Outcome Statement

FORESTS ASIA SUMMIT

Sustainable Landscapes for Green Growth in Southeast Asia

Outcome Statement

The Forests Asia Summit: Sustainable Landscapes for Green Growth in Southeast Asia, convened in Jakarta on 5–6 May 2014, brought together representatives from government, research, civil society and the private sector in a regional multi-stakeholder dialogue.

The aim of the Forests Asia Summit was to lay the foundations for continued dialogue, transitions toward sustainable investments, and further research to support evidence-based policymaking, all directed toward achieving equitable green growth and more sustainable management of landscapes across Southeast Asia. Background information on the Summit aims and topics is available at www.forestsasia.org.

The Forests Asia Summit was co-hosted by the Center for International Forestry Research and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, in collaboration with coordinating partner Global Initiatives, seven supporting partners and eight funding partners. The 31 sessions at the Summit, hosted by a total of 19 organizations, included discussion forums and high-level panel discussions on the following themes:

  1. Governance and legal frameworks to promote sustainable landscapes
  2. Investing in landscapes for green returns
  3. Climate change and low-emissions development on the ground
  4. Forest landscapes for food and biodiversity
  5. Changing communities, sustainable landscapes and equitable development.

A special session on ‘Youth in Southeast Asia’ held on May 5, also brought together 120 of Southeast Asia’s brightest minds to identify new ways of tackling the region’s major forestry and development challenges, and the role of youth in driving such solutions forward.

Key messages from each session were captured by session hosts and organizers and relayed into the high-level panel discussions and the closing plenary, for further discussion.

The Summit was attended by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who gave the keynote address on Day 1, and 10 government ministers and deputy ministers from across Southeast Asia. Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peruvian Minister of Environment and President of COP20, and Mark Burrows, Managing Director and Vice Chair, Global Investment Banking, Credit Suisse, gave keynote addresses on Day 2.

This outcome statement is a compilation of reporting from the sessions at the Forests Asia Summit, prepared by the organizers. As such, it provides an overview of messages throughout the conference, but does not constitute a joint conclusion by the participants. In summary, the reporting concludes that:

  • To achieve equitable and sustainable green growth in Southeast Asia, all stakeholder groups must strive to overcome communication barriers, engage in continued, participatory dialogue, and act together within a landscape and multilevel governance framework.
  • Government, the corporate sector and the finance sector must work together to create enabling conditions to unlock private capital and support investments in sustainable landscapes and smallholders.
  • The scientific community, with support from the public and private sectors, must engage in integrated and targeted research aimed at increasing understanding of the dynamics that shape landscapes and communicate findings to government and business in a way that supports evidence-based changes in policy and practice toward a sustainable future and action on the ground.

Government ministers, deputy ministers, forestry department directors, CEOs and business executives, civil society leaders, scientists and funding partners from Southeast Asia and beyond joined the call for action, made commitments, and shared lessons and experiences on green growth and sustainable development.

Forests Asia Summit by the numbers

  • 1 head of state and 12 government ministers and vice ministers in attendance
  • 120 speakers from government, civil society, research and the private sector
  • 2,200 participants: 1,800 on Day 1 & 1,200 on Day 2
  • 6,064 views of live webstream
  • 56 partner organizations, including coordinating partner, funding partners, supporting partners, session organizers and exhibitors
  • 31 sessions: 18 discussion forums, 5 high-level panels, 4 plenary discussions, 2 learning events, 2 special sessions
  • More than 20,000 page views of www.forestsasia.org
  • 7,999 #ForestsAsia tweets sent by 1,065 contributors, delivered to 2.45 million different Twitter users over two days
  • Tweets on the Summit by Indonesian President Yudhoyono reached 4.9 million Twitter users

 

  • Continued dialogue toward equitable green growth
To achieve equitable and sustainable green growth in Southeast Asia, all stakeholder groups must strive to overcome communication barriers, engage in continued, participatory dialogue, and act together within a landscape and multilevel governance framework.

