A Collaborative Management Learning Network in Southeast Asia
Six month Project Report
July 1 – Dec 31 2006
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thanks to all the hardworking people in the sites – community members, government and NGO staff and the CMLN Coordinators, who are making this co-management network a reality. Thanks also to the people at AIPP, especially the Assistant Coordinator Nang Noon who has now left the project. Thanks to the Steering Committee members for their continued support and to the project donors – Swedbio and McKnight Foundation.
This report summarises the activities of the CMLN Project during the first six months of its project phase July 1 – Dec 31 2006, in order to add to the learning about co-management that is a key objective of this project. Over the past 6 months a more secure financial position has allowed the project to continue building the institutional arrangements to support implementation of co-management in the 7 project pilot sites. The results of these discussions and activities in each of the 7 countries are reported on in the first part of this report. Slow but steady progress has been made in building community awareness, capacity and ownership, and in building trust and dialogue between communities and national park authorities. Networking was strengthened over this period with a study tour by a Vietnamese delegation to the Philippines CMLN site. Shared learning also continued with a successful regional workshop held in Yen Bai Province, Vietnam in December (This workshop is reported on in a separate report).
Project coordination activities over this period have included; ongoing fundraising, support and visits to activities in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, initial preparation of a project web site and database, the organization of the first project steering committee meeting and the 2nd regional workshop. Problems encountered include not enough management time going into assisting the sites with technical aspects, the difficulty in some of the sites in securing sufficient funding, and many demands on the time of many network members. Coordination and communication within the network has not been as strong as hoped. Several sites have produced bulletins for dissemination of their activities, but dissemination activities at the regional level have yet to be implemented.
This first 6 months of the project phase therefore has been a continuation of Inception Phase activities in getting the project up and running. Some important policy gains have been made in countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia, and in general a good foundation has been laid for ongoing dialogue in developing models for co-management in the South East Asian context. These models vary depending on the contexts in each of the different sites, and this diversity and the shared learning which is afforded by this, is what gives most value to this project/network. It is perhaps too early to say exactly what will be the impact of this network in terms of improved policy and increased implementation, but so far it has allowed a discussion to be opened up, increased the acceptance of co-management and stimulated some serious thinking about how this approach can be turned into practical reality.
The following report presents the activities of the first 6 months of implementation of the Collaborative Management Learning Network (CMLN) Project. Over this period activities in each of the 7 sites have progressed and the exchanges and learning between these sites has continued to develop. The learning potential associated with the various ways in which each of the sites are defining co-management in their contexts is perhaps the whole reason for the setting up of this network. One site has been developing protocols for co-management between the government and a representative indigenous organization, another site is developing community based research, another is trying to develop watershed level agreements and cooperation, other sites are establishing and delineating community management areas, etc.
2. Brief Country Progress Reports1
Local Coordinator – Dolvina Danus Financial Disbursement June – Nov. 06 – 3600 USD Financial Disbursement Jan. – June 07 – None foreseen
CMLN has been supporting the costs of an Indonesian coordinator to prepare a proposal for ongoing funding for FoMMA (the indigenous organisation representing communities on the management board of Kayan Mentarang NP – see Inception Phase Report). The initial draft in Indonesian language has been prepared and is now being edited and translated. A final draft will be sent CMLN before March 2007 after further consultation with FoMMA board members. A recent update from Indonesia reports that ‘Until very recently, implementation of CM and the establishment of its management institutions has been slow. Little progress was made and the park is not in practical terms ‘managed’ to date. Management functions are presently carried out by the Agency for Natural Resource Protection (BKSDA) and awareness raising, community empowerment and consultation, data collection and monitoring are carried out by WWF-Indonesia, FoMMA together with BKSDA.
Box 1: Co-Management in Thailand by Prawit Nikornuachai – Thai CMLN Coordinator.
Co-management in protected areas is a method to allow all stakeholders to think, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate together. Power and responsibility for management should be decentralized to all stakeholders. This approach is opposite to the things the government has done in the past. So the acceptance and trust in this method is still low, especially among policy makers.
Efficient co-management starts from the government softening the laws, which are the obstacle to co-management. It requires courage to implement activities which can result in benefits to humans and the ecology in the area. This approach requires acceptance and trust by every one from the practitioners from the ground level to policy makers.
The government should hurry up and spread co-management to every village. Only implementing it in some areas or only in highland areas with forest cover is not enough for a healthy nature and biodiversity. Around 100 years ago (1900) the forest cover in Thailand was 75%. Every sub-district was forested, in the lowlands as well as the highlands. So the government should implement natural resources regeneration in every sub-district. The areas which are the most heavily deforested, should receive more effort to regenerate the forests.
If the government does not change its vision and continues to focus only on forested areas, is strict with forest peoples and strongly pushes for new methods of farming as in the past; it is certain that forest cover in Thailand will become less and less and conflict between forest peoples and the government will not end. The remaining forest in Thailand right now is the result of some groups of people using the forest in a sustainable way. If the government continues to only conserve existing forest cover through implementing strict laws without thinking about regeneration of other areas, forest peoples will feel that all of Thailand is trying to manage their area. Upland forest people are under a lot of pressure. Other people have used their forests for the same amount of time as the upland people and have already destroyed their forests due to mismanagement. Why should they come and manage the forest in areas where it remains and has always been looked after.
The government should soften its approach and spread co-management to all areas. Let local people make decisions by themselves. Outside peoples can not lead and direct. Their role should only be to make suggestions and provide financial resources to regenerate the area. If this was the case local peoples would again feel a sense of ownership of their forests and they will protect their forest, water and soil by themselves. This duty and responsibility does not only belong to the forest department, but these forests also belong to local people; these are community forests. If the government started to change in this direction, in some time in the future, green areas will regenerate every where, and conflict and confrontation between forest peoples and the government will finish.
1 For a discussion of the Project Inception Phase up to June 30 2006 please see Inception Phase report.
2 Care Thailand funded a staff member working in Ob Luang to attend the second CMLN Regional Workshop in Dec.
3 The ADB is funding the Biodiversity Corridor Conservation Initiative linking Xe Pian with Dong Houa Sao NPAs
4 The target areas are: Peam Krasop/Botum Sakor NP, in Koh Kong Province (Cambodia), Dong Hua Sao PA in Champassak Province (Laos), and Song Thanh NR in Quang Nam Province (Vietnam).
The update from Indonesia reports that during the earlier Sabah CMLN workshop (March 2006) the Indonesia team committed itself to fostering the implementation of CM in KMNP by facilitating the formation of a small accompanying team consisting of representatives of all stakeholders (Ministry of Forestry, local government, FoMMA, WWF). The main task of the team is to improve social communication and coordination among the stakeholders, including creating a common vision and understanding on co-management. The Accompanying Team has also led the way for the organization of the meeting of the Policy Board (DPK) to discuss the structure, division of responsibilities and functions of the co-management institution.
Apart from developing a proposal for further funding, work in Indonesia over this past 6 months has focused on developing the formal protocols for implementing co-management and defining what exactly joint governance will look like. This is an interesting process with wide application in other CMLN sites and in the region generally. The update from Indonesia states ‘In June 2006, a short position paper was prepared exposing basic principles and concepts in co-management, and main phases of planning and implementation. The paper served as an instrument to foster a common understanding on these issues among stakeholders. A small team was assigned the task of drafting the mechanisms of co-management for the Kayan Mentarang National Park. The draft was finalized in September with input from all stakeholders. In November 2006, the draft was distributed to the members of the Policy Board (DPK) for discussion at the DPK meeting tentatively scheduled for December 2006, depending on availability of the key decision-makers, Head of the District of Malinau and the Head of PHKA, the agency for forest conservation and nature protection. The draft also awaits feedback from the legal office of PHKA.’
The Indonesia team further reports that ‘the draft mechanism for collaborative management in the Kayan Mentarang National Park takes into consideration the current legislation relevant to park management in Indonesia…. The Ministry of Forestry is in charge of maintaining and ensuring collaboration mechanisms and the DPK will coordinate with them. The policies elaborated by DPK will provide input to the National Park Management Unit for the elaboration of workplan and programs based on the approved Management Plan (2002). It is recommended that the major functions in national park management, e.g., protection, conservation, and use, be allocated as follows:
• Protection (example: monitoring) under the responsibility of PHKA/Management Unit (Ministry of Forestry)
• Conservation/ecosystem preservation under the responsibility of local government and NGOs
• Sustainable use of natural resources under the responsibility of FoMMA.
