Voices for Mekong Forests (V4MF)
The Mekong region is home to an estimated 85 million forest-dependent people, of whom more than a third are indigenous peoples, and with around 30 percent of the rural population in the Mekong region living in poverty. The region lost about 5 percent of its forest cover between 1990 and 2015.
This 5-year project aims to strengthen the voices of non-state actors (NSA), including civil society, Indigenous Peoples and local community groups, to improve forest governance, sustainable forest management and the contribution of forests to development of Mekong countries.
The overarching rationale of the project is that for forests to be sustained, forest landscape governance must be inclusive, requiring effective NSA participation. The project therefore leverages and contributes to national opportunities for NSA to participate to initiatives, such as the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade – Voluntary Partnership Agreements (FLEGT-VPA) initiative and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+).
Overall objective: By 2021 empowered and networked NSAs in three transboundary landscapes assess, monitor and respond appropriately to strengthen forest governance, particularly in FLEGT-VPA and REDD+, and effectively engage in policy processes.
The 3 transboundary landscapes are among the most biodiverse in the region and include:
1. Dawna Tenasserim Landscape (DTL) – covering Tanintharyi Nature Reserve (Myanmar) and Western Forest Complex (Thailand)
2. Northern Thailand – Lao Transboundary Landscape (NTLL) – covering Doi Phu Kha National Park (Thailand) and Nam Pouy National Protected Area (Lao PDR)
3. Transboundary Viet Nam – Lao – Cambodia Landscape (VLCL) – covering a) Eastern Plains Landscape (Cambodia bordering with Viet Nam); b) Kon Tum province, Central Annamites; Quang Nam province, Central Highlands (Viet Nam bordering Cambodia and Lao PDR); and, c) Xe Pian and Dong Amphan National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (Lao PDR)
The Project will focus on the following result areas:
By 2019 NSA forest governance monitoring systems (FGMS) are piloted and scaled up
By 2020 NSAs have strengthened rights in conjunction with increased capacity to improve gender and socially inclusive forest governance
By 2021 effective and coordinated NSAs engage in national FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ processes and contribute to the development of transparent and accountable FGMS
By 2019 a regional NSA learning platform facilitates coaching and information exchange, including lessons learned and best practices on FGMS