RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests is an international organization with a vision of local communities actively managing forests in Asia and the Pacific to ensure optimal social, economic, and environmental benefits.
RECOFTC collaborates with governments, universities, local nongovernment organizations (NGOs), and intergovernmental bodies to help local people gain secure and strong rights to forests.
Current Regional and International Partnerships
ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN): Established by ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF) in August 2005, this is the first government-driven social forestry network in Southeast Asia. Its main goal is to strengthen ASEAN cooperation in social forestry by sharing information and knowledge. RECOFTC has supported ASFN since its establishment in both capacity building and networking.
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO): RECOFTC has long collaborated with FAO, particularly its Asia-Pacific regional office. Recent activities include the First Regional Forum for People and Forests, and such publications as Forests and Climate Change After Copenhagen and the Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study II. We also work together on capacity-building events such as Training of Trainers on Conflict Management.
Global Alliance of Community Forestry (GACF): This is a coalition of community-based organizations working to build political and community processes for establishing and defending community access, use, and management rights over natural resources. In Asia, GACF supports community-forestry networking in Thailand and seeks to build the capacity of national networks across the region — something that RECOFTC actively supports.
International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED): An international research organization that promotes sustainable development and links local processes with international ones, IIED works with some of the world's most vulnerable people to ensure that they have a say in the policy arenas that most closely affect them, from village councils to international conventions. RECOFTC has collaborated with IIED since 2006 through the Forest Governance Learning Group, involving 10 countries in Asia and Africa.
Netherlands Development Organization (SNV): SNV is an international capacity-building NGO that delivers advisory services mainly to organizations operating at the national and meso levels to help strengthen their capacity to effectively realize poverty reduction and good governance results. RECOFTC entered into a formal collaboration with SNV in 2005 to contribute toward sustainable forest management in the Mekong region. Together, we created the Natural Resource Management Governance Training Manual.
Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT): A five-year initiative funded by USAID, RAFT influences the public policies and corporate practices needed to improve forest management and bring transparency to the timber trade in Asia. RECOFTC leads RAFT’s Conflict Management Training Program and its REDD Learning Network.
Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI): RRI is a global coalition working to advance forest tenure reform in developing countries. RECOFTC is a founding member of RRI and coordinates coalition activities in the Asia-Pacific region.
Royal Thai Government is one of the founding members of RECOFTC and a signatory in the Charter of RECOFTC. RECOFTC collaborates closely with the Royal Forest Department, the Department of National Parks and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resource in strengthening the National Community Forestry Network and numerous community-based natural resource management capacity building activities throughout the country. In the last 25 years, the collaboration has helped build the capacity of national and local government leaders, community forest managers and practitioners in sustainable forest management and increasingly, in responding to climate change. The Royal Thai Government also contributes an annual budget to RECOFTC’s Thailand Country Program to support community forestry initiatives in Thailand through the Officer of Higher Education Commission of the Ministry of Education and Kasetsart University.
Royal Government of Cambodia: Although RECOFTC has been active in Cambodia for a decade, it formalized its partnership with the Forestry Administration under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 2006. RECOFTC plays an active role in initiatives shaping and promoting community forestry development in Cambodia as a member of the Technical Working Group on Forestry and Environment, the National Community Forestry Program Coordination Committee, the National Forest Program Task Force as well as the National REDD Task Force. The Royal Government of Cambodia is also another founding member of RECOFTC and a signatory in the Charter of RECOFTC.
Government of the Republic of Indonesia: Working with the Government's Center for Forestry Education and Training (Pusdiklat Kehutanan) and Regional Forestry Training Center (Balai Diklat Kehutanan/BDK), RECOFTC has held dozens of national-level workshops and training events in Indonesia since the 1990s for over 300 Indonesian nationals. An MoU was signed with the Ministry of Forestry in 2005 as the collaboration expanded to include capacity building at all levels of community forestry including conflicts, and REDD+.
Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam: RECOFTC has been building government and national capacity for community forestry in Vietnam for the last 20 years. Working under an MoU with the Vietnam Administration of Forestry of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, RECOFTC is analyzing the gaps in the national community forestry program and ways to address them. It is a partner of the Forest Sector Support Partnership, a core member of the Climate Change Working Group and advisor to the Vietnamese Nongovernment Organizations and Climate Change network on REDD+ technical issues. It is also an active member of Vietnam REDD Network and Technical Working Group. The Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the 7th founding member of RECOFTC and a signatory to the Charter of RECOFTC.
To learn more about partnership opportunities with RECOFTC, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we can help local communities and indigenous people find a stronger voice.