The efforts of the small team go in the direction of facilitating a co-management agreement where functions, rights and responsibilities of the recognized stakeholders are spelled out clearly and agreed upon. The negotiation of the management agreement and organization will be done at the DPK-PHKA meeting scheduled for January 22nd 2006. In order to maximize effective collaborative management, the management unit of the parks has to be established, as per the basic 1990 law. This decision has been delayed by PHKA and thus hampered the process of implementation so far.’
Future activities in the next 6 month period will include a cross-visit to KMNP by the Malaysian team and CMLN Coordinators. Representatives from Laos and Cambodia will conduct a study tour to Kayan Mentarang NP in 2007/08 with McKnight funding. The time of the visit will be further coordinated with FoMMA and possibly synchronized with the Annual Meeting of FoMMA (Indigenous People of Kayan Mentarang National Park).
Local Coordinator – Adrian (Banie) Lasimbang
Community Assistant Coordinators – Peter Enggan and Lasil Lotos Financial Disbursement July – Dec 06 – $24, 000 – (transferred in 2 payments in late Nov. – early Dec. 2006). Expected Financial Disbursement – Jan – Jun 07 – None the above funds are until Jun 07.
Activities in Malaysia have been making slow but steady progress but have been hindered to a certain extent by a lack of secure funding in the first half of this 6 month period. Malaysia and Thailand are the 2 countries presently receiving full funding from Swedbio. Banie (Malaysia Coordinator) received half pay for 3 months (July – Sept). Limited funding meant that inception phase activities didn’t finish until the end of August. With the extension of funding from Swedbio a budget for ongoing work until June 2007 was prepared and approved. This covers ongoing activities including a full PAR programme for the rest of project year 1.
Adrian has also been able to tap into other funds for some activities. Most of the planned activities during the Inception phase and the early project phase have been able to be implemented with co-funding from the JICA funded BBEC Project (Bornean Biodiversity Ecosystem and Conservation – See Inception Phase Report). Banie reports also that the JICA expert currently attached to Sabah Parks has given positive indications to work closely with the CMLN Project. The Borneo Project director – Ms. Jessica Lawrence has also been assisting Adrian access funds. However Adrian reports that the proposals that were submitted received negative results.
Sabah Parks have also been holding up activities for some months as they have been waiting for official approval of the Crocker Range Management Plan. They were keen to make sure that CM activities followed the guidelines laid out in this plan.
Activities since the end of the Inception Phase have included; meetings of the start up team and with Sabah Parks, community consultations and a multi-stakeholder workshop (co-funded by JICA/Sabah Parks). Because of these other funding sources the CMLN project used the budget allocated for the multi-stakeholder workshop to conduct community mapping as requested by the community and JPKK (Jawatankuasa Pengurusan Kawasan Komuniti or the Community Area Management Committee). The community mapping was identified as an important activity because of the conflicts which arose during the multi-stakeholder meeting on the allocation of the CUZ (community Use Zone). A draft MOA for the CUZ was formulated, but the actual area for the CUZ had not yet been delineated. The community rejected the map/area that was proposed by Sabah parks and prepared by their private surveyors. This only included cultivated areas and not areas for natural resource collection. It was also pointed out that because of these differences it was very important that the community were able to demarcate the CUZ (community use zone) themselves and not Sabah parks.
Activities therefore have been moving forward with some mapping training and ongoing delineation of a Community Use Zone (CUZ) inside the park. A draft map of a proposed Community Use Zone (began during the Inception Phase) has been completed and was presented to the community at the end of September and to Sabah Parks in October. Negotiation has been ongoing with the park about approving these zones and finalising a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the CUZ. The MOA to establish the CUZ is an important pilot activity outlined for implementation as part of the Crocker Range Park management plan. A final draft of the MOA was presented to the community in November.
Further mapping is required to identify the location of important resources, sacred sites, and important landscapes to guide the sub-zoning of the CUZ. This will be carried out during the second 6 month period of phase 1.
A major focus of activities over the past 6 months has also been to build the capacity of the newly formed JPKK. Several meetings were held with the facilitation by the Local Coordinator to define the roles of each committee members. This committee was established in March and is now doing much of the work. The community are in the process of establishing a CUZ management office and 2 community members have been appointed as CMLN local coordinators with Adrian remaining as Advisor. Banie shares the coordinator salary with them. A bank account has been set up for this committee which allows easier allocation of funds to the site, without the need to come to PACOS office. The management office serves as an information centre for the participatory action research team when doing their field work. The centre is equipped with a computer, printer, scanner and office equipment. This centre will also monitor the movement of visitors and researchers visiting CRP through the CUZ, and data gathered by the CMLN Project will also be kept here.
A 3 day exposure and leadership training for the CUZMC in Ulu Senagang and Mongool Baru was conducted in November. This included an exchange visit with other communities developing their community organizations, training in project management including proposal writing, financial management,
and community mapping. There was also a training on negotiating and communication skills in preparations for the 3rd meeting with Sabah Parks to further discuss the CUZ.
In September Adrian also attended the FPW (First Peoples Worldwide) during which an Indigenous Peoples initiative on protected areas in Belize was set up. Adrian reports that FPW are setting-up a funding mechanism for IPs involved in protected areas management. This is very much related to the CMLN project and Adrian noted that they could be potential donors in the future for CMLN activities.
A further activity has been an article about CMLN activities in Malaysia which was a special feature article in Bahasa Malaysia for PACOS’ community bulletin (Bisikan). This bulletin is widely circulated in the communities around Sabah. The article has been translated into English and will be featured in the planned CMLN web site.
Future important activities include capacity building for the community and Sabah Parks to execute the MOA. During a planned exchange visit between the Sabah and Kalimantan CMLN sites the Malaysia team aims to gain experiences from FoMMA and the work of WWF to give the CUZMC a better idea of day to day operations of a committee in collaboration with government agencies.
One important finding from both the Inception and first 6 month phase is that implementing co-management has been a process of finding the right pace convenient and suitable for both Sabah Parks and the community. The Malaysia Coordinator reports that the timeline of the inception phase given in the project document was not suitable for the Malaysia project site.
Local Coordinator – Mr. Prawit Nikornuaychai Financial Support in Mar – Oct 06 – 6800 USD Expected Financial support Nov 06 – June 07 – $US10,500 (minimum – still waiting to hear from funders)
Some time has been spent early in this past 6 month period preparing a proposal for funding for CMLN activities in Thailand. This proposal was sent to Misereor for around $30,000 in the middle of July and sent an agreement in principle in August, informing that the approval procedure usually takes 6 weeks after receipt of all the necessary paper work.
CMLN has been waiting to hear further from Misereor, and Misereor have been waiting to receive a requested letter of support from the local Catholic development organization DISAC. The Thai CMLN Coordinator worked for DISAC for 10 years and a significant proportion of the Karen communities CMLN is working in are Catholic. After preparing this letter for DISAC to sign and send a series of misunderstandings meant that DISAC never actually sent the letter. Prawit also tried unsuccessfully to meet with the representative from Misereor when he visited Chaing Mai in October. The required letter was only sent in January after finally finding out Misereor was still waiting for it. Misereor have also recently informed CMLN that they have been having trouble with their server, and they have recently lost several email messages.
The total budget for Thailand activities is around $55,000. An application for $17,500 was sent to IWGIA for activities in Thailand. This application has since been declined by IWGIA, due to their existing support to other projects implemented by AIPP in Thailand. There are some Swedbio funds available for Thai activities, but if other funding can be found Swedbio funds can be freed up for other things. The Philippines for example has requested a small amount of support for 6 months to cover the salary of the Local Coordinator.
Prawit would like to build cooperation and dialogue between upland and lowland communities. This approach appears to have significant potential. Cooperation between uplanders and lowlanders Prawit argues used to exist, but during the 1990s this relationship considerably soured with lowland organisations calling for the removal of communities from the uplands. Things have calmed down, but recent floods last year and in coming years may increase the calls for relocation of upland communities. Prawit said that in the past upland communities have been able to reach agreement with the government and PA authorities but the government has been criticized by lowland conservation and other organisations for making deals with the ‘forest destroyers’. The government is therefore forced to go back on its agreements in the face of this
criticism. For co-management in Thailand this work is extremely important and at present not properly funded or supported.
