- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: Major Group
- Name: Non Timber Forest Product-Exchange Programme
- Submission Document: Not available
Sustainable Mountain Development
Draft Regional Report
South East Asia and Pacific
prepared for the
Lucerne World Mountain Conference 10-12 October 2011
From Rio 1992 to Rio 2012 and beyond
DRAFT FOR DISCUSSION From Rio 1992 to 2012 and beyond: Sustainable Mountain Development
Southeast Asia Pacific (SEAP) Mountain Region
The report aims to provide an overview and assessment of trends, issues, and challenges for promoting the agenda of sustainable mountain development in the SEAP region since 1992 highlighting the progress made and lessons learned in key sectors and sub-sectors; it covers all the three pillars of sustainable development and scopes out opportunities in the two themes of the Rio+20 ? Green Economy and Institutional Framework for sustainable development and poverty reduction..
The Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) as a part of the Mountain Partnership Consortium (MPC) has provided financial support to carry out this study. The views expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect views of the organization they are associated with.
By: Ramon Razal Madhav Karki
Benedicto Q. Sánchez
E-conference moderator and case study writers:
Ramon Razal ? E-conference moderator; Delbert Rice (the Philippines); Mahuru, Rufus (PNG); Le
Buu Thach, Vu Ngoc Long, Le Van Huong, (Vietnam); and De Beer, Jenne (Indonesia)
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) Kathmandu, Nepal
Table of Content
Acronyms and Abbreviations ..................................................................................................... 4
Executive Summary ................................................................................................................... 6
PART I: Setting the stage ........................................................................................................... 8
1.1 General overview and introduction of the South East Asia and Pacific (SEAP
Region) ................................................................................................................................... 8
1.2 Mountains of Asia Pacific region ................................................................................ 9
1.3 Trends in the SEAP mountain regions over the last twenty years............................. 10
1.3.1 Demography and socioeconomic development.................................................. 10
1.3.2 Globalization and economic liberalization......................................................... 11
1.3.3 Political changes and democratization movement ............................................. 11
1.3.4 Climate change as a major driver of change ...................................................... 14
1.3.5 Environmental degradation and land-use changes .................................................. 14
1.3.6 Community involvement in natural resources management ................................... 15
1.3.7 Information and communication technologies (ICT) .............................................. 16
1.3.8 Expansion of tourism and ecotourism ..................................................................... 17
1.3.9 Major policy and legal reforms in NRM sectors ..................................................... 17
1.3.10 Harnessing the potential of water resources (Mekong Commission) ................... 18
1.3.11 Social and political reforms in Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam ...................... 19
1.3.12 Major activities in promoting the Mountain Agenda ............................................ 21
1.3.13 Role of non-government (NGOs) and civil society (CSO) organizations............. 21
1.3.14 Poverty reduction measures and successes ........................................................... 23
1.3.15 Growing urbanization and labor migration ........................................................... 23
1.3.16 Human Resources Development ........................................................................... 24
1.3.17 Growing awareness and importance of indigenous and traditional knowledge .... 25
1.4 Rapid economic growth ............................................................................................ 25
1.5 Major and support organizations in sustainable mountain development ................. 25
1.5.1 Hydro-meteorological observation facilities ........................................................... 25
1.5.2 Earth observation facilities ...................................................................................... 25
PART II: Progress of changes in the SEAP region since 1992................................................ 27
2.1 Overview of the assessment and results .................................................................... 27
2.1.1 The specific aims of the SEAP Regional Assessment ....................................... 27
2.1.2 General Methodology and Assessment Process ................................................. 27
2.2 Major progress by sectors highlighted by the four case studies ................................ 28
2.2.1 The Managalas Plateau Conservation Area Project, Oro Province, Papua New
Guinea ............................................................................................................................ 28
2.2.2 Vietnam: Collaborative Forest Management (CFM) in Bidoup Nui Ba National
Park, Lam Dong province ................................................................................................ 29
2.2.3 Forest Honey Network Indonesia (JMHI).......................................................... 30
2.2.4 Living in watersheds: a Case Study of the Experiences of the Ikalahan in Forest
Management ..................................................................................................................... 31
2.3 Evaluating progress with sustainable mountain development: Progress, changes, and lessons learnt in the region over the last 20 years ................................................................ 32
2.4 Analysis of initiatives: challenges, opportunities, lessons learned, links to Rio+20 . 33
2.5 Institutionalization of Agenda 21, Chapter 13........................................................... 34
2.6 Analysis of initiatives: Challenges, opportunities and lessons learned, linked to
Rio+20 .................................................................................................................................. 34
2.7 Opportunities for green economy and poverty alleviation in SEAP region .............. 35
2.8 What expectations for SMD were raised by Rio 1992? ............................................ 39
2.9 New issues/challenges after 1992 .............................................................................. 39
2.10 Major themes of SEAP regional initiatives ........................................................... 40
2.11 Future actions needed ............................................................................................ 40
PART III: Challenges and opportunities for sustainable mountain development.................... 41
3.0 Emerging challenges and opportunities..................................................................... 41
3.1 Emerging trends and challenges for SMD in the region ........................................... 41
3.2 Addressing Trends and Challenges ........................................................................... 41
3.3 SEAP: Mountain specific challenges ........................................................................ 42
3.4 Opportunities ............................................................................................................. 43
3.5 Specific actions needed ............................................................................................. 44
3.6 Way Forward and Policy Recommendations ............................................................ 44
3.6.1 What specific actions are needed to contribute to the Rio+20 priorities in the mountain areas of your region? ........................................................................................ 44
3.7 Way forward for sustainable mountain development in the SEAP mountains ........ 46
3.7.1 Undertaking more research, such as those that will define carrying capacity of mountains ......................................................................................................................... 46
3.7.2 Improving mountain governance and innovating on institutional mechanisms. 47
3.7.3 Common grounds and bases for regional cooperation ....................................... 47
References ................................................................................................................................ 49
Southeast Asia and Pacific (SEAP) mountains, which are spread across two geographic regions ? mainland Asia and island/archipelagic states in the Pacific Ocean - form one of the world?s highest but also most severely threatened biodiversity pools. A number of indigenous peoples who are marginalized, poor, and underserved by their respective nation states live in structurally weak and fragile SEAP Mountains even made more vulnerable by increased frequency and intensity of rainfall, extreme temperatures and severe tropical storms. Expanding global population and economic pressures are driving migrant lowland settlers toward SEAP Mountains while extractive companies harness the mountains? timber, minerals and water resources without giving due share to the local communities. In general, the mountains have not been mainstreamed in the governance of most Southeast Asian countries, which highlight the need for policy reforms to protect social and ecological systems in the mountains, strengthen sustainable development, prevent environmental damage, and improve national and regional food security.
Governments and civil society organizations, international and local donors, and development agencies have played key roles in facilitating development and/or resolving conflicts arising from competing demands on SEAP mountain resources. Lessons learned in addressing conflicts showed that these involve a slow process that is best initiated by creating an environment for dialogs to take place. Toward this end, stakeholders must be capacitated on collaborative negotiations and non- adversarial communication skills to enable them to engage in multi-stakeholder dialogs that strive for win-win solutions and aim to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the long run. Improving governance, meeting the economic needs of the people, and making them more self-reliant through proper education avert conflicts that border on terrorism in remote regions of SEAP Mountains.
People in the SEAP Mountains need to take charge of development of the welfare of their communities and the mountains in partnership with civil society, particularly for advocacy and building public support for mountain-specific policies and development approaches. Partnerships need to be forged with the private sector based on corporate social responsibility initiatives to provide innovative, simple technological and market solutions to livelihoods problems in the mountains following low carbon or green growth pathways. Specifically, private sector support can be directed for empowering mountain stakeholders with community-based technologies and for developing business skills. Product value chains through cooperative efforts among the primary producers and private businesses can result in reasonable returns on their investments for both the mountain people and downstream commercial enterprises. Ecotourism can be promoted to help generate income in mountain communities and among indigenous peoples as strategies, to counter violent conflicts and finance mountain conservation and sustainable development.
Participatory action research that takes into account local good practices and indigenous knowledge are needed to determine carrying capacity of mountains and for implementing plans and measures for adapting to and mitigating the worsening impacts of climate change and unregulated human activities on mountain resources. There is growing awareness on the benefits provided by the SEAP Mountains in terms of ecosystem goods and services. Increasing frequency of mountain-originated disasters both in the uplands and lowlands has raised policy level awareness for integrated approaches. Combining the increased awareness, with traditional and scientific knowledge will help improve sustainability in resource use by creating opportunities for multi-stakeholder participation that can address pressing mountain issues and challenges. Effective participation of communities in mountain governance ? supported by enabling policies ? can pave the way for sustainable mountain resource management practices, and help end pervasive poverty in the uplands through carefully-planned and community- controlled, human development initiatives. In summary, this report advocates:
? Developing good governance mechanisms that account for unique characteristics and wealth of mountains and meet needs and aspirations of mountain people in reducing
poverty and conserving the region?s once-rich biodiversity through sustainable development approaches.
? Assisting mountain communities in negotiation and collaborative dialogues for resolving conflicts and enabling them to participate in sustainable mountain development activities in collaboration with government, civil society, donors and the private sector.
? Strengthening research by combining traditional practices and scientific knowledge for developing actionable plans for implementing with the meaningful participation of stakeholders both in the mountains and downstream.
? Consolidating international and national funding mechanisms and resources for financing sustainable development programmes and achieving well being of mountain people.
PART I: Setting the stage
1.1 General overview and introduction of the South East Asia and Pacific (SEAP Region)
Geographic areas lying between the continents of Asia and Australia, covering countries that are located south of China, east of India and north of Australia comprise the Southeast Asia and Pacific (SEAP) region. SEAP lies at the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic and volcanic activity. Although SEAP mountain ranges are much smaller compared to the Himalayas, they are much richer in floral and faunal diversity.
The region is divided into two geographic areas: (1) Mainland Southeast Asia or Indochina comprising of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Peninsular Malaysia, and (2) Maritime Southeast Asia, also called the Malay Archipelago which is composed of Brunei, East Malaysia, East Timor, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore. The Myanmar Mountains are actually part of the Himalayan ranges with peaks ranging between 5,881 meters above sea level (masl) corresponding to the highest mountain of Hkakabo Razi to over 2,000 masl for 30 other peaks. The second highest peak in the region is Puncak Jaya (4,884 masl) in Indonesia, followed by Mount Kinabalu at 4,093 masl, which is the highest mountain of Malaysia and Borneo.
The area is rich in history, has varied people and cultures living amidst warm tropical climate. The mountains, jungles, lakes, rivers, and SEAs of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam form one of the biggest biodiversity pools in the world. They are also home to numerous centers where restricted-range birds, plant and insect species are concentrated. Southeast also Asia has one-third (or 284,000 square kilometers) of all coral reefs, in the world, which are also among the most diverse.
In the Philippines, there are three large mountain ranges in the country?s largest island, Luzon, of which Sierra Madre is the longest. The world-famous, almost perfectly cone-shaped Mayon Volcano in the province of Albay and Mount Bulusan in the province of Sorsogon form part of the Caraballo de Baler mountain range. The highest mountain peak in the Philippines is Mount Apo, located in Davao del Sur, Mindanao Island, which has a height of 2,954 masl. Other notable Philippine mountains are Mt. Pulag (the second highest mountain peak located in Northern Philippines), Mt. Banahaw and adjoining San Cristobal in Laguna and Quezon provinces (Luzon), Mt. Arayat in the province of Pampanga (Luzon), Mt. Baco in the island of Mindoro, Mt. Matalingajan in the island province of Palawan, and Mt. Makaturing in Lanao del Sur province (Mindanao).
Papua New Guinea (PNG) has a distinct mountain geography, biodiversity and culture. It is classified as one of earth?s mega diverse regions, owing much of its diversity to its varied and distinct topography. It has isolated mountain ranges that are home to unique fauna and flora found nowhere else. Each mountain range has been bestowed with different species whose composition changes with altitude. The Forest biodiversity found in the lowlands are similar to those in Southeast Asia. In mountains at about 1500 masl, the faunal biodiversity is very different from regions with much higher species diversity. The faunal diversity traces its origin in Australia, among the marsupials in this island-continent. Shrub and grasslands dominate the tropical montane Forest vegetation at 3000 masl. After crossing timberline, cryosphere and alpine grassland and herbaceous plants dominate the vegetation. The region also has rich bird and butterfly habitats.
The major river basins of the SEAP region, with the Mekong River as the major river system, are shown in Figure 1 below:
1.2 Mountains of Asia Pacific region
It is estimated that some 40 million sq km or 27% of total land area of the world lies above 1,000 masl. The breakdown of this elevated land surface is as follows: 24 million sq km at 1000-2000 masl,
10 million sq km at 2000-3000 masl, 6 million sq km above 3000 masli. A large percentage of the high
(900m+) to low (300-900m) mountains are found in Eurasia as can be seen in Table 1 below:
Table 1: Distribution of Mountain Typesii
Mountain Type (Elevation Africa Australia Eurasia North South World
range) America America
High Mountains (900m+) 4 1 23 16 11 13
Low Mountains (300-900m) 13 12 21 10 11 14
Hill (0-300m) 11 12 10 18 5 8
Total 28 25 54 44 27 35
Asia is unique among the continents in that it is mountain heartediii. Geographically, mountains in the
Asia Pacific can be categorized as follows (Table 2):
Table 2: Major mountains in Asia Pacific grouped according to region of occurrenceiv
South Asia West Asia Central Asia North-East Asia South-East
Karakoram Iran Plateau Tibetan
Eastern Russia Continental
Himalaya Trans- Caucasia
Hengduan North and East
North-East Anatolia Kun Lun Korean Peninsula Insular New
Peninsula Arabia Pamir Japanese
North- Tien Shan
These mountain systems serve as vital source of ecosystem goods and services for people living in the Asia Pacific mountain areas as well those downstream. Such goods and services include natural system regulation, water and energy, Forest and biodiversity, fertile top soil, tourism, minerals, protected areas and carbon and several other secondary and tertiary products from the mountain areas. Unlike many goods and services that are produced downstream, mountain services are strongly integrated with the topography and coexist with other mutually supportive mountain resources. For example, a nicely managed watershed ensures better biodiversity, prevents the occurrence of potential hazards, provides balanced flow of nutrients to cultivated land, and contributes to Forest and plant conservation, maintains landscape beauty and the vast diversity of economic opportunities, as well as the richness in culture and languages of people living in the mountain areas. Among these services, water seems to be the single most important service that the mountains in the region offer.
