Swedish, Swiss Ambassadors, Norwegian Embassy Visit RECOFTC Field Project in Prednai, Thailand to Deepen Understandings of Forest Restoration and Local Livelihoods
On 20-21 April, RECOFTC and partners visited mangrove forest communities in Prednai and Tha Ra Nae in Trat province, Thailand to learn from their forest restoration journey. The delegation included the Ambassador of the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok, the Ambassador of the Embassy of Switzerland in Bangkok, and representatives from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Bangkok and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, along with the Executive Director of RECOFTC and programme staff.
Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber, Embassy of Switzerland in Bangkok, said “The two-day trip was an important opportunity for us to directly interact with local communities and learn about their challenges. Such visits are important not only for us to learn about the on the ground situation, but also to receive important inputs from grassroots communities and organizations like RECOFTC who work with them, so that we can provide inputs to policy-makers of respective governments as part of their regional strategy in this region. The field visit offered privileged and compelling insights into RECOFTC’s activities in those two projects and in fulfilling its mandate.”
"The field trip to Trat province with RECOFTC was an extremely inspiring experience. First and foremost because of the people we met and their dedication to community forestry, and their ways of preserving nature and improving their livelihoods. The results are impressive. We had the opportunity to experience, hands on, the magic of the restored mangrove forests – it was just unforgettable. I was particularly happy to see how youth from the communities have become engaged.We are proud to be a partner of such a professional organization," said Swedish Ambassador Staffan Herrström, Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok.
The field visit aimed to deepen understanding of the participants of the current situation of community forestry and natural resource management in Thailand, through interactions with local people in the Prednai community mangrove forest and its network. The trip also explored the impacts of RECOFTC’s work with partners to enhance local community capacities for sustainable forest management.
Local community members have developed and are actively implementing a community management plan for the sustainable management of forests and natural resources. The plan is comprised of research, information dissemination, conservation, networking with other sub-districts, and capacity building for the community. As a result, the community has improved their livelihoods and the sustainable use forests. For example, the Prednai community established a Mangrove Community Forest Fund which was used to buy a degraded area that was formerly a shrimp farming area of about 20 hectares, and has successfully rehabilitated the mangrove ecosystems and increased mangrove forest area.