In his 3 monthly report Prawit comments,
‘We have to admit that the co-management in protected area is a new approach for Thailand. In the past all forest belonged to the government and only the government had full power to manage. So the government established the Reserve act, National Park Act, with out consultation with the people, to keep the people in side the framework of these laws. There are many rules and implementation of the law is strict on the people who live in the forest. But the government never thinks about regenerating areas that are already deforested.’
To date Prawit has been primarily concerned with conducting discussions with upland communities about ways they can engage in productive collaboration with lowland communities. The main activities in the Mae Pae area over the past 6 months have been;
1. Dissemination of information through forums (village, watershed and regional levels) and bulletins.
2. Clear demarcation of village lands with cement sign post using GPS.
3. Development of a Mae Pae watershed Committee plan.
Activities in July and August consisted of Mae Pae watershed planning meetings with all members of committees in 4 upland communities and the establishment of a working group to finalize community inputs into wider watershed planning meetings. Discussion included the establishment of a watershed basin committee, the significance of participation in collaborative management of protected areas, understanding the concept and application of a “Co-management-Eco-system approach” and the need for community-based organisations to lead community members show they can live harmoniously with nature. These discussions have served to identify the capacity and information needs of the committees and community organisations, and in further understanding what roles they can play in communicating with other partners in the basin.
In July the Thai Coordinator participated in a reforestation activity in the border areas between highland and lowland communities. This activity was intended to deepen the relationship between highland and lowland people. Highland villagers were the main labour force but there were representatives from lowland communities, state agencies and NGOs, altogether totalling about 300 people. The participants planted about 2,000 trees.
In August a Thai CMLN local bulletin was published. A community meeting was also conducted, involving leaders from each of the 4 target upland villages. Also attending the meeting were 6 people from NGOs working in the Mae Pae watershed. Village discussions and meetings were disrupted due to marshal law being declared because of the coup d’état in Thailand in October.
In Oct village discussions were held in conjunction with representatives from the Asia Forest Network and Disac staff, to discuss with leaders about village histories and past and present relationships between stakeholders in Mae Pae watershed. The leaders identified stakeholders with which they have a good relationship and those they don’t. Discussion also included preparation for an Asia Forest Network Conference held in Bangkok in November. This meeting was held as part of Asian regional exchanges on the forestry sector’s contribution to the UN Millennium Development Goals.
These village discussions were followed up with discussions with stakeholders (including 75 people) in the Mae Pae basin facilitated by TAO (local government) about the watershed committees that had been setup during the previous meeting. Because of the coup d’état in Thailand in October, these watershed committee meetings couldn’t continue, so a meeting was set up with Khun Pae village about zoning/demarcation of areas for farming. This zoning has moved from one village to the next and Prawit reports that, ‘Right now Khun Pae village and Ton Phung village has been completed. And in the next few days zoning in another village will be begun.
Monthly meetings (involving around 25 people) are continuing with the aim to develop and agree on watershed plans. Other activities in November included community strengthening and networking. Communities have been assisted to develop clear forest use and farming zones, and regulations are being developed to confirm traditional management practices and ensure ongoing access to the natural resources in their territory. Cement sign posts demarcating these zones for one village have nearly been completed.
The Thai Coordinator has also been working with other partners (CARE, River Network…, see Inception Report).2 He has joined in the regular JoMPA meetings with other organizations involved in JoMPA. A range of organisations work in Ob Luang NP, with both advantages and disadvantages for CMLN activities. Unfortunately uncertainty and limited funding has meant that it hasn’t been possible to proactively implement CMLN activities. Activities have been tacked onto other projects (including IMPECT). Most of the activities have required little funds. This has helped Prawit maintain some momentum while waiting for further funds, however this is not an ideal situation.
Prawit is also the only CMLN site where the Local/Field Coordinator is working on his own. Noon (Regional Coordinator) has been assisting Prawit when possible. IMPECT is also a member of JoMPA and has a role in Ob Luang Park. Prawit also receives some support from Maurizio/FPP, who support IMPECT, and Chris/IWGIA who also support some activities with IPs in Thailand.
Multi stakeholder meetings have not been able to be held as yet, because some boundary disputes arose during IMPECT supported mapping programmes. Some communities have expanded their boundaries and other communities do not agree with these. So it is necessary to solve this issue first before bringing communities together. This has also prevented bringing lowland and upland communities together. Community meetings to date have only been with the 4 upland communities (See Inception Phase Report).
Prawit, along with Ed Tongson (CMLN Philippines Co-coordinator), attended a workshop in Sweden on Co-management in Sept. This was hosted by Swedbio (CMLN main funder). In his report Prawit explained that Swedbio’s objectives are to reduce poverty, build capacity and encourage governance and participation in biodiversity management and sustainable ecology. Swedbio supports biodiversity policy development, planning and Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) funded project implementation in agriculture, forestry, and fishery management in various countries. This meeting bought together 200 participants from Sweden and some southern countries to discuss co-management in different contexts. Presentation and discussion included results of research into human and nature relationships, local knowledge among different ethnic groups, rights and access to natural resources of local communities and indigenous peoples. Discussion looked at local people as part of the solution rather than an obstacle to sustainable biodiversity management. One conclusion was that to successfully implement biodiversity management and sustainable societies using local knowledge, required that this knowledge had to be learned and transferred from generation to generation.
Future activities will be funded using Swedbio funds until funds from Misereor arrive. Activities over the next 6 month period will include;
1. Continue zoning of farming areas for other villages.
2. Watershed committee meetings.
3. Watershed working group meetings.
4. Women’s group meetings.
5. Preparing a co-management bulletin.
6. PAR activities.
7. Joint meetings of cooperating organizations
7.1 Meetings of organization who work in Mae Pae watershed and other villages close to Mae Pae.
7.2 Meetings of organizations who work in related activities in other areas including;
* JoMPA members.
* Organisations working in Mae Tia – Mae Tae watershed, etc.
Local Coordinator – Kalyan Hou Assistant Coordinator – Amara Tevy Eng Field Assistant – Bun Nyok Financial Disbursement July – Dec 06 – 28,110 USD Expected Financial Disbursement Jan – June 07 – None – the above funding is up to June 07
This is fully funded with McKnight Funds which CBNRMLI received in Sept. Virachey National Park has just completed Phase 1 of a World Bank funded pilot project in Virachey and is currently using unspent funds until a second phase is approved. This money means the park can act independently without any need to collaborate with NGOs.
In general progress in Cambodia has been slow. The overall plan is for community awareness raising, strengthening their rights; bridging a trust gap (between communities and the park management); management planning for the 10,000 ha Community Protected Area (CPA) that has been approved by the Park. The community needs to show that they can manage their (CPA). CMLN can provide the technical assistance and can facilitate discussion and approvals at the national and park level.
One reason for the delay during this 6 month period has been the amount of time (3 months) taken to recruit a staff member at the site to assist the Cambodian Coordinator (who is based in Phnom Penh). This new site based person was also off work from the end of November on maternity leave. She returned to work as of Feb. 2007. Despite these delays there is now a team which can implement CMLN activities.
During the first half of this 6 month period Nyok has been organizing and raising awareness among women’s groups and has been working with the Community Protected Area Committee (CPAC). Meetings with women’s groups have shown that they are keen to participate in discussions and decision-making activities. They also requested literacy training because of the importance of women learning to read and write and participate in village development activities. Cultural strengthening activities have also been underway working with the youth cultural group. A consultation workshop was carried out in July with members of the community forestry (CF) and CPAC, where committee members requested CMLN to cooperate with NTFP (site host organization) to continue support for non formal education classes. The community representatives were also still not happy about the CPA zone which had been delineated and they requested VNP to delineate some section of the border again. However this has been delayed due to VNP staff not being available.
In response to the requests from CF and CPAC members, discussion was carried out with VNP in Sept to schedule training for the CF and CPAC committees to clarify the roles of these committees and discuss the CPA rules and regulations. This training was carried out in October by CMLN/NTFP staff in cooperation with VNP.
A further community consultation was held in October to select the community representative to attend the CMLN second regional workshop. A recommendation from this and earlier discussion with CPAC and CFC representatives was that the representative attending these meetings must share what they learned with other members when they return.
In November further discussion was held with community members about the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders and organizations working in Kok Lak commune. The purpose of the meeting was to increase collaboration between all stakeholders working in the same commune. Further meetings in November identified representatives to participate in CPA boundary demarcation activities with VNP. Community representatives requested training in GPS and map reading which is planned for February 2007.