1.3 Trends in the SEAP mountain regions over the last twenty years
To our knowledge, no comprehensive report has been prepared to exclusively account for the SEAP mountain people. Available information is taken from largely generalized sources and hardly shows the real picture of the SEAP mountain situation.
1.3.1 Demography and socioeconomic development
In 2005, the total population of Southeast Asia was estimated at 558.2 million (ASEAN, 2005). This makes up about 8.6% of the world?s total population in the same year. All member countries are experiencing different levels of socioeconomic development under diverse socio-cultural imperatives. Nonetheless, all countries in ASEAN are undergoing demographic transition albeit at different rates and stages.
Population growth rate is high among all countries. In 2009, Malaysia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea experienced more than 2 percent population growth. The total population of the developing member countries grew by 1.7% in 1990 but by 2009, growth had slowed to less than 1.1%. Quality of life (life expectancy for both men and women) has increased in all countries from 1990 to 2008. Majority of these countries are categorized under Medium Human Development. Literacy rate at all age groups has increased quite significantly.
Between 1970 and 2000, the young adult (15-24 years) population grew from around 18 percent to approximately 21 percent of the total population in the SEAP region. This age group has been and will continue to be a major factor that contributes to migration levels, especially rural to urban movement. As a consequence, urban areas become increasingly ?young? in their demographic profiles.1
One factor that sets the Southeast and East Asian countries apart from most other countries in the world, with the exception of those in Latin America, is the high level of female migration, especially rural to urban migration. The level of female migration has increased over recent decades. Moreover, in such rural-urban migration streams, the majority of female migrants are young and unmarried. These result in urban populations that include large numbers of young unmarried females, who usually live away from their families. The concentration of young adult females in urban areas is particularly pronounced in the ?mega cities? of East and Southeast Asia.2
1 Guest, Philip, Bridging the Gap: Internal Migration in Asia. Paper prepared for Conference on African Migration in Comparative Perspective, Johannesburg, South Africa, June 4-7, 2003. Population Council, Thailand.
Since the 1980s, labor migration has been increasingly feminized in East and Southeast. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, more than two million women were estimated to be working in the region, accounting for one third of its migrant population. Most female migrants are in reproductive occupations such as domestic work and sex services, in private households, and informal commercial sectors. Despite the great need to protect their welfare and human rights, governments of destination countries view migrants as mere workforce to meet labor shortages, and neglect the implementation of protective measures and gender-sensitive policies. Under pressure to increase foreign revenues, labor-source countries encourage their women to migrate and remit their earnings from abroad. In the face of global competition, governments of source countries have shown little interest in their migrant women?s welfare. Given the E/SE Asian countries? bleak human rights record, non-state actors have assumed increasing importance in advocating migrants? rights, which they have done through local and transnational networks.3
1.3.2 Globalization and economic liberalization
Many civil society organizations see the forces of globalization as threats to sustainable mountain development, and that these forces are greatly skewed in favor of external interests. Mining and expansion of plantations for agro-fuels are considered the biggest threats to forests and Forest communities, as such encroach on ancestral domains, displace indigenous tribes and endanger Forest ecosystems. The island province of Palawan in the Philippines, for example, has 354 mining applications while the island of Mindoro has 92, some of which are already operating sans the proper permits. In contrast, land titling has remained a long and difficult process for indigenous communities. The issuance of permits for gathering non-timber Forest products (NTFPs) has remained to be slow and tedious. Community development plans that are supposed to serve as permits take a long time to approve. In the meantime, the livelihood of mountain communities is negated, as many are not able to harvest rattans and other NTFPs.4
Globalization and economic liberalization impinge on mountain people in multiple ways. Economic opportunities have diversified, opening up markets for high value-low volume products available in the mountains. Likewise, several new technologies were introduced that helped in establishing small- and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in the mountain areas. Overall, there is net positive effect on the livelihood of mountain people.
On the other hand, bonafidé mountain residents do not benefit much from businesses owned and operated by non-mountain people. The mountain peoples? involvements in such enterprises are restricted to low-profit making supply of cheap raw materials or the provision of menial labor as porters or helpers. Meanwhile, competition for the limited products in the mountain areas has increased, and the introduction of goods from outside threatens the security of markets for locally- produced products. Many traditional systems and processes, like ?barter trade,? are now becoming things of the past as dependency of mountain people on imported products is increasing. This has also intensified out-migration from mountain areas, thereby affecting negatively the preservation of specific cultures, traditions, customs and languages across mountain regions.
The integration of mountain subsistence economies with the urban-based market has made it necessary for mountain people to earn cash incomes that are chiefly available in urban centers in the lowland.
1.3.3 Political changes and democratization movement
The remoteness, ruggedness and relative inaccessibility of mountain areas have spawned the poverty and isolation of mountain communities. Receiving little government support for development and
3 Yamanaka, Keiko and Nicola Piper, Feminized Migration in East and Southeast Asia: Policies, Actions and Empowerment. Summary. Occasional paper. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Geneva, Switzerland. December 2005. iv
4 Annual Report 2009 to HIVOS. Strengthening community and NGO capacity in sustainable NTFP
management through advocacy, livelihood and research and learning programs. NTFP-EP for South and
social services, remote mountains have virtually become ungoverned spaces where the State faces significant challenges in establishing control over the area. These areas have poorly controlled or delineated land borders, where the central government?s authority is not felt or is virtually non- existent. It follows that in these regions, the state is unable or unwilling to perform its functions. This is not to say that these territories are devoid of governance; rather, the structures of authority that exist are not related to the formal institutions of the state. 5
The factors that determine governability include: (1) the level of state penetration of the society; (2) the extent to which the state has a monopoly on the use of force; (3) the extent to which the state controls its borders; and (4) whether the state is subject to external intervention by other states. State penetration of society can be measured in terms of the presence or absence of state institutions; the state of the physical infrastructure; the prevalence of the informal or gray economy; and social and cultural resistance to state penetration.6
As ungoverned territories, mountains become the arena for internal or inter-border armed conflicts such as those seen along the Afghan-Pakistani borders, in the Philippines and some other parts in the Asia Pacific region. In the RAND study (2007), the eight case studies covered the Pakistani-Afghan border region and the Sulawesi-Mindanao arc in Southeast Asia.
Several measures were proposed (RAND, 2007) to deny non-state armed groups from using ungoverned spaces as their sanctuary. Such measures include the reevaluation of the role of development assistance and the strengthening of governance. Currently, the United States emphasizes security cooperation and military assistance in dealing with the security problems that ungoverned territories generate. Extending the reach of government should also involve other activities. One possible option is the use of development assistance as a tool to encourage recipient governments to invest in infrastructure and institutions in regions where they have abdicated their governing responsibilities.
The promotion of competent practices will also help government gain back its control over ungoverned spaces. Lack of coordination among agencies is a major obstacle in improving governance. Therefore, providing expert advice to officials on how to coordinate actions across departments and to minimize bureaucratic competition is an important step in strengthening public sector capabilities. The improvement of the transportation infrastructure could have profound effects in many ungoverned territories as such will enhance overall mobility within society.
The United States has been grappling with radical Islamist groups in Southeast Asia, particularly those in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore that are suspected to have ties to the Al Qaeda terrorist network. Southeast Asia is a base for past, current, and possibly future Al Qaeda operations. For nearly fifteen years, Al Qaeda has penetrated the region by establishing local cells, training Southeast Asians in its camps in Afghanistan, and by financing and cooperating with indigenous radical Islamist groups. Indonesia and the southern, generally mountainous regions in the Philippines have been particularly vulnerable to penetration by anti-US Islamic terrorist groups.7
In 2009, the US government shifted its counterinsurgency (COIN) efforts to blend comprehensive civilian and military efforts while simultaneously containing insurgency and address its root causes. Unlike conventional warfare, non-military means are often the most effective elements, with military forces playing an enabling role. COIN is an extremely complex undertaking, which demands that policy makers have a detailed understanding of their own specialist field and a broad knowledge of a variety of related disciplines. Strategies are focused primarily on the population rather than the enemy and seek to reinforce the legitimacy of the affected government while reducing insurgent influence.
5 Rabasa, Angel, Steven Boraz, et al. Ungoverned Territories: Understanding and Reducing Terrorism Risks.
RAND Project Air Force. San Monica California. 2007. xv
7 Vaughn, Bruce, Coordinator. Terrorism in Southeast Asia, CRS Report for Congress. Congressional Research
Library. Updated February 7, 2005.
This can often only be achieved in concert with political reforms to improve the quality of governance and address underlying grievances, many of which may be legitimate.8
In the case of the Philippines, the administration of Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III has embraced a paradigm shift that hews to the US COIN concept in its Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP). The IPSP seeks to draw support from the broadest spectrum of stakeholders. It highlights the importance of increased stakeholder involvement - the national and local government agencies, nongovernment entities and the entire citizenry in addressing peace and security concerns. It gives equal emphasis to combat and non-combat dimensions of military operations. On the other hand, the IPSP departs from the old parameters and explores non-combat parameters of success in addressing the country?s peace and security problem.
The AFP realized that insurgency is largely driven by structural problems in Philippine society, such as unequal development, non-delivery of basic services, injustice, and poor governance - all of which are beyond the military?s purview. Moreover, insurgency cannot be viewed from a strictly state- focused perspective, that is, it is not a threat to the sovereignty of the state alone. More than the threat it poses to the country?s democracy and institutions, insurgency and armed conflict threatens the way of life, safety, and security of Filipinos. Addressing the insurgency problem, therefore, is something that cannot be done by the military alone.9
How structural development has favored urban areas in the Philippines is shown in many poverty alleviation studies. The gap between urban and rural areas has been increasing. While the poverty incidence in the urban areas has declined by 14 percentage points between the years 1985-2000, rural poverty incidence decreased by only 4 percentage points over the same period. Consequently, rural poverty is now more than double that of urban poverty. Urban and rural poverty incidences are presented in the following table.10
Poverty Incidence of Families, Urban-Rural, 1985-2000
Source of Data: Family Income and Expenditures Surveys, 1985 ? 2000, NSO
The Philippines has no segregated data between lowland and upland rural communities. Given the remoteness, ruggedness and relative isolation of mountain communities, it is likely that they would receive the least in terms of basic government services.
The highest State entity in remote hinterland communities in the Philippines is that of the military. Towards peacefully securing peace in far-flung mountains, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) must continue to sustain community development initiatives, including the construction of basic social infrastructures. Engineering and civic action units shall be deployed in areas where there are governance vacuums - which the Americans call ungoverned territories. Construction of short- gestation, high-impact projects such as irrigation systems and farm-to-market roads is intended to jumpstart the long-term building of more specialized projects by national government agencies and local government units.11
8 U.S. Government Insurgency Guide. Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. January 2009. 2.
9 Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan. Executive Summary. Department of National Defense. 1
10 Reyes, Celia M. and Lani E. Valencia, Poverty Reduction Strategy and Poverty Monitoring: Philippine Case
Study. Reyes and Valencia are Senior Research Fellow of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies, CBMS-Philippines Project Leader and CBMS International Network Leader, and Research Associate, respectively.
1.3.4 Climate change as a major driver of change
A large body of scientific and historical evidence indicates that recent changes in climate in many mountain regions of the world are often greater than those observed in the adjacent lowlands. Mountains represent unique areas for climatic change detection and the assessment of climate-related impacts. Climate along with vegetation and hydrology changes rapidly with the height of mountains, over relatively short horizontal distances. As a result, mountains exhibit high biodiversity, often with sharp transitions (ecotones) in vegetation sequences. In addition, mountain ecosystems are often endemic because many species remain isolated at high elevations. This is unlike lowland vegetation communities that occupy climatic niches spread over wider latitudinal belts.
Climate change in the SEAP Mountains can bring about changes in water resources and hydropower generation, on slope and top soil stability, vegetational composition, disrupt cropping patterns and bring about other hazards that in turn impact on the well-being and livelihoods of mountain people.
To address these natural disasters and vulnerabilities, States have adopted disaster risk reduction as a matter of public policy. In the case of the Philippines, Republic Act 10121, otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 was passed by Congress. In the declaration of policy, the constitutional rights to life and property had been affirmed to include addressing the root causes of vulnerabilities to disasters, strengthening the country?s institutional capacity for disaster risk reduction and management, and building the resilience of local communities to disasters including climate change impacts.
1.3.5 Environmental degradation and land-use changes
Rapi human population growth is often identified as one of the main factors behind environmental degradation. Population affects the environment mainly through changes in land use and industrial metabolism (Turner and Meyer, 1991).
Southeast Asia has the highest relative rate of net Forest loss (0·71%) and degradation (0·42%) in the humid tropics (Achard et al. 2002), and could lose up to three-quarters of its original forests and almost half its diverse species by 2100 (Brook et al. 2003). While extensive forests are still found in Laos and Myanmar for commercial logging, widespread land use conversions of montane rainforests into rubber and palm oil plantations take place in Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia. Logging operations and road development pose a big threat to tiger habitats, and the conversion of forests to agriculture or commercial plantations has resulted in more frequent encounters between tigers and livestock (WWF). Human-tiger conflicts bring about very strong negative sentiments toward tigers among local people.
The main driver of deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia - and one of the key drivers in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands - has been the expansion of the palm oil monocultures. This economic activity has been associated with widespread Forest conversion and indigenous conflicts. In addition, palm oil production has also resulted in the destruction of key habitats of endangered primates. As a result of deforestation, Indonesia has become the third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide. The logging that precedes these industries in most cases opens up the Forest and provides added financial incentive to deforestation for agriculture. Sawit Watch states that the Indonesian government has already expanded oil palm concessions to cover 9.4M hectares and has granted permits for over 26 million hectares.12
The balance may tilt, however, in favor of the green economy and Forest conservation with the billion dollar agreement between the government of Norway and the Indonesian government to implement REDD. The signing came at the heels of the pledge of the Indonesian government for a two-year deforestation moratorium. However, there continues to be the lack of clarity on the implementation of the moratorium several months after the moratorium was declared on January 1, 2011. There is a strong lobby by plantation firms to exclude existing plantations from the moratorium. There are many competing proposals as to which kinds of forests will be included and the time frame covered by the moratorium.
1.3.6 Community involvement in natural resources management
In the 20th century, Southeast Asia?s forests were nationalized and the timber industry expanded its operations throughout the region, resulting in the degradation of vast Forest areas in the region. In the meantime, indigenous systems of natural resource management were displaced. The erosion of customary systems has led to the deterioration of natural resources in many parts of the region. The dissolution of traditional local institutional arrangements and practices has not been replaced with the establishment of more effective institutions and adequate resource management regimes.
