2006 HO CHI MINH CITY STATEMENT ON MANAGING FORESTS FOR POVERTY REDUCTION
3-6 October 2006 Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
In consideration of the following:
The Millennium Development Goals aim, among others, to halve poverty by 2015 and promote environmental stability.
Forests can greatly contribute to poverty reduction while providing environmental services, considering their vast coverage, abundant resources, and the millions of people depending on them for subsistence and survival.
Demands on forests and trees are increasing, with about 1.6 billion people relying heavily on forest resources for their livelihoods.
Some 350 million of the world’s poorest people are heavily dependent on the forests for their survival.
In most forested areas, the biggest value and income opportunities come from timber harvesting and wood processing.
Forest resources can generate substantial capital and spur economic growth but forest wealth has generally not been shared equitably, especially with the rural poor and disadvantaged.
Community management and protection responsibilities already provide services which must be recognized in the form of government compensation or payment for environmental services.
Policy, institutional, socio-economic, market, and technical barriers exist in many countries, constraining the potential of forest management to reduce poverty.
Policies, laws and rules are rarely well-implemented in a way that reduces poverty due to lack of effective and efficient monitoring and control systems.
Adherence to sustainable forest management principles and practices is fundamental to successful implementation of pro-poor programs and projects.
Community based forestry is one of the key strategies in promoting sustainable forest management and in reducing poverty in rural areas.
Timber is often out of poor people’s reach but, where rights and policy framework is favorable, evidence is growing that small and medium forestry enterprises can reduce poverty.
New trends with respect to markets, technologies and institutions offer ample opportunities for employment and generate income in rural areas.
There is a pressing need for the different stakeholders including policy makers/decision-makers, development and donor organizations, development practitioners, private sectors, and local communities to work collectively to enhance the contribution of forest management and timber harvesting in poverty reduction, thereby contributing to the overall achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
THEREFORE, WE THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE 2006 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MANAGING FORESTS FOR POVERTY REDUCTION HEREBY CALL FOR:
Policy Makers/Decision-makers to
Improve access to, and expand opportunities for management of forest resources by the poor, by creating or reviewing policies that will enable local communities and individual households to economically benefit from these resources taking into account traditional rights, knowledge systems and social values.
Simplify forest policies, laws and regulations on forest resource allocation, harvesting, transporting, processing and marketing and benefit sharing and enforce them equitably.
Facilitate and promote formation and operation of community based organizations and ensure their empowerment and capacity building.
Institutionalize a comprehensive support system and incentives to promote the development of community based small and medium scale wood-based enterprises supportive of poverty alleviation.
Integrate forest and natural resources into the countries’ poverty reduction strategic plan.
Develop policies on devolution of sustainable forest management practices to include economic partnerships between communities/households and private sectors for achieving poverty reduction objectives.
Develop and strengthen partnerships of local communities with civil society organizations.
Ensure regular monitoring and evaluation of policy implementation.
Forest-related Development Organizations and Donors to
Support and monitor the formulation and implementation of forest policies, programs and projects that will enable poor people to have access, control and benefits over valuable timber resources in addition to other forest resources.
Develop and implement initiatives and methodologies that strengthen the rights, capabilities and decision-making power by local communities to sustainably manage forest resources and benefit from the commercial use of these resources
Facilitate effective dialogue and participatory planning and agreement among stakeholders (public sector, private sector, local communities) towards sustainable forest management and poverty reduction
Facilitate design of methodologies and local development processes that will ensure that poor people will benefit most from sustainable forest management utilization and high value forest resources, using a people centered development approach which promotes inclusion, equity, works in the context of the existing social, institutional framework and builds on indigenous knowledge.
Ensure sustainability of development initiatives and benefits to the poor after project completion.
Support and develop monitoring and evaluation mechanisms and research that assess socio-economic impacts and document and analyze the contribution of forests in poverty reduction.
Improve coordination between development and donor agents, and facilitate linkages between private sector, public sector and local communities in order to ensure their access to information and knowledge which promotes a pro-poor focus.
Promote pro-poor forest enterprise development which is market driven and pays attention to poor people's capacities and potentials. (eg: quick return silvo-pastoral systems, simple technology.)
Raise awareness of how to link enterprise/business development with livelihood improvement processes which make sense to and are determined by the poor.
Private sector to
Contribute to the development and operation of small and medium forest enterprises that will be of mutual benefit and at the same time support poverty reduction activities.
Establish mutually beneficial partnerships (medium to long term) with the local communities/ households and associations to harness the social economic potentials of sustainable forest management and utilization.
Apply appropriate technology, make investment in forest resource rehabilitation, human resource development, and promote market access for the poor people to benefit from forest harvesting and processing.
Improve their social responsibilities towards their own employees.
Local communities to
Establish meaningful partnership with other stakeholders to sustainably manage forest and forest enterprises and maximize benefit from their operations.
Institutionalize local mechanisms to ensure more equitable benefit sharing and gender mainstreaming from responsible forest management and utilization.
Institute a sense of responsibility, accountability and transparency among local community members to ensure that harvesting privileges and management of group funds will not be misused.
Adopt business approaches to the management of their forest resources.
Ensure that voices of women and other disadvantaged groups are represented in the decision making and benefit-sharing.
Mobilize their natural and human resources to generate financial and other social capitals.
Play more proactive role in the policy making processes for forest management such as land allocation, land use rights, forest product trades, etc.