As part of ongoing capacity building NTFP/CMLN has been helping the community to better understand co-management. A community management structure is already in place and after discussion with community representatives about this it was found that to achieve co-management with the park requires a neutral facilitator. This is a key role for CMLN to play. Between the partner organisations (NTFP and VNP) there have been ongoing misunderstandings and it is important that these are addressed. The Cambodian coordinator’s 6 month report however comments that VNP and NTFP are now cooperating more than in the past. They now share each others workplans, and some community meetings and trainings have been planned and conducted jointly.
An important training to re-inforce the concept of collaborative and participatory protected areas management was conducted in August to improve the facilitation skills of VNP park rangers and community level staff.
This training was requested by VNP management and included 33 participants from 3 districts. The course introduced key concepts and issues for participatory protected areas management and for facilitating participatory processes, to build a better understanding of the role of a facilitator. Basic
facilitation skills were presented and practiced. This training by all accounts went well and opened up discussion about conservation protection strategies other than enforcement.
The community bulletin has taken the form of a series of drawings for the many people in the commune who don’t read and write Khmer language. Pictures have been drawn and written in the local Kavet language and hopefully these will be used in the non formal education classes.
The Cambodian coordinator commented that the CMLN workshop in Vietnam in December was useful to allow participants to share experiences. The next 6 month workplan was developed and a draft co-management structure for the Cambodia site was developed which will be discussed further with communities, VNP staff and other stakeholders. Unfortunately however the VNP staff member who attended the workshop has since finished his contract with VNP and left. A new focal person will now need to be found.
Also during this 6 month period the part time CMLN regional coordinator has been supporting preparing a 3 year strategy and funding proposal for NTFP so that they can continue to function after 2006. A problem for the CMLN activities in Cambodia has been the threatened ‘imminent demise’ of one of its partner organizations. NTFP have not been able to be active in the field for some time now because of donor pressure/funding insecurity. The main donor recently agreed to a one year extension of funding realizing that NTFP is playing a useful role despite its recent problems.
Hopefully now most of the difficulties – recruiting staff, securing funding for the partner organization, staff with personal problems, etc have been sorted out and implementation will be more active in 2007.
Local Co-Coordinators –
Khampanh Keovilaysak (GAPE)
Moukdara Khamhou (Xe Pian National Park)
Somphane Keohanam (Xe Pian/Dept of Forestry)
Financial Disbursement July – Dec 06 – 4722 USD
Expected Financial Disbursement Jan – June 07 – 6430 USD (up to Mar 07) plus further
disbursement for Apr. – June 07.
Lao Project activities are a genuine partnership between GAPE and government staff. With only a handful of rangers to monitor a PA of 240,000 ha, the Lao government does not have the capacity to manage Xe Pian. There are opportunities here to fill this government management vacuum but it is not clear how much the government will allow.
Activities are now fully funded by McKnight but there has been a lot of staff turnover. The former CMLN Lao Coordinator and Xe Pian Park Director (Khamphay) has been promoted and has been replaced by Khamhou. Somphane (Dept of Forestry) has taken Khampay’s role in CMLN. Khamphay is still involved in activities in a very limited way. Khampanh (GAPE), Khamhou and Somphane divide the local coordinator’s salary in three parts. There has also been a change of management within GAPE with Richard Hackman taking over from Monty Sly. Richard has an important role for CMLN activities in Laos to provide overall direction, guidance, day to day management and critical thinking. Richard is also responsible for liaison with PA authorities, however he is only part time and has other duties. Khampanh is responsible for liaison with communities as well as working on cultural revival, however he needs support to understand and implement CM.
Community based research is the strategy which GAPE and Richard are hoping will show the government the value of traditional knowledge and community involvement. This is an interesting strategy which could have wider application. An organization from Thailand who has done community research on fisheries and now also on forestry (village forests) will be hired to do a Training of Trainers course. It is hoped that community led research will help change the traditional approach where the government’s plans and policies are seen as the only valid management strategy.
So far 8 VFVs have been selected from 8 villages in and around Xe Pian. These villages are in general quite some distance from one another. These 8 village forest volunteers get 20$ per month (mainly from funds
allocated for the Laos Local Coordinator’s salary). Khampanh is helping with ongoing training of the VFVs. This has included preparing forms for the gathering of data for the VFVs to use in their work.
In July a government sponsored planning meeting was held to prepare for the training of the VFVs. This training was carried out by the Forest Dept. to explain the government’s Land and Forest Allocation Project, as well as natural resource management and conservation strategies for National Protected Areas (NPAs). Village headmen from each of the eight project villages were also invited to join the training so that they understand clearly forest and land use zoning for conservation, for gathering NTFPs, etc.
The training included forest theory, natural resource management and conservation strategies for the (NBCA) National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (National Protected Areas (NPA)). Topics covered included; the definition of an NPA, protected and managed wildlife species, proper methods of surveying and information collection, demarcating and managing forest and fish conservation zones, etc. Plans were also developed for villagers to demarcate forest conservation areas around their villages. The importance of the sustainable use of natural resources was discussed as well as the reasons for the local extinction of some species. The government officers wanted to make the point that it was the communities unsustainable practices which were the cause of these extinctions.
The VFVs developed maps which demarcated areas around their villages for land and forest use. Overall this training was heavily focused on government policies and strategies. After this training is complete surveys will be conducted and land demarcated around each village for various agreed upon uses in order to conserve important natural resources and promote the sustainable use of NTFPs, fish, aquatic animals and wildlife.
It is hoped the Villages Forest Volunteers (VFVs) will be able to lead this activity, and training and preparation has been required for this. Discussions with the government CMLN coordinators have also shown the idea of CM is not well understood and this also has required intense discussion and joint planning.
Other activities during this 6 month period have included a training in non fiction writing, which resulted in an introductory bulletin about CMLN activities in Laos. This bulletin is very important for disseminating the concept of CM at the national level. Five hundred copies were produced and it was circulated to every protected area manager in the country. This bulletin has also been translated into English. Short pieces have also been written for the Lao and English language newspapers.
In November Somphane attended an NTFP training\meeting. Also in November Somphane and Khampanh led the VFVs on the study tour to visit eco-tourism sites and assess the potential of eco-tourism for the CMLN sites. In a follow up meeting the 8 VFVs shared their experiences with an ADB eco-tourism project manager.3 A result of the study tour and meetings has been a de-emphasizing of eco-tourism, which the government had previously presented as the best way communities can reduce their poverty. Before this study tour it was difficult to introduce alternative ideas and approaches. This meeting showed there are many sides to the eco-tourism business and that not all CMLN target villages would be suitable.
In November a visit was made to Laos by the CMLN Project Coordinators. Discussions were held with GAPE, government staff and a visit was made to one village. In general the project implementers are still finding their feet about what co-management means in the Lao context. Different stakeholders (government and communities) had different reasons for supporting co-management. The government representatives saw CMLN activities as a way to get the communities to understand that their activities were unsustainable and they would have to change them. The communities saw co-management as a way to argue for more area of forest which they could use – both for farming and collection. Perhaps the major conclusion was that co-management has to be defined according to the context in each site and the CMLN Project can give the space to allow for that definition to develop.
Another finding from the visit, relevant to several other sites, was that local indigenous cultures are under severe threat in and around Xe Pian and perhaps in Laos in general. Many communities are losing their language, their traditional practices and governance institutions. It is important that communities are able to define their co-management relationship with the government based on their own sense of cultural identity. As GAPE is already working on cultural strengthening activities it was felt this approach could be also effective in developing a ‘Lao’ definition of co-management.
Overall therefore this past 6 months has been spent in establishing a different direction/model for NPA management in Xe Pian. The Lao 6 month report comments that the government perception is that IPs should not be inside PAs, and suspicion of the community research approach persists. The Laos team however has been able to change the approach from a government to a more community led process. The Lao team also reports there has been an awakening to CM particularly after the December CMLN regional workshop. Continued discussion about CM has also been useful. A further finding over the past 6 months has been that flexibility in planning is required as everyone is learning as they implement.