12 Annual Report 2010 to HIVOS.
The rise of state agencies and private companies as Forest managers has generally coincided with an accelerating loss of natural forests throughout the Asia region during the post World War II era. Tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia receded from 250 million hectares in 1900 to below 60 million in 1989 (Poffenberger, 1990).
By the 1980s, the deforestation of Asian lowlands as well as the deteriorating condition of many upland watersheds began to generate serious concern among national planners and the development community alike. Floods and brownouts affecting Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and other urban centers brought deforestation issues to the attention of the public, thereby initiating a new generation of environmental protection policies including logging bans. There has been growing recognition through the 1990s in many Asian nations that rural people have an important role to play in managing and protecting forestlands, including those nominally under state jurisdiction.
Over the past two decades, a ground swell of support has emerged from many quarters to assist communities to re-establish management and control over their resources. Planners have crafted national Community Forest Management (CFM) policies, while legislatures have passed laws in empowering communities and local government with resources stewardship rights and responsibilities. The objectives of CFM is to establish the mechanisms for enhanced community participation in planning, development and benefit-sharing in selected watershed protection forests and production forests, and create possibilities for collaborative planning and management. These objectives are based on the premise that collaborative management is a practical solution to achieve sustainable multiple- use Forest management. Thus, CFM?s main feature is that it empowers local communities to participate in the planning and management of natural resources.
The experiences with CFM in the past two decades have shown the possibility of mainstreaming benefits for mountain peoples. ASEAN governments have embarked on policy-making from the top- down with bottom-up good practices in collaboration with regional civil society organizations. In the next phase of support of the Swiss government to ASEAN?s Multi-sectoral Framework on Climate Change and Food Security (AFCC), the Swiss Development Cooperation has asked the NTFP- Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP) for South and Southeast Asia to focus on enhancing civil society engagement of the ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN) with vulnerable groups such as indigenous and other mountain communities. In general, NTFP-EP would assist in facilitating mechanisms and initiatives between government and civil society partners to enhance social forestry policy and practice under the food security and climate change theme.13
1.3.7 Information and communication technologies (ICT)
ICTs have provided a new set of tools to provide solutions to development problems faced by regions like Southeast Asia. As a sector, ICT has contributed to the creation of the most rapidly growing industries, such as electronics, business process outsourcing, and telecommunication and internet services. As an infrastructure, ICT is seen as an enabler of economic growth and competitiveness based on the uptake and utilization of ICT in business and society (ADB, 2011). Southeast and Pacific nations spent 3 to 9 percentage of their total GDP (2008) in ICT related expenditures. In the last two decades, cellular subscriptions had exponentially grown and internet users also increased.
These show the high expectations about the applicability of such technologies. However, current uses are not necessarily focused toward human development. Policies are lacking to integrate ICTs with economical goals, and to combine ICTs with other development tools and engender active people?s participation. The digital divide is still large: more than 40 personal computers per hundred persons in a few countries, but less than 10 in most.
13 Annual Report 2010 to HIVOS. Strengthening community and NGO capacity in sustainable NTFP management through advocacy, livelihood and research and learning programs. NTFP-EP for South and Southeast Asia.
1.3.8 Expansion of tourism and ecotourism
The tourism sector is a major contributor to the socioeconomic development of Southeast Asian countries. For example, prior to the 2011 floods, Thailand has become hugely popular, attracting more than 12 million tourists every year. Tourism has made a large contribution to Thailand?s economy (typically about 6 percent of gross domestic product) more than any other Asian nation.
Thailand, Laos and Cambodia are increasingly struggling to identify destinations in their respective countries and attract a market that lends itself to sustainable tourism. Many Southeast Asian countries had planned to develop ecotourism as early as 1998, but had faced problems associated with the lack of infrastructure development, the adequacy of personnel training, the absence of, or delays in plan implementation, and political instability.14 The focus shifted to community-based approaches to ecotourism development because of the industry?s heavy reliance on national parks and other protected areas.
According to Leksakundilok (2004), Cambodia received 174, 574 foreign tourists at an annual increasing rate of 12.56 percent from 1962-68. Tourism in Cambodia grew very quickly thereafter, particularly after the 1993 election organized by the UN. The number of tourists increased by 21.3 percent per annum on average (from 118,183 in 1993 to 218,843 in 1997); in 1994 there was an increase of 49.44 percent (Khanal and Babar, 2007).
1.3.9 Major policy and legal reforms in NRM sectors
The policy link of national and local government units in natural resource management (NRM) is a crucial factor to the state of a country?s natural resources. In the 1990?s, a number of SEAP countries started to decentralize or devolve power and authority to local political units in response to criticisms of too much centralization in the past. Devolution involved the transfer of responsibility in the delivery
14 Dowlings, Ross K., Ecotourism in Southeast Asia: A Golden Opportunity for Local Communities, Tourism in
Southeast Asia?A New Direction. Chon, K.S., Editor, The Hayworth Hospitality Press. New York. 2000. p. 2
of basic services from the national government to the local government, including personnel, assets, equipment, programs and projects (Elazegui et al. 2001).
Each country is at a different stage in the implementation of decentralization policies but they must all deal with pressures stemming from competing uses for common natural resources, confusion over conflicting policies and/or laws, and socio-cultural diversity. Different case studies in Southeast Asian countries demonstrate that, although recognition is growing at all levels of society of the potential of decentralization as a viable option for natural resources management, reforms have not yet reached their desired levels. There have been only sporadic and intermittent attempts to develop ideal decentralization structures in compliance with the principles of subsidiarity, accountability, and capacity. Upward and downward accountability within and across sectors, jurisdictions, and organizations, both public and private, has yet to be fully established or practiced. Human, financial, and political resources are insufficient at the local level to match the increased responsibility that local governments have been granted under decentralization. Meanwhile, the perpetuation of the vicious circle of rural poverty continues, leading to further natural resources degradation. Decentralization efforts in Southeast Asia are still in the nascent stage, characterized by ?learning-by-doing.? Thus, it is still too early to conclude whether the ongoing reforms in Southeast Asia will ultimately be successful. (Kurauchi, et al. undated).
The devolution process within the national legal decentralization framework has started to flex its muscle in favor of downstream and upstream Forest-dependent communities. In May 2009, indigenous communities in Malaysia celebrated a hallmark court judgment on land rights in the case of Madeli Salleh versus the Superintendent of Land and Surveys. The judgment defined native customary rights not only as Forest-felled, cultivated and settled, but also communally protected Forest. This was strengthened by judgments in two recent cases in January 2010 that confirmed the rights of communities to their land, in particular the protected Forest. It also provides leverage for community- based conservation and traditional land use and management for food security and increased income through NTFP development.15
1.3.10 Harnessing the potential of water resources (Mekong Commission)
Water sources in Southeast Asia are strained by the increasing demand for water from different sectors such as agriculture, industry and domestic users. The situation is likely to worsen in the future. Shared water resources in Southeast Asia are also a concern (Yian, 2005). Energy demand is mostly met through fossil fuel-generated electricity; however, hydroelectric energy production is growing.
The Asia and Pacific region produces less than 32% of world?s energy, with the People?s Republic of China (PRC) producing almost half of the total energy in the region. Most Asian economies rely on imports to meet their energy needs. Measured by GDP per unit of energy use, most Asian economies are becoming more energy efficient. Vietnam?s electricity production increased eight times between
1990 and 2007. Other economies in Southeast Asia recorded large increases, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, and Thailand.
The Mekong River is one of the least developed major international river basins, covering parts of China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Mekong River is marked, on the one hand, by under-utilization of its vast water resources potential, and on the other by frequent large magnitude flooding that causes widespread damages and devastation. The governments of the four riparian countries of Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam signed in 1995 the Agreement on the Cooperation for the Sustainable Development of the Mekong River Basin, which established the Mekong River Commission. The objectives include the promotion and coordination of sustainable management and development of water and related resources for the countries? mutual benefit and the people?s well-being by implementing strategic programs and activities and sharing of scientific information and providing policy advice (WMO and MRC, 2006). The importance of the water
15 Annual Report 2009 to HIVOS.
resources development potential in the basin is evident in the amount of fresh water resources per capita estimated in the year 2002 as follows: 38,136 m3/per capita in Cambodia; 60,307 m3 in Lao PDR; 6,653 m3 in Thailand and 11,081 m3 in Vietnam.
The landlocked Southeast Asian mountains provide neighboring downstream communities within Laos with hydroelectric energy. Laos will build 10 hydroelectric dams, with five already under or nearing construction, over the next five years as part of its goals to become the ?battery of Southeast Asia.16 However, the Xayaburi hydro-electric plant, planned on the Mekong River, met with regional opposition. Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam have called for delay in the dam?s construction on the grounds that it could impact on downstream fisheries and sediment flows. To date, only China has built dams on the Mekong River, the longest waterway in Southeast Asia.
The Philippines can provide a solution to resolve these incipient water-resource conflicts. In building the Ambuclao-Binga hydroelectric dam in Benguet Province in Northern Philippines, multiple stakeholders with competing claims entered into collaborative negotiations and non-adversarial communication skills prior to actual negotiations and created a mechanism for dialogues that the stakeholders can access at any time. Needs-based negotiations of various players serve as the starting point for coming up with win-win solutions.17 The practice of seeking free and prior informed consent (FPIC) of key stakeholders before arriving at any decisions by all the parties involved is an alternative approach to averting stakeholder conflicts.
WMO and the Mekong River Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding in July 2003 and the first consultation meeting was held on October 2003 in Phnom Penh. The objective of this project is to establish and operate a real-time flood information system in the Mekong basin with Cambodia, Lao, Thailand and Vietnam as participating countries.
Pollution and weak institutions are obstacles to effective water management in most of Southeast Asia. Heavy river pollution has affected Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Weak institutions in Malaysia, for example, mean that the available technical expertise lacks legislative or enforcement powers. Privatization is an increasingly popular option for water management and delivery. Privatization is, however, not without controversy as it raises public fears of ?unbridled capitalism.? Furthermore, government failure does not automatically justify private sector involvement in the water sector as transforming state monopoly into a private monopoly could worsen the situation, especially if the monopolist would take advantage of its privileged position (Yian, 2005).
1.3.11 Social and political reforms in Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam
The Asian financial crisis in 1997-1998 changed Indonesia?s economic and political landscape virtually overnight. Indonesia was one of the worst casualties of the krismon (monetary crisis), and the resultant economic disaster severely damaged the legitimacy of the New Order regime, eventually triggering President Suharto?s political demise. This in turn catalyzed a swift transition in Indonesia characterized by deep political and economic decentralization. Since this ?big-bang? reform occurred, Indonesia has displayed modest yet positive economic growth, dealt with major separatist movements, and established arguably the most democratic state in the region. The Indonesian economy is driven significantly by domestic consumption, which arguably sheltered Indonesia from unfavorable external shocks during the recent global financial crisis.18
16 Hydropower dams in Southeast Asia, the Straits Times, September 14, 2010. http://www.eco- business.com/news/hydropower-dams-southeast-asia/ Accessed August 27, 2011
17 Abaya, Annabelle, e-Conference on Sustainable Mountain Development in the Southeast Asia, June 1-30,
2011. http://dgroups.org/Community.aspx?c=1e8d0925-6418-4258-a6ae-73d720453099. Accessed September 1,
18 Tao Kong, Sherry. Economic and political transition in China and Indonesia. East Asia Forum. August 4,
2010. http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2010/08/04/economic-and-political-transition-in-china-and-indonesia/. Accessed September 29, 2011.
Meanwhile, Indonesia?s Forestry Administration reported in 2010 that there are 427 community forestry site applications covering over 400,000 hectares in 20 provinces, but only 126 sites equivalent to 145,036 hectares have been approved. The Community Forestry Program (CFP) is one of the sub- programs in the recently launched National Forestry Program (NFP). In theory, Community Forestry (CF) holds promise for sustainable Forest management and promotion of community-based Forest livelihoods. Non-government organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders including the reconstituted National Community Forestry Coordinating Committee (NCFPCC) continue to raise concerns about boundary overlaps between economic land concessions (ELCs) and community forestry areas. ELCs continue to be allocated with limited community consultation and information disclosure, and pose considerable impediments to meeting the 2M community forestry target. Community protected areas (a parallel social forestry and community based natural resources management mechanism under the Protected Areas Law) face the same challenges.
One of Cambodia?s Millennium Development Goals targets is to designate 2 million hectares of Forest land as Community Forestry by 2030.19 But disputes over land and natural resources in Cambodia remain an utmost concern especially in developing the green economy and the institutionalization of CF as an expression of devolution and decentralization. There have been increasing cases of land grabbing, as well as evictions and loss of livelihoods in both rural and urban areas. Correspondingly, growth in civil society actions is emerging: activism and protest action with human rights defenders being threatened, intimidated, physically abused and temporarily detained. Active non-violence and mobilization of community networks are also rising. The disputes center on ELCs and international land deals over commercial projects such as real estate, mining and plantations. While a sub-decree on procedures for registering communal lands of indigenous peoples has been passed in April 2009, so far, only three pilot titles in the Northeast are underway. Interim protection measures for indigenous land claimants are weak against ELCs, which are generally favored over possession rights of IPs despite the Land Law and the new sub-decree.20
Vietnam has undergone an impressive socio-economic transformation. The country?s current economic development stems from its twenty-year reform program, known as the Doi Moi (renovation process). This was introduced in 1986 after Vietnam experienced a huge economic crisis in the
mid‐1980s during which over 70 per cent of the Vietnamese population lived in poverty with an
average per capita income of less than US$100. Since then, the economy has opened up with export
and investment surging. In stark contrast to Vietnam?s economic situation in the mid-1980s, the average economic growth rate has consistently been above 7 per cent per year in the last two decades. Today?s GDP per capita (The Economist, 2010) is US $1,240 while the household poverty rate stood at 12.3 per cent of the population in 2009. Like its neighbor, China, Vietnam and its economy are increasingly outward investment-oriented and export driven. The total export volume made up over 65 percent of the country?s GDP in 2008, with the US, the EU, Japan and Australia as the biggest export
markets. Vietnam is in a transition from being an aid‐recipient to becoming a middle‐income country.
Most indicators of the population?s living standards and welfare have improved.
In the natural resource management front, Vietnam is experimenting with co-management schemes and benefit-sharing for Forest communities living in national parks. Vietnam?s new biodiversity law gives recognition for reasonable use of biodiversity to harmonize conservation with hunger and poverty alleviation. The concept of people participation in Forest management is still very new in the country?s national parks, and various sectors are still struggling to reach compromises. The government is slowly starting to give communities permission to harvest within national parks. The Raglay community in Nui Chua was relocated at first and had been kept away from their Forest and Forest resources when the Nui Chua National Park was established. They were made to plant trees and crops they can use economically, but most of them still had their farms inside the park. Now they are starting to have access to NTFPs and at the same time help the park management in patrolling the
19 Annual Report 2010 to HIVOS.
area.21 In the meantime, a trial Benefit Sharing Mechanism has been initiated based on the Vietnam
Conservation Fund that will develop five protected areas.
