What's next for social forestry in ASEAN countries?

152 stakeholders identify needs and priorities for future investment

The decade-long ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC) ended in February 2020. It aimed to boost social forestry and address climate change in ASEAN Member States. To understand the achievements of the ASFCC and help shape future investments in social forestry, RECOFTC surveyed ASFCC stakeholders. More than 150 shared their ideas.

Respondents said the ASFCC was a transformative, high-impact initiative conducted over a long enough timeline to make real change. Among its greatest achievements were the way it changed mindsets, changed policies and helped countries adapt to climate change.  

Stakeholders attributed these achievements to the project design: flexibility; credible and diverse implementing partners; a 10-year timeframe; competent management; and the project’s direct links to the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) and the ASEAN Secretariat. The AWG-SF is an advisory body to ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF), which drives the policy and cooperation agenda for forestry in ASEAN. 

How do we build on that success? What are the greatest needs today in ASEAN member states? And what are the highest priorities for investment? 

Priorities for a future social forestry initiative 

Looking to the future, stakeholders said the most urgent priorities that a social forestry initiative in ASEAN should address are insecure land tenure, climate change and food insecurity. 

Top 3 priorities for a future social forestry initiative
Source: RECOFTC survey, 2020

Stakeholders called for actions to strengthen forest governance, increase the forest area managed by communities and secure the tenure rights of local communities. Moreover, they said there is a need to improve cooperation among ASEAN Member States on social forestry. 

To improve cooperation among ASEAN Member States, stakeholders outlined four key priorities: 

  1. Exchange learning and experiences among Member States
  2. Develop guidelines for accessing markets and increasing trade in forest products from social forestry areas
  3. Develop an ASEAN framework linking social forestry to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda
  4. Develop a social forestry database to improve information and knowledge management, decision-making, planning, monitoring and evaluation, and tracking of progress toward national, regional and international goal
Top 4 priorities to improve cooperation among ASEAN Member States on social forestry
Source: RECOFTC survey, 2020

RECOFTC is now using the results of the survey and consultations to develop proposals for new social forestry initiatives. For more information on the survey's findings and RECOFTC's ideas for action, contact



RECOFTC’s work is made possible with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).