Suggestions from the Lao team have included gathering and disseminating information about successful CM elsewhere, and exchanging the newsletters which each of the sites has produced. They also suggested anthropological/ethnographic trainings on ‘Understanding our own and other cultures’, to counter the ingrained beliefs that IPs cannot manage PAs. The Lao team is also planning to prepare a video documentary about CM in Lao language for national broadcasting. They are suggesting that all countries in the network should do the same and this could be edited to show CMLN activities in SE Asia. The report from the Lao team concludes that while understanding of CM is improving ‘there is still mountains of awareness raising needed within government circles’.
Local Coordinator – Hoang Van Lam Financial support 06 – None (Own funding) Expected Financial support till June 07 – None (Own Funding)
Information about the Mu Cang Chai site can be seen at www.hoanglienson.org.vn,
Vietnam has separate EU funding for its CM activities, and $14,000 from McKnight has been secured for some Vietnam CMLN activities. This funding allowed a study tour for a Vietnamese delegation to visit the CMLN site in the Philippines in Sept. FFI Vietnam supported this study tour because ‘policy level change in VN is one strategic objective we hope to achieve through participation in CMLN activities… By the way, attending the 1st CMLN workshop in Sabah appears to have had a significant and positive change in the attitudes of our partner – provincial Forest Protection Department – who are now lobbying local government to establish VN’s first CM protected area! The workshop (on top of five years ground work by FFI) really did make a difference to their way of thinking.’ (Steven Swan, FFI Hoang Lien Son Project Coordinator).
2.6.1. Study Tour to the Philippines
A delegation of 7 people went on this study tour from 19-27 Oct. Participants included a national level Forestry Dept. representative, the Chief of the Yen Bai Provincial Forestry Dept, the Vice Director of Mu Cang Chai Species Habitat Conservation Area (MCCSHCA), 2 Commune level government representatives and 2 representatives of FFI. The hosts of this tour were Mt Guiting Guiting Natural Park (MGGNP), WWF Philippines, and the local government of San Fernando Municipality on Sibuyan Island.
The Objectives of the Study tour were to;
– Promote exchanges and learning of co-management experiences,
– Allow policy makers and practitioners to view hands on experiences of co-management for further reflection on developing appropriate policies and practices in their own countries,
– Exchange lessons learned on co-management and promote discussion and debate on ‘best practice’ options for biodiversity conservation, effective ecosystem management (specifically watershed management and protection) and equitable development for indigenous communities,
– Build the capacity of government practitioners and indigenous community representatives to enter into constructive dialogue and agreements for effective co-management.
Philippine’s government representatives presented policy and practice of protected areas and recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights in the country. A PA zoning model was also presented where all concerned stakeholders participate in zone establishment and planning. The Vietnamese participants learned how conflicts can be resolved through this approach. The Back to Office Report comments that some participatory zoning has been carried out in MCC but more needs to be done. This report also comments that Vietnam is developing implementation guidelines to operationalise national level legislation which maintain a no-use regime in ecological restoration zones in PAs. There is an opportunity to influence an already
sympathetic Forest Protection Dept. ‘to promote a more flexible level of zoning and PA management which incorporates traditional IP user rights following the MGGNP’.
A village was visited which is participating in an innovative Payments for Watershed Services (PES) scheme for carrying out patrolling and reforestation. The Vietnamese were interested to learn about the co-management arrangement of Mt Guiting Guiting Natural Park, but also the close involvement of the local government in protecting the water resources for San Fernando, the downstream town. The delegation felt some (though not all) of this was applicable to their situation in Vietnam.
Problems noted for applying the Sibuyan model in Vietnam included no equivalent legislation to the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act in Vietnam, and the fact that the PA Management Board for Guiting Guiting Natural Park includes representatives of a range of stakeholders including from the commune and communities. In Vietnam at present the Forest Protection Department is the only organization with authority to manage the country’s forests. The Back to Office Report noted ‘there is a strong need to ‘socialize’ PA management with local government agencies’. It is also not possible at present for the local indigenous communities to be represented in the PA management board. Initially anyway local people will be represented by the Commune Peoples’ Committee Chairman. Some lateral thinking and ongoing policy level discussion is required to improve community representation in co-management activities in Vietnam.
The study tour report documented a list of follow up activities including;
• Awareness raising for both local authorities and local people,
• Develop village level regulations for both the park and buffer zones,
• Implement benefit sharing mechanisms,
• Establish district and commune level forest protection councils,
• Operationalise the park management board with a strong co-management focus,
• Look at developing a multi stakeholder advisory body (from the surrounding communes and district government) to support the management board’s functions.
2.6.2. Funding agreement with FFI Vietnam
In November the relationship between FFI Vietnam and CMLN changed slightly with FFI offering to pay for both the Philippines study tour and the 2nd Regional WS – a total of $28,500. FFI Vietnam have an excess of funds due to the appreciation of the Euro. Their Hoang Lien Son Project (which incorporates the CMLN Vietnam site – Mu Cang Chai) is also due to close in Sept 2007. Mu Cang Chai has only recently been established as a new category of PA expressly allowing CM. FFI are keen to see CM activities, which they have begun, continue. CMLN have therefore agreed to an arrangement where we will repay the $28,500 which FFI have advanced to us, so that activities can continue from Sept 2007 until the CMLN Project ends in June 2008.
Funds will come from the McKnight Foundation (for the study tour) and Swedbio (for the Regional Workshop) Both of these were paid by FFI. FFI will still manage activities and supply half the cost of a site coordinator.
Steven Swan comments that continued support ‘would strategically allow crucial support to the nascent co-management structure for MCC, beyond HLSP’s timeframe … to June 2008.’ FFI will provide technical advice and co-ordination support to help the new protected area management board establish themselves as an actively co-managed site. They will also support the management board to prepare a submission to the national Vietnam Conservation Fund’ (a US $ <50k grant for 2 years) for implementing field activities (community ranger teams, participatory land use planning, village-level regulation development, etc.). CMLN support will go into stakeholder/community meetings/workshops to get CM up and running.
Steven concludes that FFI will ‘sub-advance funds to the management board for them to take the lead in implementing specific activities (something that they are already doing a good job at with HLSP).’ Rather than a heavy field budget line, which can be sourced elsewhere, ‘what they need is guidance in their first year of operation and assistance in learning from others through the network.’
2.6.3. Second CMLN Regional Workshop
Following on from the Vietnam team’s willingness expressed after the Sabah (March 2006) workshop, agreement was reached from Vietnamese government counterparts to host the second workshop. This was
well organized and provided an opportunity to raise the profile of CM approaches in Vietnam (See 2nd Regional CMLN Workshop Report).
Local Coordinator – Alex Isidto Artajo Financial Disbursement 06 – 4400 USD Financial Disbursement Jan-June 07 – 4600 USD
The Philippines is another Associate member of the network. CMLN paid the costs for the coordinators salary for 4 months (Feb to May), but for this 6 month period they have not needed any further funding. They have however recently requested support of $4,600 for 6 months from March 2007 until a water ordinance is passed by the local council mainly for monitoring the co-management agreements. This funding would cover the Coordinator’ salary and travel costs, meeting expenses, part funding for 2 stakeholder workshops and IP-Park Biodiversity Monitoring.
As seen with the study tour (from Vietnam) they are playing an important role in sharing experiences with other sites. WWF Philippines strongly encouraged and supported this visit. One learning experience for the Philippines team at the December regional workshop in Vietnam was that they didn’t realize they are seen as leading the way in implementing CM in the region. A key reason why the Philippines is so important within the network is the more open acceptance of indigenous peoples’ rights.
Field activities over the past 6 months have included protection and reforestation activities. Table 1 shows monitoring results of these activities by the Sibuyan Mangyan IPs over a 10 month period (Sept 2005 to June 2006). A total of 3005 surviving seedlings and 2503 patrol man-days were devoted. Participation rate among the 82 IP households is high at 80% for enforcement. The participation rate in reforestation is 52% with most women-led households finding it hard to participate in masculine activities. Enforcement actions resulted in an average of 3 apprehensions a month. Illegal logging by outsiders dropped significantly, but prosecution is slow and political will of government offices is weak.
Table 1. Protection, reforestation and Participation rate of IPs per catchment (Sep05 – Jun06)
A survey on the socio-economy of the IPs revealed their incomes from logging and hauling activities estimated at P85,100 while total incomes are estimated at P583,234 for about 70 households in 2005. A payments scheme was introduced in 2005 to wean IPs away from logging and hauling activities. Table 2 compares these payments with their 2005 incomes and with their opportunity costs for foregoing logging and hauling activities. A ratio of 6 means that the IPs are getting six times more from the payment scheme than their opportunity costs. While the payments act as a powerful incentive (as explained by the high participation rate), this is still inefficient from an economic standpoint. The next years’ payments will bring the payments down but will still remain slightly higher than their opportunity costs.
