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Myanmar Mangroves

Mangrove Communities

Background

 

The importance of Community Forestry (CF)  in Myanmar has been recognized since the 1990s and the package of Community Forestry Instructions (CFI) has been updated in recent years to include concepts of CF-based enterprise and livelihood development to boost socio-economic benefits of CF programme.

The 2018 Forest Law also recognizes timber extraction rights of Community Forest User Group (CFUG) to make CF more attractive to communities and CF programme economically viable. To encourage community participation in Protected Area System (PAS), Myanmar also passed Biodiversity and Conservation of Protected Areas Law in 2018 which recognizes a new category called Community Protected Area (CPA). 

However, several challenges lie ahead in advancing the community-led conservation agenda in Myanmar. In recognizing this gap, the UN-REDD Mangroves initiative supported 25 mangrove communities in the delta and southeast Myanmar, and civil society organizations (CSO) across the country through training, equipment and financial support for mangrove conservation and mangrove-friendly livelihood development.

List of Outputs

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Coming Soon: Generic Management Plan for Mangrove Community Forest was developed.
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Coming Soon: Guidelines for Preparing Mangrove Community Forest Management Plan was developed.
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Coming Soon: A generic Terms of Reference (ToR) for Community Forest User Group was developed for CF governance

  English     |      Myanmar

  English     |      Myanmar

  English     |      Myanmar

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Coming Soon: A Guide for Developing Business Plan for Community Forest (Mangroves) Enterprise
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Coming Soon: Guidelines for Community Protected Area Management Plan Preparation CPA was developed
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Coming Soon: IEC Materials

  English     |      Myanmar

  English     |      Myanmar

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Awareness Raising and Capacity Building

Awareness raising, extensive and iterative consultations, and capacity strengthening are key to the success of community-led conservation initiatives.

With this consultation-cum-capacity building approach, the UN-REDD Mangroves initiative supported 26 mangrove communities and many CSO/NGOs in the delta and southeast Myanmar to plan, decide and lead mangrove protection and create small businesses that prioritize equitable benefit sharing while contributing to their resilience building. To ensure the sustainability of the interventions beyond the initiative period, it is also critical to strengthen technical capacity of grassroots CSO/NGOs in project locations and other conservation organizations that will continue to engage with local communities in their respective states and regions. Therefore, the UN-REDD Mangroves initiative, in collaboration with implementing partners, developed and rolled-out a comprehensive capacity building plan including the following key activities.    

  • Awareness raising on the importance of mangroves for ecosystem services and legal requirements and procedures for CF/CPA certificate application. (IEC materials)
  • Training of 25 Community Forest Users Groups (CFUG) on mangrove mapping and inventory, community-based mangrove management, and participat5ory patrolling.
  • Training of 25 Community Forest Users Groups (CFUG) on livelihood development such as crab fattening and bee keeping, Market Analysis and Development (developed by FAO), entrepreneurial skills, basic accounting and financial management.

 

Community Forest (CF) and Community Forest-based Enterprise (CFE) Development

Myanmar is recognizing that ambitious social forestry programs can do much more than setting up protected forest areas. They can also address poverty, livelihood development, equality issues and biodiversity conservation. The early years of CF, which can be defined as an emergent phase, were limited by legislative and institutional challenges. However, the revisions of CFI (CFI-2016 & CFI-2019) in recent years have incorporated livelihood opportunities and enterprise development in the CF program. This stemmed from the recognition that forests will only be protected if local communities are allowed and able to tangibly benefit from their forests. Therefore, the National Forest Master Plan (2001-2030) targets to establish 2.27 million acres (919,000 ha) of Community Forest areas. As of March 2019, there were 614,579 acres (248,711 ha) of CFs certified by the Forest Department, covering 4,707 Community Forest User Groups (119,355 households). However, the rate of CF handover has been far lower than that needed to meet the Master Plan’s 30-year target. Many studies revealed the underlying factors for the slow implementation, one of them being lack of tangible economic benefits to CF communities. To promote economic benefits and ensure sustainability of CFs, Myanmar first introduced the concept of Community Forestry-based Enterprise (CFE) in the revised CFI-2016 and further strengthened it in CFI-2019.

