ASSESSING FOREST GOVERNANCE IN MYANMAR
Myanmar is losing its natural forests, with devastating impacts on the lives of millions of people. The losses are killing the country’s rich biodiversity and undermining its economy. One of the main drivers is weak governance. RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, working with civil society partners as part of the European Union-funded Voices for the Mekong Forests (V4MF) project, is
seeking to better understand the governance challenges and opportunities in Myanmar’s forestry sector, as well as putting forward a programme to address these through the empowerment of non-state actors (NSAs). This brief summarizes the results of a forest governance assessment carried out in late 2017 and early 2018, and proposes interventions to address the issues identified. The participants, including representatives of government, civil society, and local communities, felt that various challenges permeate all areas of forest governance in the country. There was a feeling that, while the policies and legislation provide a strong foundation, this is undermined by systematic issues in the implementation, enforcement and compliance. The recommendations include the establishment of a forest governance monitoring system. Additionally, a systematic capacity development programme is proposed including a programme to increase the knowledge and skills of civil society on technical (e.g. timber legality) and operational (i.e. project management) issues. The project partners will work with various stakeholders, particularly NSAs including civil society, to implement a programme to address the challenges and opportunities identified.