Table 2. Comparison of watershed payments with Opportunity Costs for each subcatchment
Future activities planned for the Philippines site include the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding between the national park, local government and communities to fine tune the payments for watershed services performed by the IPs. Ongoing IP patrols and reforestation are also planned as well as a study of the watershed protection arrangements which have been implemented to date. This will be followed by watershed visioning and planning by the different stakeholders. An ordinance earmarking a portion of water charges to reward IPs for watershed management is being developed. This ordinance will sustainably finance the watershed activities in order to maintain the clean and abundant water benefiting the various downstream water users.
3. Activities of the CMLN Secretariat and the Regional Coordinators
3.1. Project Activities – July 1 – Dec 31 2006
July – August
With the agreement from Swedbio to use left over Inception Phase funds for June and July priority activities for this period were securing continued funding from Swedbio, and preparing a project proposal for activities in Thailand. The Inception Phase report was prepared at the end of July and early August covering the period Dec 1 2005 – Jun 30 2006.
A July management meeting was held with Jannie, Chris, Noon and Jeremy. Key issues discussed included identifying other potential donors, preparing for the beginning of the project phase, the next regional workshop, exchange visits between sites, and project monitoring and management issues.
With acceptance by Swedbio of the Inception Phase report and release of further funding, preparations were able to be made for the second Workshop. McKnight Funds also arrived in September for planned activities in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. With this funding arrangements were made for a study tour by a Vietnamese delegation to the Philippines.
Noon traveled to Myanmar and visited a PA there for potential inclusion into the network at a future date (See Section 3.5.5). Coordination activities consisted of organising both the 2nd workshop and the Vietnamese study tour to the Philippines. Time constraints have meant the 3 monthly e-bulletin was not prepared. A further management meeting was held including Chris, Jannie, Noon and Jeremy. In this meeting preparations were made for an upcoming project steering committee meeting and the regional workshop, progress in each of the sites and on the development of a project website was discussed as well as financial and management issues. Contact was also made with an IUCN Project which is documenting experiences of CM in 3 sites in 3 countries (Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam) as part of the ADB funded Biodiversity Corridor Initiative (See Section 3.5.2).
In early November Noon and Jeremy made a site visit to view activities in Laos (See Lao Section). Noon traveled back to Cambodia to visit the CMLN site there and meet the people working on it. This was a brief visit and on her way to Phnom Penh Noon had a serious car accident 600kms from any medical assistance. Noon had to be flown to Phnom Penh where she gradually recovered and was able to travel back to Chaing Mai. A large part of the secretariat activities during this month were spent in organising the 2nd WS and preparing for the Steering Committee meeting.
The main activities carried out were the Steering Committee meeting and the 2nd CMLN Regional Workshop. Participants in the Steering Committee meeting included Maurizio (Chair), Grazia, Jannie,
Noon and Jeremy, with apologies from Chris (IWGIA), Susanne (Swedbio) and Bruce (McKnight). Key issues discussed included;
• The composition of the Steering Committee – with the decision made to include a representative from the sites as well as representatives from AIPP, FPP, IWGIA, TGER and CMLN donors.
• A brief update on activities in each of the sites,
• Project direction including the recommendation to hold the Regional Workshops at 6 monthly intervals,
• Division of tasks of the regional coordinators, development of the website and regional CM database,
• Collaboration with other similar initiatives in the region, and with CM related activities inMyanmar.
The Regional Workshop was held from 11-16 Dec 2006 at Yen Bai Province, Northern Vietnam. This was by all accounts a success with participants actively engaged in the discussion and question periods. The workshop gave an important push for CM approaches in Vietnam. (See CMLN Workshop Report).
A further interesting development of the network in December was the first ever meeting of all the Site/Field Coordinators from the 6 countries discussing the ongoing direction of CMLN. Such a meeting was recommended during the second workshop in Vietnam. This took place in Hanoi before some participants were due to fly home. Discussion included the need for advocacy about CM to convince conservation organization head offices and donors of its value. While country offices were generally more sympathetic of these new approaches, the head offices were less so. A CMLN website was seen as useful for this purpose. Also required were scientific papers from the region and elsewhere which could be used in building arguments.
Material about CM was also required in the national languages in each of the countries, especially in countries like Thailand, Laos, etc where there was still a lot to do to convince central level policy makers. The meeting discussed developing a case study approach where on ground experiences being generated would be documented and collected together in a technical report/publication. Coordinators said they will send short articles or case studies to the secretariat. The IUCN publication Policy Matters takes this approach and this could be made use of. Such a report would also be useful for fundraising for future activities. The meeting was brief and ended with a general agreement that each of the site coordinators would maintain links with each other as well as with the secretariat.
3.2. Project Documents produced during the past 6 months
Table 3: Project Documents
3.3. Financial Management
Financial Management duties are shared by Noon and Ajeen. Noon reports that she takes care of the project financial status, disbursement of funds to the sites, preparing financial reports. The AIPP Finance Manager (Ajeen) looks after book keeping and accounting, and has assisted with secretarial duties. Some difficulty has been noted since the start of the project trying to reconcile the accounting procedures of the site project holders with those of AIPP. Noon reports that ‘CMLN allows the site project holders to follow their own financial policy. Due to the diverse ways of using funds in the different sites, the AIPP FAM said it is difficult to combine these.’ There has also been some difficulty in obtaining receipts for expenses from the sites as the site project holders also need these for auditing purposes.’ In general arrangements for receiving financial reports from the sites have been slow and this has also delayed the preparation of project financial reports. Ongoing attention needs to be paid to improving the efficiency of financial data flow between the sites and the secretariat.
3.4. Development of the project website and database
Noon has put some time into developing a project website over this past 6 months. A web designer was hired and the general website layout has been developed, including a project logo. Noon reports ‘…for further development a contract has been signed between the web master and the CMLN project assistant coordinator on in Jan 07.’
Noon has also been developing a data base which will include information for ‘match-making’ needed technical information. The database will include;
(1) Individuals with CM expertise available for consultancies and/or voluntary support in South-East Asia
(2) NGOs with concern/expertise on CM-relevant fields in South-East Asia
(3) Key documents available to support co-management.
3.5. Collaboration and Overlap with other CM initiatives
3.5.1. Safeguarding Biodiversity for Poverty Reduction Project (SBPRP) – IUCN
The SBPRP is project is being implemented by IUCN as a sub-component of the GMS Biodiversity Corridor Initiative (BCI) Programme being funded by the ADB with a range of partners. The BCI is focused on restoring ecological connectivity and ecosystem services in the corridors between PAs. The SBPRP deals directly with co-management and poverty reduction aspects in protected areas themselves. The scope of work of the SBPRP spans 3 countries (Lao, Cambodia and Vietnam). The project began in June 2006 and ends in Dec 2007 and it has three components – assessment (learning), capacity building, and developing
innovative livelihood approaches to help achieve governance/poverty reduction/biodiversity conservation objectives.
The SBPRP sites all have previous or ongoing ‘collaborative management’ arrangements in place, where partner projects have being working on developing various approaches to co-management for many years already.4 Tim Wong SBPRP Coordinator reports that ‘Despite the fact that these projects (in the 3 countries) are considered to be relatively successful amongst development circles, they remain either mostly project driven (in Cambodia), have failed to really grasp the essence of co-management (in the Vietnam case, the PA authorities seem to think co-management is about convincing local people to help authorities enforce PA laws!), and in the end communities have at most only a small measure of delegated power in local NRM.’
CMLN overlaps to some extent in Laos as the SBPRP are working on the Xe Pian – Dong Hua Sao BCI project, setting up model villages that WWF and the ADB will later replicate. SBPRP is working with these partners to assess and improve existing collaborative arrangements, and assess the impacts of this on poverty and biodiversity (sustainable use). GAPE (the CMLN host organization in Laos) works in both of these NPAs.