Meet RECOFTC's staff, leadership, and Board of Trustees.
RECOFTC is run by an international group of 83 individuals passionate about helping communities and forests in Asia and the Pacific. Fifty staff members are based in Bangkok, Thailand, at the Center's headquarters, and in-country staff are based in offices in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is RECOFTC's paramount governing body. It consists of 15 members drawn from senior government and civil society organizations, eminent individuals from the world of community forestry, donors, universities, and the Center's executive director.
Dr. Tint Lwin Thaung, Executive Director
Dr. Thaung is a Myanmar-born Australian national who has more than 26 years of professional experience in forest management, forest research, and community forestry. Prior to joining RECOFTC, Dr. Thaung worked as a Training and Institutional Development Advisor with The Nature Conservancy, led the Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) Program and headquartered at the IUCN Regional Office for Asia in Bangkok. Dr. Thaung has worked extensively in the region with particular focus on Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Australia, and Myanmar, where he began his career as a national park warden, moving up to become Country Program Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society and Deputy Country Coordinator for SWISSAID-Myanmar. He also served as an Asia-Pacific regional forest conservation coordinator of The Nature Conservancy’s Indo-Pacific resource centre in Brisbane, Australia. Dr. Thaung has had a long association with RECOFTC, and community involvement in forest management has been a consistent focus in his professional practice.
James Bampton, Manager, Program Coordination, Monitoring, and Evaluation
With 18 years of practical forest field experience, much of it working directly with forest communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia, Mr. Bampton joined RECOFTC in 2007 as the Chief Technical Advisor for a flagship capacity building project in Cambodia. The Cambodia project resulted in enabling more than 2,000 trainees to contribute to the development of 240 community forests in seven provinces in the country and a high-level engagement with the national government. Soon, a full-fledged country program took root in Cambodia with multiple national and regional projects. In 2009, James became the overall Manager for Program Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation at RECOFTC , with the task of ensuring synergy across RECOFTC's entire program and develop functioning Country Programs in our other focal countries. Prior to this, he had spent five years as a lead advisor to the Livelihoods and Forestry Program in Nepal and three years working with communities in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. James has an MSc in Forestry from Oxford University, United Kingdom, and studied senior management at the Open University, United Kingdom.
Sanjiv Ray, Manager, Corporate Services
Mr. Ray has managed finance, administration, and human resource functions at RECOFTC since June 2005. With more than 22 years experience working in large multinationals and the non-profit sector, he has shaped the Center's financial strategy and significantly expanded corporate services to keep pace with the needs of a quickly growing organization. Prior to joining the Center, he was a General Manager at Tata Share Registry in India. As the business head of the company's payroll and funds outsourcing business, he handled major multinational and domestic accounts. From 2002 to 2004, he headed the Accounts department of the UK aid agency DFID, managing finance and treasury functions for its India operations. Sanjiv has worked with Escorts Finance in India and the Saud Bahwan group in Muscat, Oman following a long tenure from 198 9-1998 in the Accounts and Finance department with one of India's premier steel companies, Tata Steel. He also had a short stint as Audit Officer with PWC in India at the start of his professional career. He did is Bachelor's in Commerce and Accounting from St. Xavier's College in Ranchi, India and qualified as a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in 1988.
Dr. Yurdi Yasmi, Manager, Capacity Building and Technical Services
With more than 14 years international experience in Natural Resource Management and Social Forestry Management, Dr. Yasmi has previously worked for the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Indonesia and Wageningen University in the Netherlands. His core areas of expertise are conflict management, natural resource policy, governance, decentralization, adaptive management, and rural development. He has served on a number of international expert panels for organizations such as the World Bank, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), and he has initiated partnerships with several international organizations and governments, mainly in the Asia-Pacific region. He has published more than 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals, books, policy briefs, reports, and newspapers. Dr. Yasmi received his PhD and MSc from the Forests and Nature Conservation Policy Department of Wageningen University, the Netherlands.
Prabha Chandran, Manager, Communications, Marketing, and Fundraising
Prabha Chandran joined the Center in 2011 after working as a Communications Specialist for the United Nations and the World Bank in Southeast Asia and the Pacific since 2003. She has managed complex communications projects including the national information campaign for the first population census of Timor Leste, the World Bank-administered US$750 million reconstruction program in Aceh following the 2004 tsunami, as well as large development projects in Vietnam and Indonesia. She is the editor of several books, a contributor to others and has published a large volume of cover stories, reports, investigative features, travel features, and national health surveys for a number of publications in India and overseas. She spent her early career working as a freelance correspondent in Paris and London before returning to Delhi in 1990 where she worked as an editor with some of India's leading newspapers and magazines. She was educated in the UK and India, where she graduated with a postgraduate degree in Journalism.
