Laos, Finland and World Bank cooperate in sustainable forestry management
(KPL) The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and donors of the Sustainable Forestry and Rural Development Project (SUFORD) were satisfied with the progress that had been achieved.
Deputy-Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Tri Phommachack, who was at the steering committee meeting for the fiscal year 2009-2010, held in Vientiane on 20 September, said that the SUFORD project was a trilateral cooperative project of Laos, Finland and the World Bank, of which was officially approved in 2004.
He said that the first SUFORD project was implemented over a nine-month period, February 2004 to December 2008, in four provinces, Khammouane, Savannakhet, Saravane and Champassak.
The aims of this project were to secure a steady and sustainable supply of timber, to provide watershed protection and carbon storage and to ensure that the local people were able to make a living from the forests.
Based on the evaluation exercises carried out by the World Bank and SUFORD’s steering committee, the governments of Laos and Finland, the World Bank decided to broaden the project by incorporating the coverage of another five provinces, Sayaboury, Vientiane, Borikhamsay, Sekong and Attapeu.
The implementation commenced in 2009 and would run till 2011, said Dr Tri.
Up to now, the Lao government has designated 3.1 million hectares of forest, to be managed under a set of guidelines, Production Forest Area (PFAs), said Deputy Head of SUFORD’s project, Mr. Bounpone Sengthong.
In order to manage such a large tract of forest the government outlined the Participatory Sustainable Forest Management (PSFM) model, comprising a comprehensive set of sophisticated management guidelines, a monitoring system and an extensive capacity building programme, added Dr Tri.
Using the international best practices system, the PFA strived to maximise the value of the harvested timber and that each cubic metre generated as much as US$67, inclusive of royalties and wages.
Another outcome of the PFA management system was that it had a positive environmental impact, resulting in reduced emission from deforestation and degradation.
Up to now, the Sustainable Forestry and Rural Development Project has given more than 31.5 billion kip to target villages in 188 districts of Khammouane, Savannakhet, Saravane and Champassak provinces.
The World Band and the Finnish government have donated US$23.5 million to fund the operations of this project.
Source: KPL Lao News Agency
September 23, 2010