1.3.12 Major activities in promoting the Mountain Agenda
A great majority of Southeast Asian countries took part in the UNCED in Rio in 1992, and almost all have acceded to or ratified the relevant international conventions and treaties for sustainable development. Each has taken a different thrust toward the realization of national development objectives. These include economic incentives, new legislation, and a social reform agenda.22
A decade later, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) established a partnership (the Task Force) to undertake the preparatory process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Forty-nine (49) representatives from the governments of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Lao People?s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam attended the meeting held in October 2001 at the ADB Headquarters in Manila. About 40 representatives of major stakeholder groups from seven countries also took part in the meeting. The preparatory process crafted a sub-regional action plan which peripherally tackled sectoral SMD issues such as sustainable land management and biodiversity conservation, and sustainable water resource management.23
The Philippines formulated Philippine Agenda 21 (PA21) which has since been considered as the highest policy framework for civil society participation in environmental governance in the country. In
1996, the leaders of more than 5000 organizations under the informal banner of the Asia Pacific
Sustainable Development Initiatives (APSUD) rallied around PA21 as their framework for negotiations with government on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (APEC). Even those
who questioned APSUD?s stance in APEC did not oppose PA21; rather, they questioned the sincerity
of government in carrying out the promises they made to put the Individual Action Plan (IAP) under
Other regional funding mechanisms came into existence. An example is the Samdhana Foundation based in Bali, Indonesia. The foundation acts as an adviser for Global Greengrants Fund grants to groups in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, East Timor, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Its vision is for a region where natural, cultural, and spiritual diversity are valued and environmental conflicts are resolved peacefully, with justice and equity for all parties. Achieving this requires that communities that directly manage their local natural resources have clear rights, ready recourse to justice, strong and skilled leadership, stable financial resources, and access to appropriate technical support.25 There have been a number of Southeast Asian NGOs and community-based organizations that had received Samdhana funds including 112 grants in Indonesia, 54 in the Philippines, and 14 others received by Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand.
1.3.13 Role of non-government (NGOs) and civil society (CSO) organizations
The forces of globalization and the emergence of civil society have led governments to accept the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the governance of society. An important contributor to the growth of Asia Pacific civil society is the emergence of a favorable political and social environment for the operation of Non-Governmental Programs. The restoration of democratic
21 Annual Report 2009 to HIVOS.
22 Executive Summary, The Southeast Asia Preparatory Meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002, http://www.adb.org/Documents/Reports/SEA_WSSD/exec_summary.pdf Accessed September 2, 2011
24 Philippine Agenda 21, Center for Alternative Development Initiatives, http://www.cadi.ph/philippine_agenda_21.htm Accessed September 2, 2011
governments in various nations helped to galvanize public support for civil society organizations, which played a large role in the movement (Kim, 2004).
They have become legitimate (policy) actors involved directly in many social and economic policy making process. They have become part of policy networks that link state bureaucracy and the market. There are many factors that have influenced the NGO sector?s growth in the region. For nations that have undergone political regime changes, socio-political democratization enabled many NGOs to take advantage of newly found freedom of association and representation.
The rapid growth of the civil society sector and the growing recognition of civil society players in the policy making and service delivery functions have warranted the redefinition of the relationship between the NGO sector and the state. The (re)emergence of civil society in the region often created uneasiness on the part of the government in terms of state-NGO relationship. Unlike some developed nations that have experienced more ?evolutionary? changes in the state-NGO relationship, many of Asia Pacific nations, especially those that have witnessed political democratization, have undergone changes that are more ?revolutionary? in nature. Government bureaucrats in many of Asian countries had adopted the developmental state model where strong and centralized governments and top-down decision making process were the accepted norm. In addition, the change from an exclusive bureaucratic network to a more inclusive network in terms of policy-making and implementation process occurred within a short period of time and was forced upon state bureaucracies. Changes in (democratic) governance in a very short time span have necessitated shifts in societal players? positions and roles. But the quicker the state bureaucracy moves to accept diversity and democratic governance, the easier the transition will become for all parties concerned.
Numerous cases where civil society has provided the good practices eventually led to the crafting of state policies in Southeast Asia. In Papua New Guinea, the 1998 Steering Committee meeting developed a set of principles for effective development on the Managalas Plateau. The ?Sustainable Development Guidelines? covered aspects of Forest use, gardening, water and other issues in resource management and community development. These guidelines were intended to inform the plans and decisions of each village. Significantly, these bottom-up guidelines have now been recognized and adopted by the government. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between Partners and the Oro Provincial Government providing an initial foundation for government recognition of the Managalas sustainable development guidelines. This is the first local level recognition of community development management rules in PNG and by itself, a significant achievement. Sustainable harvest guidelines have been completed for the okari and there is some recognition of harvest regimes that take these into account.
NGOs have also been leading the promotion of organic farming. In the Philippines, Alter Trade promoted fair trade among agrarian reform beneficiaries in the upland and lowland farms of Negros Occidental. Alter Trade sees ?the necessary role of government, academic institutions, church, private sector, NGOs, organized producers and consumers and civil society in propagating sustainable agriculture and development.? It has entered into multi-stakeholder partnerships to harness the potentials and facilitate complementation among the different social sectors.26
The idea of an alternative trading system - or what the Japanese support groups call people-to-people trade - was first broached in 1986 during a conference in Japan. Invited to the conference were consumers? cooperatives, environmental activists and organic agriculture movements. Present were three major groups - the Kyoseisha Coop, a large consumers cooperative in Kyushu, the Tokushima Association for the Betterment of Life, a consumers group in Tokushima Prefecture in Shikoku Island, and the Chubu Recycling Citizens? Group, an influential citizens? organization in Nagoya concerned with the environment and direct producer-consumer linkages. These groups committed to buy muscovado sugar, which was largely seen as a ?poor man?s sugar.? Alter Trade view muscovado sugar as an apt statement of its vision to help the poor people of Negros Island in the Philippines. It adopted
26 Mugar, Norma, Alter Trade?s Reply to NDF-Negros, February 7, 2007. (Accessed November 26, 2010). http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?page=article_impr&id_article=5137
the brand name Mascobado, ?mas? meaning the masses - the ordinary people. The product was first shipped to Japan in 1987 with cooperatives in Japan as its initial market. A year later, trading firms that espoused the principles of fair trade from Switzerland and Germany, and then Italy, began buying the poor man?s sugar.
Another NGO in Negros Occidental, central Philippines, the Broad Initiatives for Negros Development, Inc. (BIND) has been helping farmers use vermi-compost as fertilizer and herbal plants to ward off farm pests in organic rice and vegetables production (The Manila Times 19 February
2005). They also produce organic livestock among many other products. 27,28
1.3.14 Poverty reduction measures and successes
One important lesson that has emerged in tackling poverty and food insecurity concerns the use of investment policy and institutional reforms to enable the rural poor to partake of domestic markets and improve access to technology, infrastructure and education. Many success stories would show that the main push to these efficiency-enhancing reforms has come, neither from globalization nor agricultural policy, but from internal realization that the country and its citizens are the major beneficiaries of state-initiated reforms. Governments must develop capacity to find the appropriate mix of policies and institutions that would maximize the enormous benefits from globalization while protecting its people against its risks and pitfalls.
Although poverty remains as one of the most pressing issues facing Asia and the Pacific, the Southeast Asian region should be credited for continuously making progress in reducing income poverty and enhancing people-oriented achievements toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Despite some progress over the last few decades, the region remains home to two thirds of the global poor.
Economic growth during the last 25 years has averaged at five percent per year and has been accompanied by a decline in the relative importance of agriculture in the national output and employment. The response of poverty to this growth and structural transformation has been equally remarkable, with the headcount ratio in 2002 registering a more than 50 percent drop from the 1990 figure. Although impressive, Southeast Asia?s overall record in growth and poverty reduction has not been uniform, which is evident in the experiences of countries like Indonesia, Philippines and East Timor as well as the transition economies namely, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam. In these countries, liberalizing agricultural trade, combined with public investment in productivity- enhancing support services, would advance the interests of the poor (Balisacan et al. 2009).
1.3.15 Growing urbanization and labor migration
Southeast Asia is one of the world?s least urbanized regions. Its level of urbanization is roughly the same as that of Asia as a whole and slightly above that of sub-Saharan Africa. According to UN projections, it will be at least another 50 years before the level of urbanization in Southeast Asia approaches that already achieved in Europe, North America or Latin America, where less than 25 percent of the population now live in non-urban areas. Even among the 25 percent who remain in rural settings, most no longer lead traditionally rural lives (Jones, 2002).
Rapid economic growth has fundamentally changed the composition and distribution of Southeast Asia?s labor force. Over the past 25 years, a labor force that was predominantly agrarian and rural has become increasingly urban and industrial. As Southeast Asia?s regional economy shifts from agriculture toward industrial and technological pursuits, employers increasingly require highly-skilled and talented professionals, which the local educational institutions cannot readily supply.
27 Faylon, Patricio and Cardona, Eileen C., Philippine Agriculture: Retrospect and Prospects in Good Agricultural Practices Amid Globalization, May 16, 2007. Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines, http://www.agnet.org/library/bc/54006/. Accessed September 3, 2011.
28Samonte, Angelo, S., NGO lends helping hand, Manila Bulletin, February 19, 2005. http://www.docstoc.com/docs/2908129/Manila-Bulletin Accessed September 3, 2011.
Consequently, the developing nations of Southeast Asia are faced with a variety of human resource dilemmas.
The changing structure of urban population across different categories reveals a shift of growth dynamics from large to second order cities and the stagnation of small towns. The pace of urbanization has been modest to high in select countries in Asia, not because of their level of economic growth but because of rapidly growing informal sectors (Kundu, 2009).
There has been a growing concentration of international out-migrants from Asia to a few countries in the developed world. In 1960, 57 per cent of all migrants lived in the less developed regions but this has increased to 37% by 2005. Asia accounts for 53 million or 28 per cent of this sector basically due to its high demographic weight. In terms of the share in total international migrants, exactly half among the top twenty countries are from Asia, both in 1990 as well as in 2005.
Since the 1990s, migration within Asia has grown, particularly from less-developed countries with massive labor surpluses to fast-growing newly industrializing countries. Since the mid-1980s, rapid economic growth and declining fertility have led to strong demand for labor in the new industrial economies of East and Southeast Asia. Labor migration within Asia grew exponentially in the first half of the 1990s. Some migrants returned home during the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1999, but labor migration resumed quickly. Early migrant flows mainly comprised of low-skilled workers. In recent years, flows of highly skilled workforce have increased throughout the region, and the demand for health-care workers is increasing.
Often cited as the main reasons for the movement of workers both within and external to the region, are wage differentials, the availability of jobs and work opportunities (in some cases for long periods), and opportunities for workers to grow in the labor market (Acharya, 2003). On the downside, opportunities in nearby urban areas have spawned slum areas. About two-thirds of the urban population in most Southeast Asian cities lives in slums.
The number of urban dwellers swelled between 1990 and 2009, with increases of 12 percentage points or more in PRC, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand. Likewise, highly urbanized mountain cities such as Baguio City in the Philippines grapple with population growth due to the influx of immigrants from the plains and outlying mountain communities.
1.3.16 Human Resources Development
Asia and Pacific is a vast region with economies at different stages of growth. World-wide competition has increased, the pace of economic change has accelerated, and the process of development has become less predictable. The advent of globalization has fostered not only technological change and continually falling communication and transport costs but also decisions of developing countries to embrace market-oriented development strategies that have increasingly opened up markets to the world economy. The world is thus fast becoming one interdependent global market place.
A key contributor in this regard is the knowledge and skills of the workforce. Technological changes, especially information technology and telecommunications, and competition in the fast moving competitive global marketplace have changed work organizations and working patterns. Virtual offices are emerging as companies are leveraging cyberspace and electronic technology to cut costs and to boost productivity. These firms need reliable and educated workers, who are able to understand the new forms of information, adaptable, and who can work in a team environment. Employees need both technical skills and the capacity to cope with continuous and radical changes in virtual businesses.
Finding adequate human resources in Southeast Asia presents a problem, as there is a shortage of skilled labor in many of the developing countries. However, doing business in the region offers opportunity for employing a relatively inexpensive workforce in the Asian region.
1.3.17 Growing awareness and importance of indigenous and traditional knowledge
The rich diversity of plants in the Asia Pacific region has been used by people for many generations, for food and medicine, among many other applications. There is an abundance of, and a constantly evolving, local expertise in plant genetic resources. Annual global sales of products derived from the manipulation of genetic resources lie between US$ 500 and US$800 billion annually. Sale of herbal medicine alone is estimated to have exceeded US$ 12.5 billion in 1994 and US$ 30 billion in 2000, with annual growth rates averaging between 5% and 15%, depending on the region (GRAIN, 2002).
Indigenous peoples (IPs), many of whom are mountain dwellers, represent a significant proportion of the world?s poor. Reducing poverty among native tribes would contribute greatly to attaining the MDGs. As stewards of biodiversity in many environmental hot spots, IPs deserve to be assisted and protected as doing so redounds to safeguarding the global environment (IFAD, 2003).
1.4 Rapid economic growth
The rapid economic expansion in both China and India is a boon for the more advanced economies in Southeast Asia, notably Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, and Thailand. But growth in China and India will negatively affect the less-advanced neighbors, notably the transition countries, as well as the Philippines and Indonesia, as industries in these countries still have to contend with unskilled labor.
The Asia and Pacific region accounts for almost one-third of global GDP measured in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms. Many economies in the region have made substantial increases in their per capita GDP in recent times. Although the 2009 GDPs were lower in constant prices, most economies still managed to post modest or even healthy, growth, despite weakening export markets and lower shares of exports in GDP in almost all economies as compared with pre-crisis levels.
1.5 Major and support organizations in sustainable mountain development
1.5.1 Hydro-meteorological observation facilities
Hydro-meteorological data and information are essential to support water resources development and management, and for flood forecasting and disaster warning activities. The existing hydrological and hydro-meteorological networks in the region are insufficient, especially in the mountainous areas. Technologies involved in the data collection, transmission and processing should be improved to achieve state-of-the-art process sophistication and operational efficiency.