Participants called for:

      • All sectors to invest in understanding each other, to overcome the communication problems caused by differences in terminology and perceptions between the public sector, private sector and civil society.
      • Improved communication between governments and the private sector, so that the private sector can fully understand development policies and how businesses fit into them.
      • Improved communication between the business and research communities, so that the private sector can change practices based on robust evidence.
      • Stronger collaboration in planning and implementation of plans between actors in the environmental, social and economic spheres, as actors from different sectors will complement each other’s strengths, compensate for their weaknesses and ultimately increase the government’s capacity to solve problems.
      • Better engagement of and consultation with local communities affected by development programs, especially by governments and businesses.
      • Attention to power imbalances within multi-stakeholder dialogues, with careful consideration of who is included, how they are included, how they are informed and how decisions are taken, to avoid imposing top-down or inequitable decisions.
      • Multi-stakeholder processes to take place at subnational level to create enabling conditions for sustainable forest management.
      • Re-establishment of forest–farm connections, within a landscapes approach, for good use of farms and forest and an end to separated thinking in terms of what kind of products (food vs. timber) each can deliver.
      • A shift away from mere rhetoric toward actual coordination and collaboration in REDD+ and adaptation across levels, sectors and actors, in order to achieve consistency in the design and implementation of policies and activities.
  • Increased investments in sustainable land use

 

Government, the corporate sector and the finance sector must work together to create enabling conditions to unlock private capital and support investments in sustainable landscapes and smallholders.

 

The private corporate sector must take responsibility for changing business practices, with government support and civil society acceptance.

Participants noted that:

      • The private corporate sector holds a large measure of responsibility for unsustainable land-use practices, driven by the profit imperative of business.
      • “Business as usual” and strong links between the corporate sector and government remain major impediments to the shift toward sustainability and transformational change.
      • The corporate sector is making changes to the way it does business to reflect the need for sustainable use of natural resources and shifts in consumer demand.
      • The private corporate sector will continue to be the major source of financing for land-based investments. The relatively scarce public funds need to be used more effectively in establishing coherent enabling frameworks to unlock the larger-scale private finance. Government therefore plays an important role in creating the incentives and enabling conditions necessary to achieve long-term, large-scale economic change toward more sustainable and equitable business practices.
        • Governments must make policy instruments that encourage private investments in sustainable business models and creative efforts to unlock private capital, such as “green” bonds.
        • Governments must work hand in hand with companies to promote policies that create positive incentives, remove perverse incentives (e.g. fossil fuel subsidies) and build infrastructure.
        • Governments must set standards to define “green” investments, including through verification by external parties, in order to reduce risk and complexity for investors, ensure transparency and simplify product selection.
        • Government policy is needed to enable businesses to make formal investments in informal economies.
        • Government can invest public capital in research and undertake large-scale commitments that are beyond the scope of the private sector, such as commitments to investing in mini-hydro, wind, tidal and solar energy.

The finance sector must play an important role in steering sustainable and ethical investments.

Participants noted that:

      • Finance in itself, disconnected from corporations/operations, can have a fundamental role in raising standards and in developing new products that drive sustainable and ethical investments, but we also need to bridge the “perception gap”.
      • Finance schemes — including microfinance — can contribute to sustainable and ethical investments, but require government policies to enable them and must be:
        • accessible to smallholders
        • responsive to smallholders’ needs
        • accompanied by complementary measures such as certification schemes (for commodities such as palm oil, timber and aquaculture products that come from mixed-use mangroves/aquaculture landscapes)
      • Investments are needed to improve the quality of non-timber forest products, through technology provision and capacity, to ensure high-quality products; appropriate incentives must be offered to make this happen.
      • For jurisdictional approaches to support REDD+ implementation, it is necessary to find ways to blend multiple financing mechanisms (e.g. REDD+, NAMAs) and adopt nested institutional architectures at different jurisdictional scales (national and subnational).
      • REDD+ will require leadership from governments to create business opportunities for the private sector, which is not interested in investing in REDD+. In particular, engaging private finance in REDD+ requires a stimulus package, before COP21 in 2015.

Smallholders need to be empowered with secure land tenure and resource access rights, capacity building and access to markets and finance to shift toward more sustainable land use.

