As a forester I have recognized the value of forests for a long time. But I could only observe and practice participatory forest management techniques on the ground when I got a chance to engage as a trainer as well as a facilitator in participatory forest management programs in the service of the Central Forestry Development Training Centre, and later working for NGOs.
Cyclone Nargis in 2008 and frequent floods during the past decade resulted in great losses for the Myanmar people, and the relation between deforestation and the adverse effects of climate change become ever more noticeable. The importance of the forests is now being recognized not only by foresters but also by the Myanmar people.
Myanmar, like other countries, is now preparing to implement REDD+ activities for climate change mitigation led by the Forestry Department, with technical and financial assistance from the UN-REDD Programme. REDD+ Academy Training, one of the UN-REDD initiatives, has been conducted for the staff of the Forest Department and relevant line departments, and NGOs. As RECOFTC has conducted a climate change and REDD+ awareness raising programme, together with partner organizations under the Grassroots Capacity Building for REDD+ Project, I got a chance to participate in the REDD+ Academy training.
The Academy provided details about REDD+ for the benefit of attendees from numerous organizations. The basic concepts of REDD+ and international experiences which should be understood by national level stakeholders were discussed during the Academy. My interest is to improve grassroots level understanding, which requires explaining REDD+ by linking it to local conditions. My view on the Academy is that it was very effective in raising understanding among staff of the Forestry Department, as well as staff of other line departments and organizations, helping to clarify their role in REDD+. Moreover, the Academy training created space for comparing notes and networking among participants. I benefitted greatly from the REDD+ Academy as I got a chance to learn not only about topics that I feel confident about already, like stakeholder engagement and safeguards, but also about topics such as MRV, financial mechanisms, and policy and strategy development.
As a trainer, I hope that I can share what I learned from the Academy with the staff of our partner organizations and deliver knowledge to the communities. That would be a great step forward in enhancing people’s participation in climate change mitigation by helping to decrease deforestation and move towards sustainable management of forests.