1.5.2 Earth observation facilities
Earth observation satellites have a central role to play in understanding the Earth system as a whole. They overcome the difficulty of obtaining accurate, continuous, simultaneous measurements of the Earth?s atmosphere, oceans, ice sheets, land surface and interior. They are often the only way to highlight gradual change on a global scale.
The relevance of geographic information (GI) and earth observation (EO) applications in supporting decision-making is being increasingly realized by technical experts, practitioners and policy makers. There is a growing need for generating spatial and temporal data to aid planning, management and policy formulation in the mountain context. Because of the vast biophysical and socio-cultural diversity of mountain ecosystems, data generation is difficult. Consequently, the proper delineation of areas where appropriate management and policy reforms can be initiated is hardly done. In addition, available records and data sets are often not comparable because of differences in standards, scale, and accuracy and collection procedures.
The last decade has witnessed an unprecedented growth and development in earth observation data and applications. Earth observation techniques through remote sensing are proving to be more cost- effective than ground-based techniques over large areas. There has been an emergence of high resolution satellite data in recent years, with greater degree of spatial and temporal variations than ever
before. The sharper resolution can yield useful, site-specific information that are needed to come up with more unambiguous prescriptions to deal with location-specific problems in the mountains.
PART II: Progress of changes in the SEAP region since 1992
2.1 Overview of the assessment and results
2.1.1 The specific aims of the SEAP Regional Assessment
? review commitments, by taking stock of the progress made in development across the mountain areas of the world over the past 20 years, by presenting and appraising strategies, policies, and instruments, and programs by mountain communities, governments, civil society organisations, academia, and the private sector for promoting sustainable mountain development in the South East Asia and Pacific (SEAP) mountain regions;
? Analyse emerging issues and challenges, by identifying gaps relating to mountain development in different mountain regions recognising that there are regional specificities and variations; and
? Discuss ways forward for closing these gaps and for enhancing sustainable development in mountain regions worldwide.
2.1.2 General Methodology and Assessment Process
The assessment followed a common framework for case study selection and case study methodology. The report must ensure the inclusion of the three-pronged objective of securing renewed political and financial commitment, assessing the progress to date and remaining gaps, and addressing new and emerging challenges as a strategic entry point to the Rio+20 agenda. The assessment focused on the two major themes of the Rio+20 Conference: Green Economy and Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development and Good Environmental Governance. The report covers two geographic areas to provide the context of SEAP region and was prepared following a multi-stakeholder dialogue and consultations.
A. Virtual (e-conference) consultations
Table I: Summary information on the ICIMOD-organized e-Conferences (Stakeholder Consultation on
No. of stakeholders participated
Countries represented with major concentration
Total contributions and eye catchers
Pacific e- conference
20 countries AP, Europe, North & Latin America (mostly from South and Southeast Asia)
Key topics: Natural resource (NR) conflicts,
indigenous community rights over NRs
B. Commissioning of case studies
Table II: Distribution of case studies by countries and themes
Total case studies/remarks
South East Asia and Pacific case studies
Indonesia, Philippines, PNG and Vietnam
4 case studies that involved examination of what worked and what did not and what are the policy weaknesses
Watershed management, Forest conservation, Beekeeping and bio- resources conservation
C. Workshop of stakeholders from the SEAP region
Table III: AP regional capacity building and knowledge sharing workshops
Asia-Pacific Youth Forum on Climate Actions and Mountain Issues (convened as Asia Pacific Youth meeting on Rio+20), 8-12
43 YOUTH from 17 countries
Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan,
Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
- Capacity building sessions
- Motivational sessions
- Sustainability exercises
- Team works developing youth statements for Rio+20
- Asia Pacific Youth Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development
- Asia Pacific Youth
Position paper on
Regional Sharing Workshop on Assessment of Challenges and Opportunities in the Asia Pacific region for Rio
161 participants from 10 countries, with 37 contributors
SEAP countries that participated: Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, PNG and Vietnam
- Presentation of and discussion on case studies
- Presentation of Key
- Sub/regional group works to assess key issues, challenges and opportunities and develop recommendations
- Finalization of structure of Assessment Report
- Documentation of key issues, challenges
- Development of key recommendations
2.2 Major progress by sectors highlighted by the four case studies
2.2.1 Community-based biodiversity/Forest conservation in PNG
2.2.2 Collaborative Forest management in Vietnam
2.2.3 Watershed management in Ikalahan, Philippines
2.2.4 Honey Bee Management as a NTFP product in Indonesia
2.2.1 The Managalas Plateau Conservation Area Project, Oro Province, Papua New
communities in the case study area since 1984. PwM?s involvement in the Managalas project had affirmed its belief that the full participation by the people in development is needed, as everyone benefits from doing so in the process. Although dealing with rural people was difficult, PwM insisted on the community?s active participation in development processes or programs that were intended to improve their lives, and transform the context and conditions within which they live and upon which their well-being depended. The local people were made to realize that they cannot remain recipients and mere spectators of development, but rather, that they are the cause of development.
2.2.2 Vietnam: Collaborative Forest Management (CFM) in Bidoup Nui Ba National
Park, Lam Dong province
Collaborative Forest Management (CFM) was introduced in 2007 and has been implemented at Bidoup Nui Ba National Park within a project called ?Piloting an Approach to Multiple-Use Forest Management in Lam Dong Province.? The objectives of CFM were to establish the mechanisms for enhanced community participation in planning, development and benefit-sharing at selected watershed protection forests and production forests, and to explore possibilities for collaborative planning, management and benefit sharing.
The FMGs have enhanced cohesion in Forest protection work, with local people working together as self-managed groups in coordination with the national park and Forest guards. Revolving Credit
Funds (RCFs) were also established in pilot villages. The RCFs appear to have been a success, as they allow the provision of village-managed credit to those who had no access to loans. While the loans did
not actually ?pay? people to protect forests, they have helped increase their motivation for such work.
Another project, ?Piloting of Payments Environmental Services,? in the Forest sector in Lam Dong province, contributed significantly toward poverty reduction and enhancing Forest protection. As a result, there has been a significant increase in both the income of households and the area of Forest contracted for protection with communities for the period 2008-2011.
The key factors to success of CFM in BNBNP were: (i) FMGs were established based on a process of negotiation and consultation with stakeholders; (ii) Implementation of CFM ensured fair and real benefits for all parties, and (iii) The piloting of payments for environmental services contributed significantly toward poverty reduction and enhanced the effectiveness of FMGs in protecting the forests.
The application and replication of CFM in Vietnam would need legal regulations and guidelines at the national level, but the project design did not have any provision for involving decision makers at that level. Consequently replication could be difficult, or limited to within the province only. The FMGs appear to have enhanced coordination for Forest protection between local people and the authorities but they have yet to facilitate broader participation by local people in other conservation activities. In
this context, there is an effort to elaborate the lessons learned from collaborative Forest management in policy documents that can provide a common basis for better understanding of concepts and in formulating and implementing necessary laws and policy regulations in the future.
2.2.3 Forest Honey Network Indonesia (JMHI)
Forest?based carbon sequestration is considered to be the most efficient and effective long-term greenhouse gas mitigation policy. Carbon is stored within Forest products and that keeps the gas out of the atmosphere. Studies indicate that the amounts of carbon stored in Forest products are increasing by about 40 million tons per year. Currently, Forest products store more than 3 billion tons of carbon globally. Forests are an important renewable natural resource. They contribute substantially to the economy by providing goods and services to the people and industry. They also play an important role in enhancing environmental quality by influencing the life support systems.
Many products are harvested from the forests that are not timber-based, but originate from plant materials. These are called non-timber Forest products (NTFPs). Forest communities have derived sustenance from NTFPs in periods of stress and have used NTFPs as inputs or raw materials for the production of items of daily use in normal times. NTFPs include bark, roots, tubers, leaves, flowers, seeds, fruits, sap, resins, honey, fungi (mushroom), moss, lichen, herbs, vines, shrubs, or trees and animal products, such as, meat, skins, bones, and teeth. They are used for food and medicine and as a source of income. NTFPs are consumed in rural and urban homes, and are traded in local, regional, and international markets.
The Food and Agriculture Organization claims that at least 150 non-wood products are found in international markets (United Nations, 1997). NTFPs provide small but significant sources of income, particularly for women and for families that do not have access to agricultural markets. The conspicuous lack of information on the scope and value of these markets is a major obstacle to the sustainable development of these resources. Forest landowners, harvesters and processors, and policy makers greatly influence how NTFPs resources are used, and whether suggested policies can be successful.
- in some locations - of local governments/agencies. The exemplary performances of the regencies of Sumbawa Besar and Luwu, as well as that of the Danau Sentarum National
Park management are also discussed. Furthermore, it explains how the network, together with its members, partners and supporters, have succeeded, firstly, to dramatically increase the quality
standards of this NTFP, and secondly, how the affiliated honey collectors got into sustainable harvesting and active Forest conservation.
The network has gradually expanded and currently includes members in the following locations: Kalimantan (Danau Sentarum National Park, Mount Meratus and Serengkah in Ketapang regency),
Sulawesi (North Luwu in South Sulawesi, Ueesi in Southeast Sulawesi), Sumbawa Besar (Batulanteh watershed), Java (Ujung Kulon National Park, Banten) and Sumatra (Tesso Nilo National Park, Riau). Though not all harvesting sites are in the mountains, the bees routinely migrate between higher and lower elevations, benefiting from variations in flowering season at different altitudes. Therefore, intact mountainous Forest ecosystems are crucial for honeybees (Apis dorsata) colonies to thrive. Hence, the good condition of the upland forests also benefits communities outside of the mountains that (mainly) work with honey and wax. Still, all of this could go terribly wrong - with Forest degradation and conversion still rampant in many locations - if urgent measures are not taken to bolster the commitments of organised honey collectors.
Thirdly, the activity has demonstrated how this venture has contributed to significantly better income situation in many of the sites. Finally, some lessons learned and ambitious, but realistic plans for the near future are shared. One example of the latter is that of scheduled increased support for women, eager to become top-of-the-line artisans working with wax as the primary raw material.
In Indonesia, the JMHI is very much on the frontline of this development. The members collectively aim at establishing an Indonesian top quality product, as well as promoting truly sustainable harvesting practices, and the conservation of the forests upon which the bees depend. An interesting aspect of it is that a number of these initiatives operate in and around national parks or otherwise protected Forest areas and with full support of (local) government, park management and other agencies. However, the deterioration of the resource base casts a shadow on the efforts, with the unabated heavy pressure on the remaining forests in Indonesia. This case study is an example of successful sharing of knowledge about Forest conservation through community-based Forest honey harvesting, production and marketing.
2.2.4 Living in watersheds: a Case Study of the Experiences of the Ikalahan in Forest
Long before the Kyoto Protocol and terms like ?carbon sequestration? were popularised in the Philippines, the Ikalahans (literally, ?people of the broadleaf Forest?) had practiced their own ways of conservation and sustainable livelihoods. Forest?based carbon sequestration is believed to be the most efficient and effective, long-term, GHC mitigation policy.
The Ikalahans are the indigenous people in the province of Nueva Vizcaya in the northeast of the Philippines. They belong to the Kalanguya-Ikalahan tribe, which inhabits the Ikalahan ancestral domain. The domain, which includes the Kalahan Forest Reserve, covers 38,000 hectares in Nueva Vizcaya plus about 10,000 hectares in Nueva Ecija. The Ikalahans are known for their indigenous knowledge practice systems, which are environmentally sustainable. The indigenous practices have been transferred, protected and maintained for generations. Among these practices are the day-og and gengen which are ancient composting techniques that take only about three months to complete, on level and sloping land, respectively. The resulting compost is used for restoring soil fertility of upland farms. The pang-omis, which is a method of expediting the fallow, was invented by one of the tribal elders while balkah is a contour line of deep rooted plants that traps eroded topsoil at the belt line (Rice 2000).
In 1973, Ikalahan tribal elders organised the Kalahan Educational Foundation Inc. (KEF) to protect communities from possible eviction by land grabbers. They pioneered the Social Forestry Program of the Philippine Government in 1974 when they entered a contract with the government to manage
15,000 hectares of their ancestral domain.
First the Ikalahan leaders controlled occasional wildfires in the area and also improved their food supplies, then turned to developing various Forest-based natural resources to provide income for the residents. They trained the population in the principles of ecology and focused efforts on enabling the Ikalahan to be self-sufficient, minimising their dependence upon external raw materials and markets. Some of the products they are now developing are jams and jellies from wild fruit, hand-made paper,
According to Espaldon (2005), the economic activities in the mountain reserve indicates that
Forest management in the area is about 10 years ahead in terms of measuring ecological benefits of protecting Forest ecosystems. The Ikalahans also hope to receive payments for the environmental
services of their forests through carbon sequestration, irrigation water for downstream areas, and eco-
tourism. To the Ikalahans, the primary role of government is primarily to protect their rights to their lands and resources. The government should allow Forest dwellers freedom to manage the resources and benefit from them.
The accomplishments of the Ikalahan people demonstrate what initiative and role modeling can do. While many ethnic communities are known to live harmoniously with nature, being content with their traditional knowledge system, the Ikalahans have gone a step further by learning about, and practicing more ecologically friendly and sustainable agro forestry skills. The efforts of the Ikalahan have been rewarded by the emergence of expanded Forest cover that contributes to the ecological, economic and food security of the community. The Ikalahans are confident that they can protect their remaining primary forests while making a living from niches in the secondary forests. They are also convinced that it will be achieved in their own lifetime with enlightened government cooperation.
These projects have significance to the industry. Markets for non-traditional Forest products and the capacity for NTFP enterprises to add value at the local level are not well known, but are thought to have significant impact on rural economies. However, no data on its potential for, and its market value, are available. The NTFP sector is growing rapidly, perhaps faster than the timber industry, and the trend is expected to continue. The Forest officials of state and central governments have to take proper steps for enhancing sustainable collection and marketing of the NTFPs, involving the local people in the process. This way, local people benefit and forests are conserved, lead towards sustainable development in the locality and region.
2.3 Evaluating progress with sustainable mountain development: Progress, changes, and lessons learnt in the region over the last 20 years
Table 2.1. Summary highlights of the case studies in the select SEAP Mountains
Case study theme
Major highlights of findings
Conservation area project
Aim was to have equal community participation and self-reliance
and development of sustainable alternative livelihoods through conservation; equitable benefit sharing is not possible due to poor
Community-based Forest Honey
Establishing an effective ?working? network is key for
sustainable NTFP management; support from government agencies is crucial; Indigenous honey production by the growers
empowered community organizations, improved economic gains
and enhanced conservation and SD
Integrated Forest and watershed
Effective implementation of Payment for Ecosystem Services can
help a large population to escape from poverty, protect and expand forests, restore wildlife, provide health services and
eventually utilize generated revenues for social benefits
Collaborative Forest management
Multi-stakeholder (at all levels) consultation is critical to ensure
project sustainability and effective replication or up-scaling; Convincing all parties about benefits can lead to a win-win situation.