3.5.2. Biodiversity Corridor Initiative (BCI) Laos – ADB/WWF
The BCI has seconded 5-6 staff from Xe Pian NPA. GAPE reports that this project may not have been very well thought through, it has a short timeframe and may not achieve all its high objectives. This project was originally envisioned to be implemented in Sanamxay district, Attapeu project. However, the Lao army made it clear that that area cannot be worked in, since there are plans for logging, military development, etc. Therefore, the project was rapidly shifted over to the present area, apparently without much consideration of whether the objectives of the project could be achieved in a different area, and without considering what other activities are already happening.
A further link with CMLN is Swedbio, who have been contracted by SIDA (Sweden) to monitor the BCI, as SIDA is providing funds to BCI.
3.5.3. Learning and Action Network – Equitable Distribution of Costs and Benefits (LAN-EDCB) Initiative – WWF
WWF Indonesia and Philippines (CMLN members) have been involved in discussions within the wider Asian/Pacific WWF Network around the theme of ‘Conservation with Equity’. A workshop was organized in August on developing partnerships with IPs and a framework for equitable alternatives in conservation. A presentation about the Conservation with Equity initiative was planned but not possible during the second regional workshop in Vietnam.
Regional level WWF activities are further subdivided into mainland and Sunda South East Asia. On the mainland cooperation is being built with WWF activities in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. CMLN can play a role here by bringing together co-management experiences from neighbouring protected areas we work in in Cambodia and Laos. In Sunda a Heart of Borneo initiative is being developed which includes Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. The idea is build connections between different initiatives and also get IPs more involved in macro level planning/decision making. This has obvious and direct relevance to CMLN activities in Malaysia and Indonesia. Marine areas are another obvious avenue for building connection between activities in the Sunda region.
3.5.4. Indigenous Community Organising and Leadership Training (ICOLT) – AIPP
This project is also implemented by AIPP and there has been some discussion about allocating CMLN funds to ICOLT for capacity building of community leaders. As a first step community leaders could participate in ICOLT exchange visits and regional meetings. This needs further discussion but it does make sense to integrate 2 AIPP Projects.
Although the CMLN Project has decided that it couldn’t expand at this stage its activities into Myanmar, the CM approach is considered highly relevant to dealing with the political situation in Myanmar. Due to her links with Myanmar, Noon has spent some time in researching possibilities for implementing CM in Myanmar. Noon
reports ‘While doing data collation, Noon found that Loi Mwe in Eastern Part of Shan state is one of the protected areas which is in the IUCN category IV…. Loi Mwe which was identified as a protected area by UNEP, UNDP and IUCN now highly deforested.’ The CMLN approach is an obvious path for changing the situation in Myanmar by bringing people to participate in decision making and managing the natural resources from the local to the national level. Tripartite Dialogue is what ethnic peoples in Myanmar are calling for, with the aim to bring ethnic nationalities of Myanmar for meaningful participation in the negotiations towards the establishment of democratic practices, institutions and governance in Myanmar.
During her leave Noon visited Loi Mwe, during a visit to attend the Thai Dai Symposium Study which was held in Zibsuangbana, Yunnan province, China form 5 to 8 October 2006. Noon also translated the 3 page summary of CMLN and parts of the CMLN inception report into Shan to get feed back from leaders who would be coming to the seminar. She wanted to ask the leaders whether CMLN could be the best technique to enhance local people’s participation in managing their natural resources and land.
Noon notes however that seemingly, the information that she sent was not enough to make people aware what CMLN really is. There are many issues that need to be solved in this circumstance. The local institutes do not have enough human resources to transform conflicts which have been going on for decades. Government policies have isolated people from education, accessing information and communicating in and outside of the country which is a big block for development.
Links were also made with organizations working on Burmese issues especially with relation to National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plans CBD discussions – Karen Environmental and Social Action Network, National Youth Forum, Environmental DESK, Shan SAPAWA Environmental Organization, Network for Economic and Environmental Development, Lahu National Development organization, Kachin Environmental Organization, Shan Women’s Action Network and the Environmental Investigation Agency, etc.
4. Achievements of the CMLN Project
4.1. Defining CM in the South East Asian context.
The opening remarks in the introduction of this report from Prawit, Thai CMLN Coordinator, explain the potential and the need for co-management approaches in the region, and the challenges to realizing this potential. These challenges are real with similar top down approaches to forest management in nearly all the countries in this network. There seems to be a general difficulty in understanding exactly how CM would apply in these circumstances. In some cases the term CM could be being over used for any number of park management activities (Thailand) and in others the park authorities wish to maintain strong control over how it is implemented (Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam). In all the countries however work has started in opening up policy discussion, building relationships and in finding ways forward by working together. At the same time concepts of CM and what is achievable in each of the country contexts are being redefined. This is perhaps the key and core benefit of the CMLN Project.
In Malaysia for example implementation of CM has been a process of finding the right pace suitable for Sabah Parks and the local communities. In Laos and several other countries concepts of co-governance need to be tempered by the realities and the focus for CMLN needs to be more on defining what are the first steps needed in order to reach the ultimate co-governance goal. In perhaps all countries in the network a key element necessary for co-management is competent well organized community organizations, who are confident with and proud of their own cultural identity. This community capacity building/cultural strengthening element has and will be a key focus of activities of the CMLN Project.
Adrian, the Malaysia CMLN Coordinator comments in an article published in PACOS’ (CMLN host organization) community bulletin – CMLN: a win-win deal for all; ‘Success or failure? Obviously it is too early to tell at this stage. But what is absolutely certain is that the CMLN has opened a new episode in relation to indigenous people’s affairs. For the first time in this country, a concrete effort has been taken to include their interest in the protection of areas deemed a national asset.’
4.2. Increasing community ownership
It is clear that the community are taking over more and more ownership of the running of CMLN activities in Malaysia. In Cambodia also the communities insisted on selecting their candidate to attend the CMLN Regional Workshop. In Laos, while there is still resistance, the community research activities are now
accepted by the Lao government counterparts. The 3 month report from GAPE states ‘
The biggest upcoming change will be the decreased emphasis on eco-tourism and greater focus on community driven activities…
Instead of the activities being led by the government we have been focusing on community led activities… Currently, there is definitely more momentum in the project than before.’
4.3. Increasing cooperation between CMLN host organization and government partners.
The regional workshops seem to be playing an important role in breaking down resistance to co-management approaches amongst government/PA staff. This seems to have been the case with Vietnamese officials after the first CMLN Workshop in Sabah and also after their study tour to the Philippines. In Laos also their 3 month report comments ‘Moreover, there seems to have been an awakening regarding co-management, this, in part, may be attributed to the visit to Vietnam in December where the team was exposed to new ideas but, continued discussions about co-management have also been useful.’
Even the Philippines delegation, who are the most advanced in implementing CM activities in the network, commented after the second workshop they didn’t realize before that they are seen as leaders in CM in the region, especially government agencies actively supporting and creating the momentum for co-management. This government support and the degree of community level involvement were 2 key messages which the Vietnamese delegation were able to take back with them after their study tour there.
4.4. Increasing openness and acceptance of CM at the policy level
After the second regional workshop in Vietnam, important national level Vietnamese government staff gave their support to the pilot co-management activities being implemented by FFI/CMLN. In Indonesia there are some interesting activities underway to try and define what co-management will actually look like in terms of division of tasks and reaching agreement on these amongst all the stakeholders, including the many communities. In Cambodia the national level is supportive of community management, but despite approving many community protected areas throughout the country there is still confusion amongst national park staff about what this means and what actually is the role of local communities in park management. The CMLN Project is trying to define this community role in Laos, Thailand and Malaysia.
4.5. Exchanges and monitoring visits
As discussed the major exchange visit carried out during this 6 month period has been the visit of a Vietnamese government/FFI delegation to the CMLN Philippines site. In addition as a result of greater familiarity between the network members plans are now being made for visits between Malaysia and Indonesia and perhaps also Laos and Cambodia.
Visits were also made by the regional coordinators to Laos in November. This helped build understanding of the project by the Lao counterparts and helped the CMLN coordinators get a better understanding of the CM issues which the Lao CMLN project has to deal with. Noon was also able to familiarize herself with the situation in Cambodia.
4.6. Meeting of the Steering Committee
This was a further sign of the support shown by several organizations and individuals to this project, and confirmation that CMLN had by now established itself and was making plans for the future. Luckily we were able to have Grazia, Maurizio and Jannie at the meeting. Chris was also able to make important contributions to project planning and direction by participating in 2 management team meetings during the past 6 months.