A pro-poor approach to building capacity for community forestry in Asia and the Pacific
Community forestry is now widely acknowledged as a powerful solution for many of the challenges facing local people and the wider society, especially in improving rural livelihoods, enhancing community governance and empowerment, transforming forest-related conflict, protecting and enhancing the environment, and helping to fight climate change.
A Pro-Poor Approach
For community forestry to advance in Asia and the Pacific, governments must develop pro-poor forestry policies focused on clear and strong rights, good governance, and fair benefits for all forest-dependent communities. Intensive, ongoing support is essential to ensure that these policies become a reality.
As a capacity-building organization, RECOFTC improves the ability of people and organizations to conduct community forestry effectively and sustainably. Over the past two decades, we have trained 10,000 people from more than 20 countries in devolved forest management — from national policy makers, researchers, and practitioners, right through to local forest users. Training and other learning events are central to all of RECOFTC's work. We support these efforts with on-the-ground projects, critical issue analysis, and strategic communication.
Four Thematic Programs
RECOFTC works toward its mission through four thematic programs:
Expanding community forestry: Through our frontline country programs, RECOFTC works to secure rights for forest-dependent communities to manage their forests. RECOFTC-supported sites — maintained in close partnership with communities, nongovernment organizations (NGOs), and all levels of government — demonstrate good practices and develop key lessons, which are shared nationally and internationally to accelerate the scaling up of community forestry and its impacts.
People, forests, and climate change: In the Asia-Pacific region, local people hold the key to forests fulfilling their potential for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Community forestry is also an effective means of increasing communities' resilience to the impacts of climate change. We advocate for pro-poor climate change strategies and policies, working to ensure that all forestry stakeholders, especially those at the grassroots level, are prepared to meet the social, economic, and financial challenges that lie ahead.
Transforming forest conflict: Marginalized communities, powerful commercial plantation developers, corruption, unclear land tenure laws — stories of local people involved in conflicts over forest resources regularly fill the pages of the region's newspapers, exposing the scale of damaging impacts. By analyzing and better understanding conflict dynamics, this program promotes lasting solutions at both the policy and community levels.
Securing local livelihoods: RECOFTC's innovative livelihoods program seeks to realize the full potential of forest-related resources. By analyzing the opportunities and constraints of local people's access to market-based forest activities, this program proposes solutions that are socially just. It helps to ensure that local people have the skills and knowledge to engage meaningfully in emerging opportunities, such as Payments for Ecosystem Services, carbon markets, certification schemes, and non-timber enterprises.
For more on our approach, please see the RECOFTC's Strategic Plan for 2008–2013.
My Life Story in Short:
Community forestry is now widely acknowledged as a powerful solution for many of the challenges facing local people and wider society in:
Improving rural livelihoods
Enhancing community governance and empowerment
Transforming forest-related conflict
Protecting and enhancing the environment
Helping to fight climate change
Over the past 30 years, governments in the Asia-Pacific have increased their commitment to community forestry in ways such as in passing vital legislation and investing in long-term institutional development. Today, tens of millions of local people already manage more than 25 million hectares of forestland in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since the 1990s, the area of forestry under community or household management in our region has grown from a negligible amount to around a quarter of the region's forests. Working in close partnership with governments, nongovernment organizations (NGOs), and local communities, RECOFTC has been a strong catalyst for making this happen.
To enhance capacities at all levels to assist the people of the Asia-Pacific region in developing community forestry and managing forest resources for optimum social, economic, and environmental benefits.
Local communities in the Asia-Pacific region are actively involved in the equitable and ecologically sustainable management of forest landscapes.
Our Guiding Principles
Clear and strong rights are essential if local people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, are to actively engage in and benefit from forest management. RECOFTC works on strengthening local people's rights to access, use, and own forests through tenure, policy, and market reforms.
Good governance is necessary for the development and implementation of "community friendly" national forest policies, programs, and regulatory frameworks. RECOFTC promotes the rule of law, transparency, accountability, and the meaningful participation of people in local decision-making processes. Local people must be empowered to make their own choices and have their voices heard.
A fair share of benefits for local people from forestry is needed to help reduce poverty and motivate active participation in forest governance and management. RECOFTC aims to increase and diversify sustainable income generation opportunities from forest management, and to ensure that benefits are shared equitably.
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