2.4 Analysis of initiatives: challenges, opportunities, lessons learned, links to
This section is focused on evaluating the progress in the Southeast Asia Pacific (SEAP) regions.
It does not refer specifically to Rio 1992, but summarises progress and changes in general over the last
20 years: In the SEAP region, the three pillars of Sustainable Mountain Development have been influenced by many emerging trends and challenges, which are:
Social transformation: Devolution and decentralization underpin social transformation across the SEAP region as communities become more demanding of the attention of their politicians and governments. But income inequalities, rising food prices and water scarcity have aggravated social tensions and regional conflicts. The region is confronted with a development pattern that pushes people and resources against natural or sustainable limits, which is more apparent in the marginalized highlands.
Migration has exacerbated in the last two decades and as a consequence, nearly brings to completion the feminization of subsistence agriculture29. Sustained migration compensated though remittances reflects an economy that is dependent as ever. Inadequate appreciation of mountain specificities has led to unplanned implementation of infrastructural development, thereby enhancing vulnerability.
Ecological Crises: Infrastructure development has contributed significantly to natural resource degradation30, as well as to human displacement. Climate change-induced variability of temperatures and precipitation has multiplied risks through water stress, cropping shifts and natural hazards, exacerbating the fragility of the natural resource base in the region.
Climate change adaptation is still nascent in the region but climate change impacts on crop productivity and food security has been widespread. Across the region, wildlife intrusion on cultivated landscape (due to natural resource degradation) has impinged upon livelihood security of large agrarian population in the mountains.
Economic transition: Land use change, urbanization and market expansion has transformed economic landscape in the mountains. In mountain areas with longer history of sedentary agriculture, as in Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Uttarakhand, the fruits of development have come slow and late, but have accelerated with mixed results, in the last few decades within the SEAP mountains.
Community control over resources, for example community forestry in Nepal and Van Panchayats in Uttarakhand, has demonstrated the virtues of community empowerment. However, opportunities to convert such comparative advantages into competitive advantages from economic standpoint have
29 Increased acceleration and scale of migration has negatively contributed to loss of local labour, brain, enterprise and leadership, has been underscored by delegates at the Regional Assessment Workshop on Rio+20 at ICIMOD, Kathmandu, Aug 23-25, 2011
30 Road building, urban expansion and mega-projects have contributed to eco-degeneration across SEAP region.
been squandered in Southeast Asia. Governments, knowingly or unknowingly, have allowed poverty to persist.
2.5 Institutionalization of Agenda 21, Chapter 13
A key plank to building ecological infrastructure is to institutionalize the decentralization and devolution of decision-making processes. These must extend from local governance to community- based natural resource management regimes in various parts of Southeast Asia.
In the Philippines, the Philippine Congress enacted laws to ensure compliance with the devolution mandated by the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Foremost among these laws is the Local Government Code of 1991 which enabled various political subdivisions to ?attain their fullest development as self- reliant communities and make them more effective partners in the attainment of national goals.? The Philippine Constitution stipulates that the ?State shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization where local government units shall be given more powers, authority, responsibilities, and resources.?31
In 1995, then Philippine President Fidel Ramos issued Executive Order No. 263 adopting community- based Forest management (CBFM) as the national strategy to ensure the sustainable development of the country?s forestlands and provided mechanisms for its implementation.
Ramos also adopted and mandated the operationalisation of the Philippine Agenda 21 (PA 21) on September 26, 1996, with the issuance of Memorandum Order No. 399 which also identified the roles of the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD). Quite remarkably, for a mountainous archipelagic country, PA 21 left out Chapter 13?s sustainable mountain development agenda, that could have complemented the CBFM policy. The short-lived Estrada Administration re-affirmed PA21 as the country?s framework for sustainable development by issuing Memorandum Order 47, which directs all local government units to localize PA21 through sustainable integrated area development (SIAD). SIAD is now also recognized as a potent framework for poverty eradication.32
2.6 Analysis of initiatives: Challenges, opportunities and lessons learned, linked to Rio+20
a. A recent CIFOR33 study suggests that the strengthening of community-managed forests
could be a more cost-efficient and effective solution than traditional Forest management to reducing deforestation and ensuring the sustainable use of forests while benefiting local livelihoods. Community forestry forms an essential component of the proposed Philippine sustainable forestry management bill.
b. Reinforcing the devolution process is the Philippine Republic Act 7586, otherwise known as the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS) Act. Each established protected area shall be administered by a Protected Area Management Board (PAMB). Among its functions are to delineate and demarcate protected area boundaries, buffer zones, ancestral domains, and recognize the rights and privileges of indigenous communities under the provisions of the Act. Members include the DENR officials, barangay (village) officials, three representatives from NGOs and community-based organizations.
31 General Provisions, Basic Principles, the Code, Policy and Application, the Local Government Code of the
32 Centre for Alternative Development Initiatives, Philippine Agenda 21. http://www.cadi.ph/philippine_agenda_21.htm. Accessed September 2, 2011.
33 CIFOR, Deforestation much higher in protected areas than forests run by local communities, Press Release, http://www.cifor.org/mediamultimedia/newsroom/press-releases/press-releases-detail-
c. One such protected area under the Philippine system is the Mount Kanlaon Natural Park (MKNP), created by Congress under Republic Act 9154 of 2001. Part of the Western Visayas Biogeographic Zone, MKNP has high biodiversity value because of its relative endemism and species richness.
d. MKNP has formulated biodiversity conservation strategies by zoning MKNP?s land use, implementation of community-based protection measures designed to protect, conserve and develop its remaining resources, rehabilitation of highly disturbed and degraded habitats and ecosystems, and the conduct of biodiversity monitoring and researches, among others. Moreover, official policy has enshrined the importance of different tenurial regimes in public and private lands to provide mountain communities, especially the indigenous peoples, with inalienable rights such as free and prior informed consent (FPIC) in what otherwise would be open access regimes against encroachers such as extractive industries equipped with timber or mining licenses.
e. Lately, Philippine President Benigno C. Aquino III has tasked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to implement the National Greening Program, which seeks to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares nationwide in six years, from 2011 to 2016.
f. In Papua New Guinea, a 1998 coordinated action (in cooperation with other groups such as MICAD, Greenpeace and ICRAF) resulted in the cancellation of proposed Gora-Itokama Forest Management Area and an oil palm operation in the same year. Concerted actions that included letters from lawyers serving as legal representatives in behalf of the communities, placing of newspaper advertisements, lobbying the government and the Forest Authority Board, and holding press conferences have averted the implementation of these environmentally disastrous ventures.
g. Another significant example of how activism can sway governments to stop resource extractive activities in SEAP Mountains was the designation of an area for conservation in the PNG Forest Authority Forest Plans. This was the first time such formal recognition was given to a Forest area in PNG that was not initially considered to be a formal conservation area. As a result, there is greater security for the resources of Managalas and Collingwood Bay. These two large areas have also opened the possibility for a protected Forest corridor from the Kokoda trail to the Oro Province border.
h. Initial financial support to the NGO Partners with Melanesians Inc. (PwM) came from the MacArthur Foundation, the World Bank, and Biodiversity Conservation Network (BCN). Consensus building among the stakeholders started in the late 1980s. As the project evolved to include more and more areas, the need for a long term commitment from donor partnership was realized when the Rainforest Foundation of Norway (RFN) entered into this partnership in
1997. Since then, various other partners have joined in this project including the Government of PNG through the Targeted Community Development Program (TCDP) and Community Aid Abroad (CAA) of Australia, IUCN Netherlands, DOEN Foundation Netherlands, World Bank, UNDP GEF funds, Democratic Governance Transition Phase (DGTP) of Australian Aid now called Strongim Pipol Strogim Neisen (SPSN) and Canada Fund.34
2.7 Opportunities for green economy and poverty alleviation in SEAP region
a. Adopting a human ecology approach, biodiversity conservation also means strategies to promote green economies and inclusive social development, targeting the alleviation of poverty conditions among indigenous and settler communities in the PA while promoting the active participation of communities in the management of biodiversity parks. These require the adoption of more sustainable, non-destructive alternative livelihood practices, sustainable
34 Mahuru, Rufus, The Managalas Plateau Conservation Area Project, Oro Province, Papua New Guinea. SMD Case study.
agriculture technologies, community-based eco-tourism, provision of land tenure security, and advocacy on ecological integrity.35
The Kalahan Educational Foundation (KEF) got control of nearly 15,000 hectares of their tribal lands in 1974 with Memorandum of Agreement No. 1, a tenurial and Forest resource use right instrument from the national government which was then under martial rule. Eventually, MOA No. 1 has evolved into the certificate of Forest stewardship agreement (CFSA), and much later the community-based Forest management agreement (CBFMA) while simultaneously maintaining the name Memorandum of Agreement Number 1, (MOA #1), being the first of its kind. The land covered by the MOA has been known as the Kalahan Reserve.
b. Another Southeast Asian devolution example is the Collaborative Forest Management (CFM) scheme at the Bidoup Nui Ba National Park (BNBNP) in Vietnam, through the project ?Piloting an Approach to Multiple-Use Forest Management in Lam Dong Province? which began in 2007. The devolution process was initiated with six Forest management units involved in a sub-project of ?Establishing a mechanism for collaborative Forest management with local communities? from 2007-2009.
The BNBNP Protected Area Management Board adopted measures to deal with increasing human pressure within the park by boosting the income of the people living around or inside the Forest, especially through buffer zone development projects and increasing community- based Forest protection efforts. The socialist government realized that it alone cannot sustain a ranger force big and strong enough to forcibly keep the people out of the Forest. Thus, the government realized that Forest management is not possible without the involvement of the neighboring populations. Most of the human pressure comes from the indigenous ethnic minorities, K?Ho and M? nong, whose daily living comes from traditional agriculture and the exploitation of Forest products. However, agricultural lands are fast becoming scarce. As a result, BNBNP?s biodiversity is under threat due to the increasing conversion of Forest land into agricultural land and illegal exploitation of natural resources.
c. Regulation, however, needs to be coupled with economic incentives in order to achieve green growth-based development. An emerging feature of developing green economics in mountain forests is the promotion of non-timber Forest products (NTFPs). The BNBNP assisted communities to develop on-farm alternatives for Forest products such as orchids, ornamental plants, ferns improved for commercial purposes, and the planting of medicinal species for the consumption by the local communities.36
One such ecological infrastructure is rainforest conservation and the expanding role of NTFP value chains in mountain livelihoods for poverty alleviation. In the Philippines, rattan and abaca feed major industries. These serve as traditional materials for furniture and fabrics, which can also be tapped as materials in the manufacture of specialty products.37The history of livelihood generated from both products is pro-poor and pro-indigenous peoples and are therefore well-accepted by the local economy and considered as non-risks to ecology.
d. To support Forest conservation, non-timber Forest resources are emerging as alternative resources to timber utilization. The Philippines remains one of the biggest furniture exporters among ASEAN countries, and rattan furniture accounts for more than 65% of export volume
35 Malabor, Hernane, Ibid. e-Conference on Sustainable Mountain Development in the Southeast Asia. The Southeast Asian e-Conference lead coordinator Benedicto Q. Sánchez confirms Malabor?s post. They are both members of the MKNP Protected Area Management
36 Le Buu Thach, Vu Ngoc Long, Le Van Huong, A Vietnam case study: Collaborative Forest management
(CFM) in Bidoup Nui Ba National Park, Lam Dong province
37Sustainable mountains: people, resources, community and environment, http://winner- tips.org/magazines/sustainable-mountains-people-resources-community-and-environment/. Accessed August 28,
in this sector. Aside from use in furniture making, rattan is also used as raw material in the manufacture of walking sticks, fish traps, hammocks or sleeping mats, handicraft, footballs, carpet beaters, hat, bags and baskets, buggy whips, twines and toothbrushes. On the other hand, the Philippines supplies about 90% of the world?s supply of abaca. This NTFP performs a multi-function role as plant hedge to crops planted on a sloping land, often found at the foot of volcanoes, applying the sloping agricultural land technology, better known as SALT. This technology was developed in the Philippines and has now been adopted in a growing number of other countries including the Hindu-Kush Himalayan Mountains.
e. Another devolved process in developing the green economy is the community-based Forest Honey Network Indonesia (JMHI) which started in 2005 in Indonesia. Those involved in the process cited that among the venture?s success drivers are the full support (in some locations), by the local governments/agencies as well as the exemplary performances of the regencies of Sumbawa Besar and Luwu, and the Danau Sentarum National Park management officials.
The JMHI has developed NTFP subsectors that have created an organic industry-wide niche market. One such example is that of organic Apis dorsata wild honey. The Forest Honey Network Indonesia (JMHI) actors included in the value chain are the honey collector groups and local supporters who are involved in organizing the primary producers and implementing improvements at the grassroots level. Riak Bumi handles coordination of technical support in the entire network, particularly for the production side; and Dian Niaga EcoTraders, based in Jakarta, takes the lead in the joint marketing of products of JMHI members at the national and regional level.38. This is therefore an example of public-civil society-private sector partnership resulting in pro-poor solutions for the mountains.
Other institutional support groups include BioCert, a certifier based in Bogor which guides the process toward organic certification and assists JMHI in establishing internal control mechanisms; Gekko Studio for developing promotional materials such as video clips and organizing special events; and the NTFP Exchange Program for South & Southeast Asia (NTFP-EP), a regional network and its partners, notably the Bee Research & Development Center in Hanoi and the Keystone Foundation in Kotagiri (TN), India for technical assistance.
f. At the institutional level tasked to finance the building of ecological infrastructure, some heavily-indebted Southeast Asian countries negotiated that a portion of their foreign debt be condoned in exchange for local investments in environmental conservation measures.
g. The US Tropical Forest Conservation Act of 1998 provides developing nations with significant tropical Forest, a democratically-elected government, and an economic reform agenda, with debt condonation in return for conservation efforts. This program has benefited upstream mountain stakeholders, especially communities. The US Government signed a 2009 agreement with Indonesia to forgive nearly $30 million in Indonesian debt in exchange for Indonesian government efforts to protect Sumatra Island forests, which are home to endangered tigers, elephants, rhinos and orangutan. These tropical animals are found in the mountains dominated by Lake Toba, formed from the caldera of an ancient volcano.
