FLOURISH hosts national level inception workshop

More than 50 participants joined RECOFTC to discuss the promising project in Xaiyabouly, Lao PDR

In the northwest Lao province of Xayabouli, over 50 individuals joined RECOFTC at a national level inception workshop to discuss RECOFTC's newest project, FLOURISH.

FLOURISH comes at an opportune time for the region, as forest landscape restoration (FLR) becomes increasingly prevalent as a method to combat deforestation and promote sustainable reforestation. And as deforestation trends increase, heavily restricting the economic viability of current forest restoration efforts, FLR can be utilized as a necessary antidote.

"In light of these significant changes to the region's forest landscapes," notes the project brochure, "Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) could prove an effective win-win solution for sustainable forest management."  

The ways in which FLR could improve restoration and increase profit were heavily discussed at the workshop, which included stakeholders from provincial and district agriculture and forest offices (Xaiyabouly, Bokeo, Luangprabang), private sector companies like Burapha, local sawmills, the banking industry, and project staff from Clipad and ICBF projects.

Including multiple stakeholders is one of the fundamental aspects of FLOURISH according to Dr. Chandra Silori of RECOFTC. "Having various partners in the room is an added advantage to explore partnerships and synergies with ongoing initiatives on FLR and private sector engagement," Dr. Silori wrote, emphasizing the necessity of having many voices around the table.

The workshop thus focused on building a common understanding and appreciation among the diverse participants about the project's scope, objectives and activities, while crafting an action plan for year one of the project's implementation.

Mr. Khamlar Phiewvanna, Head of the Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO) in Xaiyabouly Province, underscored the magnitude of the inception workshop in his closing remarks. "The FLOURISH project workshop was successfully conducted… with over 50 participants [who]... discussed the project background, objectives, outcome, and outputs,” he reminded the room, urging all stakeholders forward.