Participants concluded:

      • Smallholder farmers contribute to deforestation, forest degradation and unsustainable land use but their needs for shifting toward sustainability differ considerably from those of the private corporate sector. The needs of smallholder farmers are related to (a) land tenure; (b) market access; (c) finance; and (d) investment.
      1. Unclear and insecure land tenure for smallholders increases investment risks and reduces equity
        • Clear tenure for smallholders is necessary to reduce the risk of engagement and investment, and hence encourage private investments in smallholders.
        • Clear tenure rules are required for smallholders to be able to receive benefits from any type of payments for ecosystem services (PES) system.
        • Balancing the statutory distribution of tenure rights between private, state and community actors could improve governance and increase benefits to smallholders.
      2. Smallholders continue to be disadvantaged by weak access to markets
        • Smallholders need greater capacity, resources and investments to participate fully in the market economy.
        • Linking smallholders to global value chains would provide them with better market access.
        • Efforts must be made to shorten value chains, overcoming the challenges for smallholders associated with constraints on time, investments and trust.
        • Industry and government must simplify standards to make compliance accessible to smallholder farmers.
      3. Finance
        • Systems of smallholder investments, monitoring, rights, land and forest management, and engagement must be fully transparent to encourage equitable development.
        • Finance schemes must be made accessible to smallholders and be responsive to smallholders’ needs.
        • Regional development plans (e.g. ASEAN Green Growth and Development Plan) should be revised to remove their primary focus on business-as-usual development and resource extraction and create greater opportunities to support smallholders.
      4. Smallholders have in-depth local knowledge but need support to fully deploy it
        • Many smallholders need information about practices and techniques that could improve their yields.
        • Many smallholders need stronger bargaining power because they sell individually; cooperative models provide useful lessons on methods to increase their power.
        • Investments must be made in capacity building and technology to strengthen smallholders’ abilities to monitor and evaluate land use and forest cover change and to verify their land rights.
  • Research and knowledge sharing
The scientific community, with support from the public and private sectors, must engage in integrated and targeted research aimed at increasing understanding of the dynamics that shape landscapes and communicate findings to government and business in a way that supports evidence-based shifts in policy and practice toward a sustainable future and action on the ground.

Participants noted that:

      • Research and knowledge sharing across a wide range of topics are needed to support action on the ground.
      • Research and communication of research findings are essential for building evidence to support and guide the policy changes necessary to address current challenges, as detailed above.

Following is a compilation of some research areas suggested during the Summit and relevant research findings presented; these lists cannot be considered exhaustive.

Sustainable development of landscapes

Research could, for example:

      • Identify lessons learned from watershed management, community forestry and integrated resource management.
      • Determine the real costs of conversion of cropland to forest and of equitable sustainable development of landscapes.
      • Inform models of cooperation that go beyond large-scale transnational corporations directly managing forests.
      • Understand the role of forestry within the global development agenda.
      • Find ways to overcome institutional resistance and technical obstacles to achieve effective spatial planning and to document performance in different localities.
      • Clarify the high carbon-storage capacity of mangroves in order to inform decision-making about the future of these forests.

Smallholders

Research could, for example:

      • Inform the development of policies and incentives that support capacity building and increase access to markets and finance for smallholders.
      • Examine how the private corporate sector can manage the risks of investing in smallholders, in terms of increasing the scale of production and product quality and of applying a uniform landscapes approach in diverse stakeholder contexts.
      • Determine the needs and interests of smallholder farmers all along the forestry value chain.
      • Support capacity building and technology transfer for smallholders.
      • Elucidate the diverse livelihood strategies of rural smallholders and indigenous peoples, and how these might affect landscape sustainability and low-carbon rural development.
      • Better define the meaning of “equity” in the contexts of smallholders and community forestry systems (as systems of fair benefit sharing; as having rights to develop; as systems of shared responsibilities across the different stakeholders in a landscape; or as rights to participate in decision-making processes) and how to reconcile these different perspectives within an agenda of sustainable and equitable development.