CFE development in Myanmar, however, is at its nascent stage. A 2020 study “Community Forest and Community Forest Enterprise Development Survey in Southern Rakhine” supported by UNDP Myanmar identified a myriad of challenges to the development of CFEs in Myanmar. They include constraints of accessibility to market and market information, accessibility to finance and credits, and capacity of stakeholders including communities and relevant authorities. Another major challenge is lack of easily accessible information for communities and local actors on how to develop and manage a CF without relying too much on external support. With a particular focus on mangroves, the UN-REDD Mangroves initiative supported communities in the delta and southeast Myanmar and CSO/NGOs across the country through formation and capacity strengthening of CFUGs and CF Management Committees, development of manuals and management plans and provision of equipment and initial investments. The manuals, in particular, will serve as a template for local people and CSO/NGOs to develop CF management plans and CFE business plans with minimal outsider support. Major achievements include:

 

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Coming Soon: A Generic Management Plan for Mangrove Community Forest was developed.
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Coming Soon: Guidelines for Preparing Mangrove Community Forest Management Plan was developed
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Coming Soon: A generic Terms of Reference (ToR) for Community Forest User Group was developed for CF governance

  English     |      Myanmar

  English     |      Myanmar

  English     |      Myanmar

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Coming Soon: A Guide for Developing Business Plan for Community Forest (Mangroves) Enterprise
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Coming Soon: The TA facilitated 21 communities to develop CF Management Plans and CFE Business Plans

  English     |      Myanmar

  English     |      Myanmar

CPA Development

Large patches of forest, particularly in hilly and ethnic minority regions as well as mangrove forests in the delta and southeast of Myanmar, have been traditionally protected and managed by local indigenous peoples for centuries.

Many studies have shown that community conserved areas have been effective in curbing deforestation and maintaining biodiversity while, at the same time, providing social-economic benefits to communities. It is imperative to promote such community-led traditional conservation models to enhance community empowerment.

While traditional or community led natural resource management is a long-standing concept and practice in Myanmar, local indigenous people need to be equipped with the tools and technical know-how for systematic documentation of their resources, customary practices, and integration of scientific forest management into traditional systems. The UN-REDD Mangroves initiative supported Myanmar in the key areas:

 

 

  • Guidelines for Community Protected Area Management Plan Preparation CPA was developed. (English/Myanmar)
  • The TA facilitated the formation of 5 CPA Committees along with Business Management Committees and Patrolling Teams.  
  • The TA facilitated development of 5 overarching CPA Management Plans along with Business Plans and Participatory Patrolling Plans.  
  •  The TA supported equipment for forest management and patrolling.
  • The TA supported indigenous communities to operationalize their businesses.
  • The TA supported CPA communities to regularly conduct patrolling.

CF Mapping and Assessment

While a significant number of CF has been established across the country, questions still remain on the effectiveness of those CFs in achieving its multiple objectives.

Furthermore, other studies reveal that many CFs in the country do not have accurate maps and boundary demarcations due to limited access to technology such as GIS and remote sensing, especially during the emerging phase of CF development in Myanmar. Accurate maps are crucial for monitoring and evaluation of CF effectiveness in and impacts on livelihood development, carbon sequestration and forest cover change. 

One of the outputs of the UN-REDD Mangroves initiative is strengthening integrated land-use planning and inclusive forest planning that are linked to national climate change mitigation goals. Accurate maps and sufficient understanding of socio-economic profiles of communities are fundamental to participatory land-use and forest planning processes. The UN-REDD Mangroves initiative partnered with Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) Myanmar to carry out an assessment of CF effectiveness and mapping in Kyauk Phyu District of Rakhine State and Myeik District of Tanintharyi Region in Myanmar. The outcomes of the research and mapping provide insights and recommendations for CSOs, NGOs and INGOs supporting CF development in Myanmar. In addition, the data will be accessible to both local and international practitioners and researchers. The updated maps can also be used in future community-based resource and land-use planning.

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CF Mapping and Assessment

 

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Human Interest Stories

 

1. Land grabbing is a major threat: One man’s fight to save Myanmar’s mangrove forests
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3. Coming Soon: Video on Madhuca longifolia oil production in Mawyut and Botaung CPA (Link)
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Read More About Myanmar Mangroves' Areas of Work: