You are here
Lao PDR has 9.5 million ha of forest cover, representing about 40% of land area. Deforestation rates are very high and as much as 80 percent of the country’s forests are now degraded. Despite government efforts to reverse these negative trends by reducing illegal logging and aggressively prosecuting forest crimes and corruption, considerable damage has already been done. Under this context, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) and the Department of Forestry (DOF) are working to institute stronger measures to foster Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) and to restore deforested areas or highly degraded forests, which incorporates SFM certification, timber legality assurance systems, and reforestation.
SFM certification in Laos and its border countries is still in its infancy. Altogether, only around 135,000 ha are certified as sustainably managed—80 percent which are in plantations in Vietnam and Thailand. In Lao PDR, only 10,949 ha of natural forests and 2,606 ha of plantations were certified as sustainably managed (as of January 2017). Cambodia has only 7,000 ha certified and Myanmar has none.
Barriers to forest certification in Laos include (i) an inadequate enabling environment to foster certification of a significant level for protected forest areas (PFAs) and associated forest products; (ii) lack of perceived benefits; (iii) complex, unclear and prohibitive costs for village plantation group certification; and (iv) lack of a Lao unified group certification system. There is, therefore, a need to develop and disseminate state-of-the-art knowledge in Lao PDR that can demonstrate that forests managed in sustainable ways can provide long-term economic and financial returns for the country, industry and rural communities while generating positive environmental and social benefits.
This activity aims to strengthen understanding of issues, lessons learned and key actions to: i) review forest implementing policies, legal instruments and institutional frames for participatory SFM, forest restoration and reforestation; ii) increase role of certification (sustainability) and verification (legality); and iii) better understanding of the contribution that forests make towards sustainable livelihoods and mitigation of climate change. These outcomes are closely aligned with the Lao PDR Green Growth Development Policy Financing (DPF) operations, which aim to increase Production Forest Area (PFA) Certification to around 230,000 ha from the current 10,949 ha.
The work is being organized into six sub-studies, one final synthesis report, and two validation workshops. The studies will focus on: sustainable forest management; certified wood products; policy support for SFM, chain of custody, and a timber legality assurance scheme; public-private partnerships for forest restoration; economics of certified sustainable forest management; and a retrospective on forest sector development.
- More holistic approaches to SFM, including participatory forest management, restoration and reforestation options and trade-offs;
- Differentiation between participatory SFM in natural forests, especially village forestry, and private sector investments in plantation forests (including through outgrower schemes or smallholder plantations), including fiscal incentives and/or tax exemptions for plantation investors certifying their plantations and/or adopting socially and environmentally responsible approaches;
- The use of certification for proof of sustainability from production forest areas (PFAs) and plantation forests and verification for proof of legality for forest conversion areas for future unimpeded access to the increasing number of countries with public procurement policies requiring these SFM tools;
- Clarifying, streamlining and strengthening the wood products supply and value chains to improve returns to producers and growers;
- Investment into innovative new forest industries technologies to increase utilization efficiency, outturn, conversion factors and added value;
- New modalities for land-use rights, social and environmental standards and benefit sharing for public-private-people (community) partnerships for cooperation to up-scale restoration and reforestation; and vii) application of financial and economic analyses of production forest models, with and without certification and with/without carbon credits to make informed natural and planted forest management policy and investment decisions.
- PMO 9 on use of PFA lands for private industrial plantation forests + MAF Instruction on implementation (2018);
- MAF Ministerial Instruction on Development of TLAS (2018);
- Forestry Law (TLAS implementation; forest management and chain of custody (CoC) certification; PSFM; Plantation forestry in PFAs; Promoting and streamlining smallholder plantation forestry; Promoting private industrial plantation forestry; and village forestry) (2019);
- Decree 96 on Promotion of Commercial Plantation Forests (2019);
- MOIC draft Decision use of CoC certification in the supply chain;
- MOIC draft Regulation of Sale and Purchase of Timber (2nd Log Landing);
- SUFORD-SU satellite assessment of severely degraded forest lands in PFAs suitable for industrial plantation forests (2018);
- Process for enabling private sector for reforestation and restoration in PFAs commenced; and
- Certification process ongoing (FSC FM 85,000 ha; FSC CW 90,000 ha).
- Regular and open dialogue has been established with particularly Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Planning and Investment and Department of Forestry; and the private sector (forest plantation and wood industries sectors), NGOs and CBOs;
- A high level national seminar in March 2018 chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and attended by MAF representatives from 18 provinces and key ministries, the private sector and other key stakeholders. The Seminar outcomes has set stage for potential public-private-people partnerships opportunities in PFAs for forest restoration and reforestation.
- AF-SUPSFM (P170810) (IDA 5m) which was appraised in October 2019, to be negotiated on December 17, 2019.
- Lao Landscapes and Livelihoods (P170559) (IDA 50m + GEF 7.3m), PCN review meeting scheduled for December 16, 2019.
- Green Growth DPO2 (P171431), negotiated and approved in May 2019.
- Performance and Learning Review of the CPF, decision meeting on December 9, 2019.
Last Updated : 06-09-2020
World Bank and PROFOR
Over the past years the Mekong region countries have increased their role in global timber trade and have been a focal point in the global discussion on forest governance and illegal logging. Countries in the region have different and complementing roles in the regional trade but much of the logging in natural forests in the region is still either unsustainable or unauthorized – or both. In all the countries, forest law enforcement and governance (FLEG) has been an actively debated issue.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has made important progress in building regional commitment to improving good governance in the forest sector. The next step would be to develop concrete and substantive local, national and sub-regional forest governance and law enforcement programs and projects to implement the agreed policies in a tangible way.
The objective of the Mekong Project was to build on the political will demonstrated at the FLEG East Asia and Pacific Regional Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia (hosted by the World Bank and Government of Indonesia in September 2001) and in the ASEAN. It aimed to support diagnostics, capacity building, and policy and institutional reforms, through regional and national activities, that would directly address the causes and symptoms of forest crimes and improve forest governance generally.
Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam were the primary focus countries in the region.
The project took a phased approach, first identifying priority areas through multi-stakeholder consultation, and strengthening the knowledge base. Based on the regional consultative process, the next step will be dedicated to preparing and implementing a detailed action plan.
Improving Forest Governance in the Mekong Region, a report outlining options for regional activities improving forest governance in the Mekong region in support of national programs, was published in April 2011. The report is based on a series of workshops and analyses that were conducted in 2009 and 2010, as well as extensive interviews with experts from national and regional programs in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam. Representatives from government, civil society, industry and regional bodies such as ASEAN participated in two workshops held in Lao PDR and Vietnam. Analysis was also made on Myanmar to research potential for involvement in regional activities.
- The first volume presents current FLEG trends in the Mekong region, where countries have taken steps to respond to increased demands for accountability and legality of timber and wood product exports.
- The second volume identifies 13 areas of potential collaboration in the region. All of them:
- include regional components that cover issues common to several Mekong countries but would still support national processe
- utilize existing committees, working groups, forest governance processes and participants rather than establishing new administrative layers
- increase accountability and transparency in decision-making and access to information, and
- focus on building capacity to manage systems and processes beyond the term of project activities.
Author : World Bank and PROFOR
Last Updated : 02-24-2017