Tenure and access to land and resources

Research findings of relevance to policy and practice include the following:

      • Balancing the statutory distribution of tenure rights between private, state and community actors could strengthen governance and increase benefits.
      • Elements that hinder forest tenure reform are lack of political will and government preferences for more protected areas.
      • Recognizing the ancestral territories of indigenous peoples could substantially reduce conflicts over forest areas.
      • Community-based forest management regimes have been presented as one possible solution for securing tenure and access rights; in some cases, these systems have been shown to be even more secure than formal forest tenure.
      • Even customary rights that appear to be very secure can be threatened by new pressures, as seen with the emergence of new claims and new contests associated with REDD+ and large-scale land acquisitions.

Jurisdictional approaches to green development and REDD+

Research findings of relevance to policy and practice include the following:

      • Subnational governments must strengthen institutions and governance at the jurisdictional level, especially in relation to multi-stakeholder processes, land tenure, land-use planning, and monitoring of carbon emissions and removals.
      • For jurisdictional approaches to succeed, the following are required:
        • A jurisdictional approach must be flexible enough to be able to deal with various future scenarios for carbon finance.
        • The focus must be on achieving robust and equitable management and governance systems.
        • Jurisdictions must have the capacity to control land use, land management and outcomes, if they are to achieve emission reductions.
        • Tensions between the national and subnational levels of government that are implementing REDD+ at different speeds must be resolved.
        • It is necessary to find ways to reconcile jurisdictional approaches with existing project-level approaches.

Legal and regulatory frameworks to support sustainability

Research has identified the following common challenges for projects aimed at strengthening forest governance, among others:

      • the need for new business models
      • the need for new certification standards
      • the need for cooperation and collaboration between businesses, local communities and governments
      • the need for indicators for aspects that are difficult to measure, such as the values of carbon, water and landscape beauty in forested landscapes.

REDD+, finance and green growth

Research findings on REDD+ include the following :

      • REDD+ must be viewed beyond the perspective of carbon abatement only; it can boost longer-term sustainability and provide benefits to other sectors as well.
      • Operationalizing REDD+ and facilitating green growth require profound shifts in the ways that natural capital and the non-carbon benefits of REDD+ are valued.
      • REDD+ embodies some of the transitions necessary for green growth, including the following:
        • the valuation of carbon stocks
        • attempts to access private sector finance
        • increased focus on governance reform and transparency
        • equitable benefit sharing.
      • Those working with REDD+ must not only focus on forests, but also make links to energy, water, food, soil and landscapes.
      • REDD+ is achievable, but the bureaucracy of project implementation is hampering progress and lacks transparency, and outcomes are uncertain.

Biodiversity

Research findings of relevance to policy and practice include the following:

      • Interventions aimed at expanding monoculture-type forest cover in sloping lands can lead to reductions in biodiversity and agrodiversity, which will have an adverse impact on crops that rely on diverse tree cover.
      • The sustainable development framework, and any Sustainable Development Goals related to food production and water provision, should consider the value of the biodiversity contained in forests.
      • Production forests can have high biodiversity value if managed appropriately.

Non-timber forest products

Research findings of relevance to policy and practice include the following:

    • Local communities should be supported in cultivating and exploiting bamboo and rattan, because of their value to local livelihoods (they sequester carbon, can be sustainably harvested and provide products such as animal feed, charcoal, furniture and construction materials).
  • Youth in Southeast Asia: Key Recommendations
To empower youth in tackling major forestry and development issues, governments, universities, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and the private sector must engage in a dialogue and partnership with young people, involving youth in knowledge-sharing practices and decision making processes, whilst developing their capacity through increased funding in skills training and education.

At the Youth Session organized by CIFOR, the International Forestry Students Association and YPARD, youth were split into five roundtables based on the Summit themes. Following are the key recommendations that came out of each roundtable discussion.

