Forest products and green growth in Southeast Asia
All over the world countries conclude agreements with each other in order to receive access to foreign markets. The Member States of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)* want to establish a common market in 2015 to promote economic growth. Officially ASEAN has formulated the goal of making this growth as sustainable, fair and inclusive as possible. However, in many cases local communities that depend on natural resources such as forests will be the victims of this agreement.
Non-timber forest products
This need not be the case: local communities have the potential to fulfill an essential role in greening economic growth in Southeast Asia. This was demonstrated during the 'Forests Asia Summit', which took place on 4 and 5 May 2014 in Jakarta. Our partner NTFP-EP (Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme) co-organised a session about ASEAN’s plans for the sustainable development of the market for so called non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and the role of local communities in this context. NTFPs are all products from forests that do not require harvesting trees. The conference, which was opened by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, focused on the question how the region can achieve green growth by better managing its forests and landscapes. The session included a screening of a film about the production and sale of honey from the forest.
Growth market for forest products
Paul Wolvekamp , deputy director of Both ENDS, is a member of the board of NTF-EP. NTFP-EP is a network of NGOs and local groups in Southeast Asia that supports local forest-communities with the sustainable use and management of their forests. According to Paul, this issue has become increasingly important in recent years. "Within the ASEAN region, 300 million people depend on NTFPs, especially indigenous groups. Yet legislation relating to matters such as land acquisition usually favour industry and mining at the expense of the indigenous population of the forests. They are often forced to make way for large-scale logging. "This is a missed opportunity, because it is precisely the local communities that possess practical skills in combining economic growth with sustainable forest management." The market for organic forest products such as honey, mushrooms, natural medicine and rattan, is growing spectacularly, particularly in Asia. Therefore it’s very important for indigenous groups to be able to respond to this growth so they can increase their income and welfare without losing their traditional relationship with the forest."
Both ENDS has been working with NTFP-EP for years. Meetings like the Forests Asia Summit are necessary to push the interests of indigenous groups higher on the political agenda. We are pleased that NTFP-EP is able to raise the public and political awareness of its important work.
* ASEAN is the political and economic partnership between ten Southeast Asian countries.
Photo by CIFOR on Flickr
Read more about this subject
About one in every six people, particularly women, directly rely on forests for their lives and livelihoods, especially for food. This shows how important non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and forests are to ensure community resilience. Not only as a source of food, water and income, but also because of their cultural and spiritual meaning.
News / 24 November 2022
At this year's UN Climate Conference COP27, Bhavya George, Climate Change coordinator of our partner organisation Keystone Foundation won one of the Gender Just Climate Solutions awards. Her project "Women Barefoot Ecologists", which also is supported by the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA), won in the category "Transformational Solutions".
Publication / 4 November 2022
Press release / 8 August 2022
Amsterdam, 8 August 2022 – In most countries around the world, the extensive knowledge of Indigenous peoples on nature, food, health, cultural traditions and Indigenous languages receives insufficient appreciation and attention in education and policy. The Indigenous-Led Education (ILED) Network believes that this must change. To mark the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples on 9 August, the ILED Network is calling for more support for the transfer of this Indigenous knowledge, which also plays a major role in resolving the biodiversity and climate crises.
External link / 20 July 2021
As a source of food, water and income, and for their cultural and spiritual meaning, forests and Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) help ensure community resilience. Both ENDS has a long history of collaboration with partners such as the Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP) and Keystone Foundation, which support forest communities in promoting the NTFP concept for forest conservation and livelihood enhancement.
Publication / 25 November 2011