Collaboration for Knowledge Sharing
Sri Lanka’s Study Tour Reflection: Cambodia REDD+ Programme’s Experiences on Stakeholder Engagement and Communications.
The Cambodia REDD+ Programme organized a successful study tour from 30th October to 1st November 2013 in Phnom Penh for a group of 14 participants from Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Viet Nam. In addition to orientation and reflection workshops, the participants visited Kraing Serey Community Forest and Chambok Community Protected Area and ecotourism site in Kompong Speu province located two hours southwest of Phnom Penh.
The full and effective participation of all relevant stakeholders is one of the seven safeguards under the REDD+ Cancun Agreement. The workshop, held on the first day of the study tour, provided a good opportunity to witness how Cambodia has faced the challenges of engaging with a diverse stakeholder audience in the REDD+ readiness stage. These generated a number of lessons learned.
For Sri Lanka in particular, the team members felt how important it is to be open and transparent in the selection process of members for various stakeholder platforms such as the Voluntary Facilitation Committee (VFC), Consultation Group (CG), and Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) Forum in Cambodia. It was important to identify members of civil society organizations (CSOs) who can work effectively with multiple partners and stakeholders. These members are crucial in ensuring the views and the feedback of their constituencies are channeled to key decision makers at the national level and vice versa. Another lesson was the importance of having a Programme Management Unit (PMU) to support and coordinate the interaction between stakeholders and the government representatives. The Sri Lanka UN-REDD National Programme will incorporate some of these lessons as they continue with their stakeholder engagement.
A key lesson learned from the Cambodia REDD+ Programme’s communication strategy was not only to mainstream key messages, but also key terminologies such as those contained in the Cambodia REDD+ glossary. In addition, it is also useful to make information widely available in various formats such as the REDD+ video in Khmer and ‘one-stop-shop’ website. The Sri Lanka Programme plans to adapt some of these approaches and materials for its own communication outreach.
In conclusion, the three-day study tour was a good exposure for the participants from Sri Lanka as they had just initiated their own UN-REDD National Programme. Although the study tour was organized between a small number of countries, the general consensus was that it had provided a good way to learn and share experiences.
As H.E. Cheng Kimsun, Director General of the Forestry Administration, said in his concluding remarks, “It is not the end of learning from each other and I sincerely hope that we can use each other as a resource base for information on REDD+. We need to continue sharing information since this is truly an area where we are testing new solutions and we will make some mistakes on the way but hopefully we will progress, step by step, towards implementation of REDD+”.