Equitable development

Topic: How can youth work with local communities to achieve development outcomes? More: http://www.cifor.org/forestsasia/e-discussion-can-youth-work-local-communities-achieve-development-outcomes/

    • Governments should support capacity development of local communities to raise their awareness and knowledge to give them more bargaining power.
    • Youth should be encouraged to act as a bridge between other youth, private sector, organizations, government and the local communities. They can deliver important messages about forest sustainability to every stakeholder by using social media platforms or concrete movements.
    • Governments should enforce activities and regulations that ensure companies are operating in sustainable and equitable ways – e.g. supporting Community Cooperative for Small and Medium Enterprise; assessing and managing high conversion area (HCV); land swapping that pushes companies to use marginal land for their concession instead of forestland; providing health services, infrastructure and basic education for the communities in concession areas; sharing benefits equitably.

Climate

Topic: What skills do youth need for future climate change careers? More: http://www.cifor.org/forestsasia/e-discussion-skills-youth-need-future-climate-change-careers/

We ask governments, universities, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and the private sector to:

    • Increase funding for skills training and education for youth of all ages so that all youth have the same opportunity to build climate change skills;
    • Develop partnerships between youth, the education system and job providers to ensure that relevant climate change skills can be acquired at all levels;
    • Enhance involvement and engagement of youth in climate change conferences and decision-making, not just through participation but also through training and capacity building;
    • Provide seed funding for youth driven climate change projects so that youth have a chance to ‘learn on the job’ and test our own solutions;
    • Promote climate change jobs to build on the passion and commitment youth have by providing information on the paths that can be taken for youth to contribute to addressing climate change in Southeast Asia.

Investment

Topic: To explore the green investment topics that are most important to youth in the region, and then devise ways that youth can organize to better influence green investment processes. More: http://www.cifor.org/forestsasia/loreal-nestle-others-committing-zero-deforestationbut-youth/

    • NGOs and private sector could work together to engage youth and enhance their capacity in issues related to green investment decisions and sustainability. Engaging with experts as mentors to help youth groups target their campaigns and actions through the most effective channels, and make informed and coherent recommendations to policy development.
    • NGOs and young professionals should work with youth to develop consumer campaigns to build understanding of the most pressing green investment issues in the region and the consequences of consumption of unsustainable products. Using celebrities, role models and media channels can help elevate the position and increase the effectiveness of these campaigns.
    • Different forums, including private sector, governmental and non governmental actors (e.g. RSPO, ISPO, Natural Capital Declaration, TFA 2020, ASEAN economic community council meetings) within South-East Asia should reach out to youth in the region by using existing networks (IFSA, KOPHI) to enhance their input in the important dialogues that will shape their future.

Governance

Topic: What can young people do to encourage good governance of Southeast Asia’s forests? More: http://www.cifor.org/forestsasia/e-discussion-can-young-people-encourage-good-governance-southeast-asias-forests/

    • We urge ASEAN to establish a Youth Secretariat on the Environment and grant youth access to high-level meetings such as the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment and Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.
    • We urge governments to enhance law enforcement on forest fires by establishing a mechanism for youth and the wider public to participate in monitoring and reporting forest fires (using ICTs such as text messaging, apps and social media), and for follow-up action to be taken by governments upon receiving this information.
    • We urge governments to lead by example and purchase certified forest products and contract suppliers with sustainable practices.
    • We call on the private sector to not only comply with minimum standards of certification schemes, but to go beyond and operate in a way consistent with the spirit of certification schemes and ensure  zero deforestation.

Food security

Topic: How can youth promote the importance of Southeast Asia’s forest foods? More: http://www.cifor.org/forestsasia/e-discussion-can-youth-promote-importance-se-asias-forest-foods/

    • Policy-makers should support more agroforestry projects and edible landscapes in the communities to improve food access. Local governments should start the integration of forests in the urban areas by encouraging the establishment of backyard gardens for each household and developing more edible botanic gardens. This activities would encourage the youth to promote the benefits of trees as sources of food through social media.
    • Local leaders should support youth to conduct social entrepreneurship in communities that aim to develop products for food and added income. The mobilization of different youth organizations with the support of the local leaders will help in the information dissemination and sharing of knowledge for the communities.
    • Young professionals should be encouraged to pursue research on potential sources of food. Studies on food alternatives such as mushrooms, wildlife and non-timber forest products are still needed and the participation of youth in these studies will help develop new ideas and innovations.