Through the endowment fund established through a 1992 debt-for-nature swap, the United States Agency for International Development and the Philippine government created the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) with an endowment worth US$ 21.8 million. Similarly, the 1996 debt reduction agreement between the Governments of the Philippines and Switzerland led to the creation of the Foundation for a Sustainable Society
sustainably manage economic development of poor communities, including
mountain communities such as those with various community-based tenurial instruments. Then in 2002, the US and Philippine government created the Philippine Tropical Forest
38 De Beer, Jenne, Indonesian case study on wild honey.
Conservation (PTFCF) to manage the debt swap to improve the status of Philippine mountain dipterocarp rainforests.
h. The Philippines enacted Republic Act 10068, otherwise known as the Organic Farming Law of 2010. Elsewhere in Asia, civil society and other private initiatives practice organic farm management. Indonesia has the highest area coverage under organic agriculture at 52,882 hectares; Japan, 29,151 hectares; South Korea, 28,218 hectares; Philippines, 14,134 hectares; Thailand, 13,900 hectares; Vietnam, 6,475 hectares; Malaysia, 600 hectares; and Laos, 60 hectares.39
In Negros Island, the governors of the two provincial governments in 2005 declared to make the entire island as the organic food bowl of Asia. People in Negros began diversifying their economy some years back, turning some large tracts of sugar plantations into more profitable ventures such as fish ponds, farms nurturing high value crops, as well as organic farming.40
NGOs such as BIND have been leading the promotion of organic farming in the Philippines.
i. Based on partial reports, projected sales of organic products will reach 50.2 million from Fresh Start Organics, Organic Market (organic food), Peñalosa Farms, and muscovado sales in Bacolod alone (Personal communication with Ramón Uy Jr., President of the Organic Market of the Organik Na Negros! Organic Producers and Retailers Association, ONOPRA). Not yet included in this estimate are the projected sales from other private companies, NGO-assisted communities, organic fertilizers, and natural and health-promoting products. In the cold highlands of Benguet province in the Philippines, organic Arabica coffee is being grown through the partnership of a private firm, Figaro Foundation Corp., and the Benguet State University (Inquirer News Service 25 March 2004).41While Southeast Asian countries reel from the conversion of mountain and lowland forests into monocultures, some countries have turned environmental losses into an opportunity.
j. In an early section of the present report, it was mentioned that the Bacolod-based Alter Trade group has exported muscovado sugar to fair trade markets in Japan, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Malaysia, and South Korea.42 The biggest challenge facing domestic muscovado producers is in complying with standard production processes to overcome foreign quality restrictions. Alter Trade had sought assistance from the Industrial Technology Development Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to improve its production processes. As a result, Alter Trade Company has one of only two muscovado mills whose products pass strict global market requirements. Alter Trade?s success shows that the muscovado sugar remains one of the country?s export winners.
k. Meanwhile, ecotourism remains a potential major market segment in the SEAP Mountains. It has been targeted for expansion and promotion of nature-based tourism in the region. Ecotourism can provide the economic basis for the conservation of natural areas. An indication of commitment to an ecologically sustainable tourism was manifested when the three ASEAN travel associations (the Tourism Association, the Federation of Travel Associations, and the Hotel and Restaurant Association), met to discuss the quality and sustainability of tourism in the region.43
39Danuwat Peng-ont, Anan Pintarak and Prof. Numchai Thanupon, Organic Agriculture in South East Asia, http://info.organic.org.tw/supergood/ezcatfiles/organic/img/img/1085/61701466.pdf. Accessed August 28, 2011.
40Dionela, Carolina, Negros Goes Organic,, Philippine Information Agency press release, January 27, 2011. http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=1&t=1&id=13769&y=2011&mo=01. Accessed September 3, 2011.
41 Ibid, Faylon.
42 Alter Trade Manufacturing Corp., Technology in Business, A Catalogue of DOST-ITDI-Assisted Food
Companies. http://itdibiz.com/ecatalog/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=74&Itemid=117. Accessed August 29, 2011
43 Dowling. Ibid.
2.8 What expectations for SMD were raised by Rio 1992?
Many ASEAN countries have translated the ideals of Agenda 21 into their own national development plans or have created national councils for sustainable development. Several laws and regulations have been passed to control environmental degradation and natural resource depletion, and recent advances in science and technology have helped in improving people?s lives. The stabilization of political regimes has also helped in the rapid development of countries in Southeast Asia. Economic, social, and environmental cooperation among the countries of the sub region, such as ASEAN and the Greater Mekong sub-region, has yielded positive results in many areas.44
The problems, however, have not disappeared during the last decade; in some areas, they have become more serious. Rapid population growth, which has resulted in greater demand for natural resources and energy, is threatening the gains made in several countries. The major constraints to adopting Agenda
21 include a lack of financial support and the absence of capacity in several countries to address an overwhelming number of issues. Official development assistance from wealthier countries has slowed
or has stopped altogether from being forthcoming.
In 2001, under the aegis of the Asian Development Bank, a sub-regional report for Southeast Asia put forward nine sub-regional action plans (SRAPs) for sustainable development. The report also developed discussion on ?Emerging Issues? to cover globalization, biotechnology, and information technology. None of the SRAPs, however, dealt with problems peculiar to mountain development issues. The oversight had come to light in recent years as extreme weather events brought about by climate change caused mudslides and flash floods, killing thousands of residents, destroying property, and disrupting economic activities.
The Philippines joined the United Nations in celebrating the 2002 International Year of the Mountains. Aside from the national IYM committee, some civil society groups organized their own IYM committees, (e.g., Negros IYM Committee in Central Philippines) that linked up with other stakeholders in local government, national line agencies, academia, community-based organizations, and faith-based organizations. They crafted their own SMD agenda for local lobbying efforts. Starting Subsequent to the IYM, Mountain Forum has since linked up with various players in the Philippines including representatives from civil society, academia, corporate-based foundations, and government.
Sadly, the civil society agenda never went beyond the crafting of provincial resolutions and the yearly observance of June as the Mountain month, in compliance with a presidential declaration to this effect. Often, civil society develops good practices based on alternative conceptual development models at the grassroots levels, which later find traction in academia and political circles. Cutting edge, good practices at the local level remained oases of sustainable development amidst dominant economic models of over-utilization and overconsumption of natural resources, where the search for the highest profit margins tend to focus on lowland urban-based centers. Mountains are important only insofar as industries can extract resources to feed the needs of lowland, if not overseas industries.
In the meantime, mountain communities with their subsistence, i.e., hunting and gathering, economies, are left out in the cold. These communities are incapable of raising the ROIs of lowlanders. Indigenous knowledge of human interaction with mountain natural resources, especially NTFPs, is neglected since lowland-based economies view these products as unprofitable.
2.9 New issues/challenges after 1992
During the Rio conference, there was already discussion of climate change issues among global development partners, but every country invariably focused on reducing its own global carbon footprint. Two decades later, the theme that resonates among Southeast Asian countries is climate change adaptation, which has also expanded into disaster risk reduction.
44 Ibid. Executive Summary. p. xx
With the worsening of climate change, civil society and community-based organizations explore turning crisis into opportunities. In Vietnam, the BNPP project on ?Piloting of payments environmental services (PES),? in the Forest sector in Lam Dong province was designed to contribute towards poverty reduction and enhancing Forest protection, through Forest management groups (FMG) models equipped with practical mechanisms for implementing PES. Under the PES scheme, Forest protection payments ranged from 350-400,000 VND/ha. This exceeds the amount previously paid under Program 661 (100,000 VND/ha) and appears to have provided greater motivation for Forest protection work - the level of payment now competes with the rate paid for rural labor (100,000
Where 20 years ago, development planners talked of isolation, remoteness and ruggedness of mountain communities, advances in information technology has reached the point that even mountain farmers and indigenous communities can use cellular/mobile phones to communicate with one another. Local governments in the Philippines have linked up with corporate telecommunication groups to set up missionary cell sites to be used for rapid transmission of information for Forest protection against poachers.
2.10 Major themes of SEAP regional initiatives
CBNRM, NTFP, and SFM have been the major development themes in the region, while ecological agriculture, integrated water resources management, and inclusive development have received far less attention. Prior to Agenda 21, the Philippines implemented the Environmental and Natural Resources Accounting Project, 1991-2000 (ENRAP) to address deficiencies in the System of National Accounts (SNAs) in order to reflect economic-environment interactions by explicitly recognizing the potential of the natural environment as a productive economic sector. The ENRAP project, which developed an environmental accounting framework that drew on principles from the environmental and resource economics literature, applied imputation approaches that are consistent with definitions of depreciation and environmental damage widely accepted in economic theory and that are commonly applied by practicing environmental economists.46
2.11 Future actions needed
Green Accounting or Inclusive Wealth Accounting within the mountain context should be developed for measuring green economy transition at the macroeconomic plane. As the ICT revolution has addressed the inaccessibility issue of the Mountains, the fragility can be attended to through building community-based ecological infrastructure. Marginality, on the other hand, can be tackled through decentralized governance.
45 Ibid. Le Buu Thach.
46 Peskin, Henry M. and delos Angeles, Marian S., Selected Country Frameworks, International Workshop on
Environmental and Economic Accounting. http://www.nscb.gov.ph/peenra/workshop/Technical%20Papers/Session%203%20ENRAP.PDF. Accessed September 1, 2011.
PART III: Challenges and opportunities for sustainable mountain development
3.0 Emerging challenges and opportunities
Climate change, disasters, and social and political conflicts are the emerging challenges facing SEAP Mountain ecosystems, while gradual democratization, devolution, and good governance are seen as opportunities that can help bring about sustainable development among mountain communities.
3.1 Emerging trends and challenges for SMD in the region
The biggest challenge for Southeast SMD is the formulation of mountain specific policies that can go beyond traditional forestry concerns. The Southeast Asian synthesis has identified different stakeholder groups whose varied interests need to be brought to the discussion table to ensure that rights are respected and protected, and that the consequent needs are fulfilled. The stakeholders, as defined by the e-conference include the indigenous peoples, non-indigenous, migrant settlers from the lowlands resource users and extractive companies; visitors and travelers, indirect stakeholders, and even the future generation.47
3.2 Addressing Trends and Challenges
To address new challenges, evidence-based advocacy to influence policy-making has been suggested. Across the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region a range of innovative solutions on resource conservation, alternate market and institutional development have been showcased. New pathways need to be determined to catalyze sustainable mountain development, such as:
Niche markets: Given the SEAP Mountains? rich biodiversity, there is an urgent need to build markets for niche products coming from the region. Capturing diversity to compensate for lack of volume, branding of mountain products can leverage market opportunities for building and strengthening local economies and resource base.
Partnership protocols: Increased electronic communication has been one of the hallmarks of change in SEAP Mountains. Mountain communities are now connected to the world but are essentially driven by the externalities of change. The change is neither demand-led nor based on an assessment of community needs, and consequently has an appearance of being imposed against the community?s will.
Mountain communities need partnership protocols between diverse actors like community organisations, cooperative societies and private sector under sub-regional growth agenda to promote sustainable mountain development. An array of `good practices? can trigger policy changes at the macro-level, with new partnerships as change drivers.
Green growth: Favourable demographic conditions are creating potential for rising prosperity in many developing countries, as large youth populations enter labor workforces. Better marketing, institutional arrangements and policies can ensure benefits from green economy (ecotourism, niche products and eco-system services) to improve local livelihoods. But the current green economy agenda need to be made more mountain-sensitive, and should focus primarily on SEAP mountain issues.
47 Razal, Ramón and Sánchez, Benedicto, Sustainable Mountain Development in Southeast Asia?The Synthesis. pp. 6-10
3.3 SEAP: Mountain specific challenges
A lot of challenges remain for the Southeast Asian green economy in the light of national/regional efforts to promote sustainable mountain development. The main hurdle is deep-rooted path of brown economy which includes land use conversions of forests to chemical-based monocultures such as palm oil and sugarcane plantations, extractive industries such as irresponsible mining and logging, and mainstream tourism.
China, already the world?s largest generator of electricity from freshwater trapped in giant dams, announced plans to nearly double its hydropower capacity by 2020. For downstream Southeast Asian states of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, China?s plans could trigger cross-border conflicts based on two points of concern. The first is how much water will be impounded in Chinese reservoirs behind the dams in these projects. The second is how hydropower operators, all of them state-owned firms, will regulate the flow of water once the reservoirs has impounded enough water and the generating units are ready to run.
Competing demands for Forest-based resources give rise to major conflicts in Southeast Asian mountains. In the past 20 years, armed conflicts have struck Forest areas in Southeast Asian tropical forests. Notorious examples are Cambodia and Myanmar where rebel warfare largely played out in remote cross-border Forest areas. Conflicts of lesser intensity include inter-communal struggles and forms of protests that frequently occur along Forest frontiers in Indonesia. Although each of these conflicts has its own historical and political context, many reveal a distinctive role of the Forest, its timber, and the rights over them.48
The Golden Triangle is one of Asia?s two main illicit opium-producing areas. Encompassing 950,000 square kilometers, the area overlaps the mountains of four countries of Southeast Asia: Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.
Meanwhile, Maoist-inspired revolt in the Philippines based largely in remote Forest mountains has stubbornly resisted all attempts at eradication by the national government. The ungoverned remote, isolated and rugged terrain of the country?s scattered mountainous islands provide insurgents the spaces needed to build its guerrilla fronts. In addition, the government has to contend with armed Muslim secessionists and bandits who are based in Mindanao?s forested mountains.
Findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicate that the effects of climate change will impact all countries of the Southeast Asia Region. IPCC predicts a rapid glacier melt in the Himalayas - with a rate of recession greater than anywhere else in the world, along with increased floods and landslides, reduced water and food resources, more frequent storms, and rising sea levels.
The Philippines, lying along a typhoon belt, is visited by an average of 19-20 cyclones a year. Most typhoons emanate from the Pacific Ocean which lies at the eastern board of the Philippines. A natural mitigation measure is the mountain range located along the eastern coast of the country. Other mountains which dot the country have aided as natural barriers to the strong winds which have often breached 250 kms per hour recently, because of the prevalence of super typhoons.49
Many Southeast Asia countries are well within the Pacific Ring of Fire. This is a 40,000 kilometer- long ?system of faults?, which is responsible for 90 percent of the world?s earthquakes. Mountainous Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia and the Philippines face volcanic eruptions and tectonic earthquakes. These natural hazards add to the fragility of Southeast Asian mountains.
