The Philippines, through the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) plays host to the 10th ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Social Forestry Network or ASFN in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan from June 14-16, 2016.

“The Philippines was accorded the honor to host and chair this year’s ASFN meeting by Myanmar during the 9th ASFN meeting held last year in Inle Lake, Shah State, as part of the agreement among ASEAN member states that the hosting and chairmanship of the ASFN meeting shall be rotational and in an alphabetical order,” Forest Management Bureau Director Ricardo Calderon said.

Calderon said that ASFN is a government driven social forestry network in Southeast Asia with the main goal to strengthen ASEAN cooperation in Social Forestry through the sharing of information and knowledge.

He also said that ASFN links government forestry policy makers directly with network members from civil society, research organizations, academe, private sectors and experts of related fields.

“ASFN supports the development of the ASEAN Community,” Calderon stressed.

Expected to attend the 10th Annual ASFN Meeting are delegates from 10 ASEAN Member States including Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam to be headed by their respective ASOF/ASFN Leaders and Focal Points.

Representative of the Implementing Partners of ASFN such as the Centre for People and Forests (RECOFTC) Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Non-Timber Forest Products-Exchange Program (NTFP-EP), World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), and the Southeast Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) are joining the meeting.

The agenda of the meeting include discussions on ASEAN Cooperation in Forestry, Promoting Policy and Practice of Social Forestry including reports by ASEAN Member States and Implementing Partners and development of Strategic Plan of Action of ASFN to support ASEAN and Global objectives.

The establishment of ASFN was endorsed by the ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF) during their 8th Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in August 2005. ###