24 Apr 2019

Forest Governance in Southeast Asia and Pacific: Year Two Review Completed

From March 25-29, members of the Forest Governance project met in Malaysia to discuss the project status, identify challenges, and ensure successful delivery of the project. Here's what they discussed and decided.

By Hum Bahadur Gurung

The European Union funded “Strengthening non-state actor involvement in forest governance in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Papua New Guinea” Project Management Team Meeting was held in Malaysia from 25 to 29 March 2019. The objective of the meeting was to convene the Team to discuss project status, identify project risks and challenges, review project requirements, identify solutions for ensuring successful project delivery, and build team cohesion.

Professor Dr Ahmad Ismail, President of Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) (BirdLife Partner in Malaysia) welcomed all participants from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom, and called for a greater cooperation and collaboration among the project partners.  “BirdLife International and MNS are pleased to host the meeting in Genting Highlands, Malaysia which falls within the Central Forest Spine - the backbone of Peninsular Malaysia’s environmentally sensitive forest area network, comprising four major forest landscapes,” said professor Ismail in his opening remarks.  

The Project Management Team shared and discussed project progress achieved and challenges during 2018 with further networking, policy advocacy, mutual learning and sharing good practices across the project countries. The meeting also discussed the findings of the Results-Oriented Monitoring (ROM) review, which was carried out by an independent expert, commissioned by the European Union to review project progress, challenges and recommendations to improve the delivery of project outputs.  The meeting agreed with a number of actions for improvement of project delivery including updating the logical framework and risk analysis; identifying opportunities for knowledge exchange and technical needs; and improving capabilities to build organisational capacity of non-state actors.    

Project partners sharing their experiences during the meeting. © Hum Gurung

Malaysian Nature Society, the project partner in Malaysia, organised a field visit within the Central Forest Spine and the North-Central Selangor Coast on 29 March 2019 to understand the local conservation issues and wider stakeholders’ participation for better forest governance.  “I hope the field visit was fruitful to learn about the tropical forest conservation issues and the importance of coastal forest to safeguard the people and the environment in Malaysia,” said Balu Perumal, Head of Conservation, Malaysian Nature Society.

BirdLife International, the project lead, has been coordinating delivery of project outputs with all project partners. This was the third annual Project Management Team meeting with the project launch in March 2017 in cooperation with the Haribon Foundation in Manila, Philippines and the second held in Bogor, Indonesia in June 2018 in cooperation with Burung Indonesia. “The meeting has been more fruitful this year with a greater understanding of the forest governance project from national to regional perspectives with more concerted coordination and communication among the project partners,” said Maria Belinda de la Paz, Chief Operating Officer, Haribon Foundation. The next meeting will be in conjunction with a Regional Forest Governance Forum, which is planned for early 2020 in Indonesia. The Forum will bring together forest sector stakeholders from the four project countries.