Working in partnership to bring sustainable management to Myanmar’s forests
National system development
As Myanmar reforms its forest sector, we are supporting the country towards sustainable management of its forest resources in order to advance equitable and sustainable development.
Myanmar is rich in natural assets. The forests boast high biodiversity, are home to many endemic species of plants and animals and are world-renowned especially for teak.
However, forest cover has fallen from 60% to 40% in the last thirty years. A significant loss due in part to the period of military rule when forests were managed for economic return and revenue generation, with little consideration given to long-term sustainability.
At the same time, Myanmar has a high level of forest dependency amongst its population. An estimated 70% of the population is heavily dependent on forests for their basic needs and many are dependent on the forest sector for employment.
There is now heightened recognition of the importance of the country’s forest resources for sustainable development. But despite the country’s rapid transition, there is still considerable progress to be made in bringing Myanmar’s forests under sustainable management where people, biodiversity and the economy can benefit.
Sustainable Forest Management, PEFC and Myanmar
As Myanmar continues to reform its forest sector, we are partnering with the Myanmar Forest Certification Committee (MFCC) in a 3-year project to support the country as it transitions to the sustainable management of its forests.
Co-funded by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, one of the project’s main focuses is the strengthening of the national forest certification system.
MFCC is leading the process, convening stakeholders to build consensus on sustainable forest management requirements and finalize robust standards that will contribute to sustainable forest management within the country.
Thanks to the project, MFCC was able to establish a multi-stakeholder platform to facilitate better coordination and exchange amongst forest sector actors. The platform acts as a central hub for partners to share experiences, project findings, tools and best practice. It also provides a network for stakeholders to access technical support for pilot testing certification solutions around the country.
Finally, to ensure forest certification develops as a practical and accessible tool for safeguarding Myanmar’s forests, forest sector actors and project partners receive technical support through direct involvement in forest certification pilot projects.
Pilot projects support the roll out, testing and improvement of supply chain verification, while building capacity across all the necessary roles. Pilot projects also focus on promoting sustainable forest management practices in the context of natural forests, community forests and existing and future plantations.
First steps towards sustainably managed forests
MFCC launched Myanmar’s third party timber certification system in August 2018, marking phase one of the Myanmar Timber Legality Assurance System (MTLAS).
In May 2019, MFCC joined the PEFC alliance as a national member.
“Becoming a PEFC member is not the end, but the beginning of the story for MFCC,” said Barber Cho, Secretary General of MFCC, emphasizing MFCC’s aim of establishing a national forest certification system in line with PEFC requirements in the next years.