Governance study of Community-Based Forest Management Systems (CBFMS) completed in Myanmar

   TwitCount

The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism (REDD+) is designed for developing countries where, coincidentally, Community-Based Forest Management Systems (CBFMS) have become more popular. In 2002, about 22% of the total forest area was legally under CBFMS and in 2007, it increased to 27%. Eventually, forest management regimes in developing countries could be dominated by CBFMS. 

Dr Tek Maraseni from the University of Southern Queensland, along with Griffith University in Australia and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in Japan, has developed a methodology to evaluate the quality of forest governance in developing countries. The methodology employs both a top-down and bottom-up approach, includes multi-stakeholders, and uses multilevel and multistage consultation processes. This methodology was tested in Nepal’s community forestry with funding support from IGES, and in Papua New Guinea with support from the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), Japan.

Dr Tek Maraseni, University of Southern Queensland presents the results of the study
Photo: Nabin Bhattarai/ICIMOD

To replicate and customize using a normative framework of principles, criteria and indicators, this study aimed to assess governance quality and develop “verifiers” for eleven governance indicators for CBFMS at local, sub-national and national levels in four countries—Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Mizoram in India.

A total of 30 participants attended a consultative workshop organized in Nyung Shw, Myanmar on 19 February 2018. At the workshop Maraseni shed light on the background of the study and presented the results before conducting ranking of verifiers. He said, “Governance is understood as ‘governance as a structure’ and ‘governance as a process’, and the higher the interaction with the structure and process the better the governance quality.”

Participants at the consultative workshop, Myanmar
Photo: Nabin Bhattarai/ICIMOD

A total of 94 questionnaires were collected for Myanmar. Data collection was carried out at three different levels for each country i.e. local, sub-national and national. In Myanmar, 30 questionnaires for local, 34 for sub-national and 30 for national level were collected. The study revealed that the durability of community forests is the most important indicator of quality governance in CBFMs. According to Maraseni, governance in CBFMs in Myanmar is better compared to governance in REDD+.  

Maraseni said it took seven years to complete all the steps for assessing the governance quality of REDD+ in Nepal and Papua New Guinea. 

The participants were provided with a list of verifiers for each indicator. They were requested to make the refinement for the verifiers and finally to rank the verifiers on the basis of their importance. This was done because the government cannot implement all the verifiers at once; ranking helps the government to prioritize its actions and resources to help improve the governance of CBFMs.