Asia-Pacific Forest Communicators Network

Communication workshop in Incheon, Korea

17 June 2019, Incheon, Korea

Communicating effectively about forestry to the media and the wider world was the focus of a communication workshop attended by 25 participants from 11 countries as part of Asia-Pacific Forestry Week in Incheon, Korea, this week.

 ©Pier Andrea Pirani

Designed to boost regional capacity and encourage knowledge sharing, the two-day interactive workshop was co-organised by the Asia-Pacific Forest Communicators Network, the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with the support of Austria and the Finnish Forest Association.

Workshop participants learned about the importance of advocacy, including how to reach audiences using clear, concise and colourful key messages on sustainable forest management. They also tackled how to handle the media. This included preparing for interviews to ensure that journalists get the soundbites and information they need, as well as organizing successful media field trips that inspire reporters to write about sustainable forest management.

The workshop also included hands-on visual media training in which participants gained video and photography skills for content creation.

Participants were able to put their new skills into practice during a simulated media field trip as they headed out into local sustainably managed forest and learned how to question forestry experts as journalists.

Leaders from the Regional Forest Communicators Networks from Asia-Pacific and Europe provided their expertise and shared best practices during the workshop.

The Regional Forest Communicators Networks is a network of nearly 500 professionals from governments, the private sector and international and national organizations that promotes communication and dialogue on forestry issues worldwide. Members liaise to improve forest communication and work to develop professionalism among forest communicators.

Workshop: training focuses on reaching key audiences with forest-related messaging

28 September 2018, Bandung, Indonesia

Successful communication requires carefully developed messaging that ‘speaks’ clearly and directly to the most important target audiences, specialists in forest-related outreach explained during a training workshop for the Asia-Pacific Forest Communicators Network.

@RECOFTC/Detty Saluling

Twenty-two participants from eight countries are participating in this interactive workshop organized by FAO and The Centre for People and Forests (RECOFTC) in Bandung, Indonesia, with generous financial support from Austria and Finland. The workshop, ‘Getting the message across: Communication strategies for the digital age’, was designed to boost regional learning and to encourage knowledge sharing while providing state-of-the-art training in forest communications.

“Besides reaching decision-makers, it is helpful for communicators to identify and influence thought leaders and champions who are trusted in their communities, in order to effectively spread messaging,” explained Kai Lintunen, Head of International Communications for the Finnish Forest Association and Leader of the UNECE-FAO Forest Communicators Network. “Messaging should be positive, credible, relevant, clear and brief and expressed in language accessible to the audience. This can be especially important in reaching new audiences outside the forestry sector. Offer solutions, not problems.”

Maria De Cristofaro, Forestry Officer, Outreach and Capacity Building at FAO, described the importance of ensuring that gender is taken into account when formulating communication strategies and emphasized that gender equality needs to be addressed at the early stages in order to maximise outreach.

Hands-on training sessions allow workshop participants to practice new skills in effective communication, including break-out groups that ask participants to develop interview questions and answers based on forestry-related scenarios.

According to the Acting Strategic Communication Manager of RECOFTC and the Leader of the Asia-Pacific Forest Communicators Network, Detty Saluling, “Forests in the Asia-Pacific play a significant role in global social and economic development, including climate change and other key forestry challenges. It is important that forest communicators and practitioners in the region are equipped with up-to-date communication skills and tools and a strong network to effectively contribute to forestry programmes and priorities such as sustainable forests management, climate change mitigation and adaption, curbing illegal logging and forests fires, etc.”

Workshop: Enhancing skills on forest communication in Asia and the Pacific

25 February 2016, Pampanga, Philippines

More than 40 communication managers and foresters working on forest communication from 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region came together to enhance their communication skills at an interactive workshop organized by the Asia-Pacific Forest Communication Network (APFCN), with support from RECOFTC and FAO.

©World Agroforestry Centre/Amy Lumban Gaol

Through role play, participants learnt about the different kinds of communication approaches including participatory development communication, a technique which enables local communities to identify their own development needs and the specific actions that could help improve their livelihoods.

Five presenters from four countries shared best practices, showcased their experiences, with topics including sharing research-based information on sunflower as organic fertilizer in Ifugao, Philippine rice terraces, and awareness tools to facilitate community learning processes in Jember, East Java, Indonesia.

Maria de Cristofaro, FAO Forestry, Communications and Outreach Officer, led a section on building relations with the media. Some tips shared included how to make contact with media, to identify a story, to pitch, run a press conference, handle media requests and deal with television interviews.  Kay Montgomery of the Africa Forest Communicators Network and Colin Morton of the UNECE-FAO European Forest Communicators Network also shared experiences in their own regions with the group. Kai Lintunen, Communication Manager for the Finnish Forest Association, presented the challenges and opportunities of communicating effectively about forestry in a fast changing world.

The workshop brought together 10 previous network members with 30 new members, adding to the network’s reach. Participants presented ways to strengthen the network during 2016 to the Asia-Pacific Forest Commission (APFC) on the final day of Asia-Pacific Forestry Week, urging forest bodies to include strategic communication as a fundamental part of every forest programme and calling for communication capacity development to improve forest communication.

Workshop: Working with local communities in forest landscapes

12-15 May 2015, Bangkok, Thailand

Over thirty communication experts, natural resources managers and foresters from over ten countries in the Asia-Pacific region met to learn about participatory development communication approaches in working with local communities.

Facilitated by FAO and The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC), the capacity building workshop gave participants an overview of the participatory approach, which enables local communities to identify their own development needs and the specific actions that could help improve their livelihoods.

Participants learned how to plan, implement, and monitor and evaluate a participatory development communication strategy and plan, as well as how to work with local media and identify suitable communication channels such as rural radio and theatre groups to ensure messages reach target audiences.

Workshop: Strengthening Forest Communications in the Asia Pacific

17-19 September 2013, Hanoi, Vietnam

 Twenty-six communication and forestry officers from both private and public sector organisations throughout the Asia-Pacific region gathered in Hanoi to discuss and identify regional opportunities for collaboration in forest communication issues and knowledge sharing. The meeting resulted in wide-ranging agreement on the need for a communication network and a working group was formed to define the details of how the network will be formed and operated. The working group reported on the development and activities of the communication network at the 25th session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) in New Zealand, in November 2013. 


last updated:  Monday, December 9, 2019