- Helped place nearly 200,000 hectares of community forests into the hands of 60,000 families in 450 villages through the development of Cambodia’s National Community Forestry Program
- Worked with the Thai Government to train more than 100 communities in 19 districts to sustainably manage community forests
- Built an alumni network of 20,000 forestry professionals in Asia and beyond that includes stakeholders from top government officials to grassroots community leaders
- Produced more than 200 original publications and developed a searchable online database of 7,500 additional documents
- Grew to almost 100 dedicated staff and officers in five countries, building a reputation as a regional leader in Community Forestry
- Trained stakeholders in 27 countries to improve the lives of forest-dependent people
- Helped establish one of the first legal village forests in Indonesia
- Helped double the income of villagers in Prednai over a period of seven years through a capacity building program to manage marine and forest resources in 1,920 acres of restored mangrove forest in Eastern Thailand
To commemorate its 25th Anniversary on 27 March, 2012, RECOFTC is coordinating a series of events and celebrations around the region. Read more about those and watch ECOFTC's Silver Jubilee video here.
For more information, please visit http://www.recoftc.org.
Posted By Madiha Qureshi at 4:50pm on April 06, 2012
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