4.7. Fund raising/co-funding
Apart from the important progress in each of the sites, a major achievement was the securing of funding from both Swedbio and McKnight Foundation so the CMLN Project could continue to function. Both donors showed real support for a unique project in this area of the world.
Fund raising disappointments have been the delay in the approval from Misereor for activities in Thailand, but funding has finally been approved as of April 2007. CMLN Malaysia have also been unsuccessful in their fundraising efforts.
To compensate however co-funding arrangements have been able to be developed with WWF Philippines and Indonesia, and FFI Vietnam. The co-funding arrangement developed with FFI Vietnam means that co-
management activities will be able to continue until June 2008, or 9 months after the closure of the Hoang Lien Son Project in Sept 2007.
5. Issues and Areas for Improvement
5.1. Project Management
In some ways management of a complex project like CMLN is less than ideal with one part time coordinator, and another full time secretariat coordinator in Chaing Mai. Project management tasks have been conducted more slowly than expected. While it is possible to keep up with the day to day running of the project, reporting requirements etc, there is little coordination time going into proactively moving the project forward and helping the site coordinators with technical issues. For example a key part of the project is to develop PAR programmes in each of the sites. The site coordinators have largely had to develop these programmes themselves. Fortunately however these coordinators are all experienced and know their sites well and some innovative PAR programmes have been developed. It is important that the project coordinators backstop these programmes where possible. Another planned activity which hasn’t yet been implemented are the regular (3 monthly) CMLN bulletins.
One of the coordination problems has been the amount of time which has gone into fund raising. This problem continued into this 6 month period with time spent on developing a proposal for funding for Thailand. The approval of these funds however will significantly reduced any funding shortfall in year 2 of this project.
5.2. Conflicting roles of project personnel
Laos mentioned the problem of time management in implementing CMLN activities. It is fair to say that this has been a problem in several countries of the network. Nearly all people involved in the network have other work commitments. There are several job sharing arrangements to accommodate this. As was pointed out during the Steering Committee meeting this division of coordination tasks between 2 or 3 people will make project monitoring complicated, differentiating the time people are spending on CMLN activities from closely related activities, which may actually be in the same community. It is also not that clear at times what is the relative priority of CMLN activities with regard to these other commitments people have. These commitments have meant also that communication between the sites, the CMLN secretariat and the project organizers has not been as consistent and effective as it could have been.
5.3. The Role of CMLN
One question which needs to be more clearly defined is whether CMLN is a separate initiative, or whether it is intended to compliment and strengthen existing initiatives in the sites which are working for more equitable management of protected areas. Each country has a different way of implementing the CMLN Project. In countries such as Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam the CMLN Project is complimenting existing activities. In the other countries CMLN has to work out how it cooperates with other similar initiatives working within the same protected area. The lack of funding in Malaysia and Thailand has meant it has been necessary to cooperate with other initiatives, and this has blurred the distinctiveness of CMLN.
One of the intended roles of the CMLN Project has been in influencing policy at the national level. It is too early to tell how effective this will be, but as discussed above the project has already ‘caught the eye and interest’ of national level policy makers in Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia. In Indonesia and Philippines national level discussions are underway and CMLN is assisting this. In the case of Laos and Thailand the contact with the policy level has not as yet been part of activities. In both these countries CMLN is initiating interesting and important pilot activities which must eventually be bought to the attention of policy makers Some thought needs to go into working out how to do this. As was seen in the recent workshop in Vietnam the CMLN Project, involving as it does 7 neighbouring and friendly countries brings a level of influence not possible with projects only working in one country. This advocacy potential needs to be strategically exploited.
5.4. Can CM improve Biodiversity?
The comments by Prawit in the introduction suggests the great potential that exists by a more widespread application of co-management. The results of the interesting work in the Philippines, paying communities to protect watersheds, shows that logging has been reduced and communities are at present able to replace this
income with monitoring and reforestation activities. This is an indication of the potential which Prawit rightly points out.
The other link which is relevant for biodiversity conservation and which the CMLN Project is focusing on is the link between culture and conservation. Community management based on cultural norms is being developed in one way or another in all the CMLN countries. In Laos community representatives surprisingly (given the fact they had only been in the area for 50 years) had certain areas in the national park which they wanted to protect for cultural reasons. In other words more important than ‘sense of home’ rooted in a certain place, was the cultural attitude which meant that wherever ‘home’ is it needs to be looked after and protected. Part of ‘culture’ is a set of skills, knowledge and community organization which allows for the proper management of these areas. These it seems are transferable from one place to the other and this is something which CMLN in Malaysia is also dealing with as the target community have also only relatively recently translocated to their present area.
The biggest challenge is however generational changes which mean that younger people growing up in a new (perhaps less remote) area are exposed to new values and technologies. In some cases this means the forest is less relied on for traditional livelihoods and/or new uses and relationships need to be developed. A key challenge for CMLN is to find ways where the young and old can develop ‘co-management’ arrangements within their own communities, to make sure any agreements made with government agencies are agreed on and will be adhered to by all members of the community.
5.5. External Factors
As has been seen in the recent coup d’état in Thailand, the South East Asia is a volatile area. Meetings were not able to be held immediately after the coup and such events have the potential to negatively impact on planned CMLN activities such as regional workshops. The fact that several countries and government representatives are involved in these workshops raises their profile and makes the project activities more vulnerable to political changes. Perhaps also however the holding of a workshop discussing strengthening governance rights of indigenous minority communities in Vietnam was somewhat of a ‘coup’ in itself and the political risks have to be weighed against the potential political advantages of this project.
The CMLN Project is now well established and functioning even if setting it up in 7 different countries took longer than originally thought. This project establishment also continued into the first 6 months of the project phase. The project is now also much more securely funded.
There is a lot of work to do yet over the remaining 18 months to ensure the potential and early indications turn into concrete results. Coordination and assistance with technical issues, was one of the promises made in the design of the project. Hopefully over the coming months it will be possible to give this more focus.
However one thing is clear the CMLN Project is perhaps now a much looser network than was originally envisaged. This has partly been necessary because of the difficulty in achieving full funding, and also because CMLN has to compete for peoples time with other related activities. The WWF Coordinator in Indonesia commented on this;
‘Although this might not be what was initially envisioned, it still makes the CMLN a worthwhile and important experience on precisely "learning" and "sharing lessons learned" about CM among the sites in SE Asia. We started with a great workshop in Sabah, if we can continue with the remaining 3 "learning" workshops to get everybody leveled off on CM (implementation will vary depending on policies and laws and priorities in the different countries and sites), I think we have accomplished a lot. Knowing that we are all learning about CM does a lot to draw closer ties among the projects, but it might take sometime to overcome obstacles like language and different conditions of implementation.’
With the establishment phase and now 2 regional workshops completed it is important for network members to discuss amongst themselves and in the upcoming workshops on the direction and functioning of CMLN over the next 18 months and beyond. Stage 2 of this project envisages strengthened in-country programmes in each of the 7 countries. There needs to be some discussion of what advocacy is required and how the advocacy potential of the CMLN Project can be used for best effect in each of the countries. It is important to understand how CM can be adapted to each of the situations in the different countries. By now there is a familiarity between the network members and this social asset needs to be capitalized on for shared learning, support, and for developing common yet different directions for CM in the future.
7. Recommendations (from CMLN members and elsewhere)
• Gather information about successful CM elsewhere and circulate.
• Exchange the community newsletters which each of the sites has produced.
• Conduct anthropological/ethnographic trainings on ‘Understanding our own and other cultures’, to counter ingrained prejudice that IPs cannot manage PAs.
• Prepare a video documentary about CM in each of the countries for national broadcasting.
• Documentaries from all the countries could be combined and edited to show CMLN activities in SE Asia.
• Produce regular (3 monthly) summaries of CMLN activities for wider distribution.
• Organise Co-management workshops/fora with other organizations for local and higher government members government to improve awareness of the importance of CM through, change their vision and improve acceptance and trust in the co-management approach.
• Conduct study tours on co-management for village leaders and representatives of local government to support to field based implementation.
• Train village leaders and representatives of local government in Participatory Action Research techniques to build capacity to implement CM.
Achievements of the CMLN Project
Inception Phase – Dec 2005 – June 2006
First 6 Months of the Project Phase – July – Dec 2006
There is by now a much better understanding and acceptance of co-management approaches in the 7 CMLM sites. This has also translated into greater acceptance of these approaches at the policy level especially in Vietnam and Malaysia as a result of the 2 regional workshops held there.