48 de Koning Ruben, Capistrano Doris, Yasmi Yurdi, and Cerutti Paolo, Forest-Related Conflict Impacts, Links, and Measures to Mitigate, Rights and Resources Initiative, p. 1
As early as 1998, ecotourism has been on the drawing board for most of Southeast Asia, but countries still face problems associated with the lack of infrastructure development, the need for and adequacy of personnel training, the lack of plan implementation, and political instability.50 Retaining the mountain youth in the locales where they could help develop niche goods and services has been a problem in many countries as well. As more and more mountain children get to study within the mainstream educational system, they are tempted to pursue the ?beaten path of other rural youths?, and thus emerge to follow the brain drain of mountain population toward the urbanized lowland cities if not overseas.
On the other hand, in some cases in Southeast Asian mountains, highly urbanized mountain cities such as Baguio City in the Philippines grapple with population growth due to the influx of immigrants from the plains and outlying mountain communities. This has strained limited resources in the mountain urban centers and increased the vulnerability of mountain dwellers, especially when new communities are established without regard for the risks associated with steep slopes, erodible soils, and unstable ground foundations. Managing these contradictions, diversities and social tensions which the mountain communities face is a major challenge that needs adequate attention from all concerned.
The foundations for building ecological infrastructure have already emerged in Southeast Asia, both sectorally and cross-sectorally.
The flipside of challenges are opportunities. The shift is vital to ensure the stability of mountain ecological commons, the water cycle and its benefits to organic agriculture and households, the conservation of Southeast Asian tropical rainforests to enhance carbon cycle and climate mitigation, soil fertility and its value to diversified crop production, and the local microclimates for safe human ecology for both upstream and downstream communities. These are all crucial elements of a mountain-based green economy.
Two decades after Agenda 21, global efforts led to the creation of ecological infrastructure to reduce deforestation and increase reforestation to support upstream and downstream agriculture and rural livelihoods. Tropical rainforest goods and services support much of the economic livelihoods of Southeast Asian mountain communities. Increasing ecological infrastructures managed by local government units and Green-for-debt-swaps schemes offer appropriate opportunities for Forest-rich local communities. Collaborative Forest management can be a good strategy to carry out REDD+ initiatives in mountains since the participation of the community can help assure social equity and more inclusive development, eventually leading to poverty reduction in the mountains.
The Royal Cambodian Government has prepared a National REDD+ Road Map, which served as the basis of funding applications to the UN-REDD and of the Readiness Preparation Proposal (RPP) to the World Bank?s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The UN-REDD approved the proposal for
$3M over 2 years, and UNDP and FAO committed an additional $1.35M. WB has already earmarked
$3.6M over three years but the final approval has yet to be given. Barring any strong civil society concerns about the RPP and the process involved in developing the proposal, approval will be secured.
Key concerns raised by Cambodian NGOs and civil society groups center on securing NGO/CSO representation in REDD+ management arrangements, the definition of main drivers of deforestation in Cambodia to include ELCs and mining activities and concessions, and the explicit integration and application of free, informed and prior consent in the management arrangement as well as in the implementation of the plan.51
50 Dowlings, Ross K., Ecotourism in Southeast Asia: A Golden Opportunity for Local Communities, Tourism in
Southeast Asia?A New Direction. Chon, K.S., Editor, The Hayworth Hospitality Press. New York. 2000. p. 2
51 Annual Report 2010 to Hivos.
2009 was a crucial year for climate change lobbyists, and although many were disappointed with the turnout of the UNFCCC negotiations in Denmark in December that year, opportunities for Forest conservation through the global mechanism for ?Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation? (REDD) opened up. With its 3.8M hectares of remaining dipterocarp Forest, rich biodiversity, decentralized Forest governance, and enabling Forest management policies, the Philippines hopes to become eligible for the REDD + regime.52
3.5 Specific actions needed
Need-based conflict resolution and seeking the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) of the local communities before planning natural resources conservation management in fragile and biodiversity rich ecosystems should be made mandatory. As funds from the government and donor sources for local initiatives dry up, there is a need for timely updates on CBFM policies to avail of other funding opportunities elsewhere, such as from private sector groups and other donor groups with more stringent fund availment and release requirements.
The examples given above, which demonstrate how problems can be turned into opportunities, for example, decentralized PES as well as strengthening of local governments through decentralization, devolution and empowerment, can be adapted as initial institutional frameworks. Weak local community participation and poor benefit-sharing schemes can be addressed by upholding communal property rights. The Philippines provides an example of decentralized CBFM institution which other SEAP countries can replicate. As a word of caution, decentralization without devolution cannot lead to good resource governance. The adoption of a multi-stakeholder approach to resource management will also help in implementing well-intentioned legislative acts, policies and executive orders.
REDD is not yet fully understood by many people, particularly Forest communities, who can fall victims to unscrupulous carbon traders. It is in this light that the network NTFP-EP for South and Southeast Asia formed a consortium of NGOs and forged a partnership with the Forest Management Bureau to spread awareness on the concept and come up with a National REDD Plus Strategy for the country, thereby ensuring local community participation in the global climate change discourse.53
3.6 Way Forward and Policy Recommendations
3.6.1 What specific actions are needed to contribute to the Rio+20 priorities in the mountain areas of your region?
Our analysis of the case studies and e-discussion outputs indicate that Mountain people have not been the real drivers of change in the SEAP Mountains. The people in power ? such as the political leaders, bureaucrats, non-governmental actors and international development players including donors have taken the driver?s seat in mountain development. The traditional or public sector institutions that are generally centralized and function in an archaic manner have determined the course of change in SEAP mountain regions. Although changes did take place since the Rio summit in 1992, both spatially and temporally, some changes have turned for the worst in many mountain areas.
It was argued by a contributor to the SEAP SMD e-conference that SEAP Mountains have become the safer refuge for people who had escaped the violence of wars and social conflicts unleashed in the plains. The prevailing peace and tranquility allowed them to develop unique socio-cultural `bonding? with the mountains. However, due to neglect, marginality and poverty, the mountain communities are generally the losers in the seemingly good processes of decentralization, devolution and governance.
In general, changes introduced by successive regimes have occurred at the expense of prevailing peace and harmonious co-existence in the SEAP Mountains. Peace means more than just the absence of war in the mountains. New kinds of conflicts over the sharing and appropriating natural resources such as
52 Annual Report 2009 to Hivos.
water, Forest, pasture, and biodiversity wealth have emerged, which in many cases had gone beyond the carrying capacities of traditional social institutions in the mountains. The undesirable, seemingly irreparable changes ushered in the past can be reversed by engaging and connecting with diverse mountain dwellers in a multi-stakeholder discussion and dialogue fashion. A neo-institutional mechanism of nurturing green economy that suits the mountain people can be created, while investments in developing technology to lessen vulnerability of SEAP Mountains should be made.
Translating good intentions into sustainable or smart actions warrant the re-thinking of existing institutional frameworks and the development of good governance practices while promoting low- carbon growth path in the SEAP Mountains. There is a downstream demographic push to extract more resources and put pressure on the ecological balance in some parts of the SEAP region. Multi-pronged strategy through people education, awareness-raising, leveling the playing field, crafting of enabling policies, and creating institutional spaces could help in managing the growing demand on mountain resources and services. Learning from local cultures, rebuilding on local knowledge, and encouraging many good practices could be crucial drivers of change. Participatory conflict resolution techniques as those practiced in the Philippines might be useful learning for some of the SEAP mountain communities.
The trans-boundary nature of natural resources including water and the trans-boundary relations in managing mountain resources, have yet to get the attention they deserve. Countries in the SEAP region ought to develop joint policies, programs, regulations and institutions for sustainable development of SEAP Mountains because of their common problems and the possibility for linked solutions to such problems. Cross-scale and cross-border linkages can help unravel complexities arising from the need to equitably share natural resources across diverse social systems. Clearly, there is a case for negotiating out-of-the-box solutions which are possible through collaboration and cooperation amongst the key players involved in sustainable management of SEAP Mountains.
A diverse group of people influences the Rio+20 agenda, as well as interprets and positions the green economy agenda based on their own understanding and contexts. They contend that Green Economy should not merely be an upgraded concept of `sustainable development? agreed on 20 years ago, but that it is a totally different program that can reinvigorate SMD. The crucial question to ask is, ?What form of green economy can be an effective instrument for addressing the problems faced by SEAP Mountains?? Like the concept of sustainable development that has limits in terms of its interpretation and application, applying ?Green Economy? for other purposes should be avoided.
It is has been argued that the `top down? agenda of Green Economy is to break the current inertia in the global climate change debate. In the SEAP mountain regions, it is understood that environmental gains need not be at the expense of the economy if Green Economy has to provide green jobs and deliver green products. A balanced approach is needed to promote the `Green Economy? concept in SEAP Mountains. Issues of scale, indigenous peoples? rights to resources, and the outcomes of ?green economy? will be important to consider. Already, the ?Green Economy? concept has been assailed as being too heavily dependent on technologies, on financial and human resources, with negative implication on its feasibility, sustainability and gender dimensions. Just as important is the need to address governance issues and to explore how multi-stakeholder participation in designing, implementing, and benefit-sharing from Green Economy initiatives can be enhanced.
Evolving development and institutional frameworks for low-carbon, or green growth should clearly and properly reflect the needs and aspirations of the mountain people so that they can liberate themselves from the vicious cycle of poverty, unbridled population growth, and environment degradation. The drivers for the transformation to Green Economy and institutional mountain governance should be the people of the mountains themselves, represented by genuine community leaders, not external forces who might fund and benefit from such initiatives.
3.7 Way forward for sustainable mountain development in the SEAP mountains
3.7.1 Undertaking more research, such as those that will define carrying capacity of mountains
Apart from their high elevation and steep slopes, SEAP Mountains have relatively thin top soil that is
vulnerable to erosion owing to the intensity of tropical monsoon rains in the region. Natural causes are aggravated by human-made activities, such as unsustainable farming practices, human settlements, construction of road systems, and destructive logging and mining operations. There is a great need for information that will serve as inputs for planning in the mountains, including the implementation of measures that will help in mitigating the worsening impacts of climate change and unregulated human activities on the mountain?s resources. Scientific inputs, as well as strategies that consider political and socioeconomic factors must be taken into account and within a multi-disciplinary framework, to come up with realistic solutions to address the environmental crisis besetting the mountains (Upadhyay, June
The paucity of data is further aggravated by the lack of confidence in available information on mountain resources. Abi Aguilar (June 16, 2011) contends that government data is generally disaggregated and difficult to use in local conditions. Suspicions about the reliability of mountain data stems from methods that are employed to gather information, which Agha Iqrar Haroon (June 6, 2011) asserts as being collected by majority of non-government actors through local leadership that is part and parcel of land lords. Poudel (June 30, 2011) has critiqued the research and development efforts on the mountains, which he considers as having remained more or less on an ad-hoc basis, done within very short field work, and with a few set of objectives that are determined using the experience of the lowlands or outside the mountain, resulting in outcomes that are out of reality. Poudel believes that improving the design of mountain research will entail taking into account local, customary rules and regulation, local geographical terrain, aspect, and values, among others.
To avoid the pitfalls of research that do not produce meaningful results or whose value is not acceptable to the various mountain stakeholders, a multi-stakeholder, participatory type of research should be undertaken where all are given the opportunity to be involved in conceptualizing the research design, in planning the methodology, in undertaking the data gathering activity and in field trials, up to the interpretation of research data. Benedicto Sánchez (June 10, 2011) demonstrated that this is possible, citing his experience in developing sustainability thresholds for various species of rattan at the Northern Negros Natural Park in Mt. Mandalagan. The dialogic approach may appear to be done using a non-conventional research methodology, but the fact that it has generated research information acceptable to users and regulators attests to the fact that a participatory approach can stand on solid ground, and possibly even withstand scientific inquiry.
The manner of doing research is just as crucial as the kind of research that needs to be undertaken in response to the pressures on SEAP Mountains. In line with this, it is important to listen to what stakeholders are saying as important to them. E-conference participants have identified an initial list of research initiatives on mountains, like dealing with low carbon, clean fuel initiatives as mentioned by Chethika Abenayake (June 25, 2011). Swapna Deb considers the need for slope conservation efforts as important (June 29, 2011). The conduct of biodiversity researches also needs to be prioritized and made in conjunction with developing strategies for economic and social development so as to engender the active participation of communities in or near protected areas in managing their biodiversity resources (Malabor, June 6, 2011). The problems of water scarcity, disposal of huge amount of wastes, and crowded streets and traffic jams that are associated with growing urbanized mountain centres like Baguio in the Philippines (Charlz Castro, June 30, 2011) and Kathmandu, Nepal (P.B. Pandey, June, 30, 2011) could have been anticipated if their carrying capacity had been properly measured.
3.7.2 Improving mountain governance and innovating on institutional mechanisms
The precarious state of some of the SEAP Mountains and the marginalization of mountain people is attributed in part to the failure of governance within mountain ecosystems. Such failures arise because of incompatibility between traditional governance systems employed by the native people, and state governance that introduces development interventions which may be good on the surface, but turns out to be out of sync with local realities. The state is also seen as generally tolerant of extractive industries in the mountains in the name of development ?mining and logging?which impact greatly on the mountain?s topography including river and downstream pollution, erosion, landslides, displacement and community conflicts (Dictaan-Bang-oa, June 8, 2011).
Krishna Poudel (June 16, 2011) believes that this can be overcome by capacitating mountain people to exercise governance over their resources. However, this will not materialize, nor will become sustainable, if the economic standard of the people living in the mountains are not improved. Krishna thinks that giving access to state power can be achieved with proper education so that in the end, mountain people will appreciate that they are responsible for the consequences of their own action. Malabor (June 29, 2011) echoes the same sentiment. Likewise, Malabor believes that mountain people should participate in their governance with more power and the capacity to decide for their community. Toward this end, Malabor sees the need to further strengthen the barangay which is the smallest unit of governance in the Philippines, and understandably, the most accessible to the mountain people. Apart from mountain barangays being provided with their own education, livelihood and basic services programs, health and peace officers, the barangays should also have a say on the kind of projects that will be implemented in the respective communities.
3.7.3 Common grounds and bases for regional cooperation
Caring for and protection of SEAP mountains is a collective responsibility. A few urban centres in the SEAP Mountains are growing, but the fact remains that a large portion of SEAP Mountains have remained undeveloped, difficult to access, and structurally weak and fragile. No group has come out to claim sole ownership of the vast SEAP Mountains, and understandably so. What is clear is that many are aware of the numerous benefits that the mountains provide, as well as of the impending threats associated with global climate and economic pressures. This common awareness of the mountain as a wellspring of benefits and the anticipation of mountain-related disasters that can extend to the lowlands with far greater negative consequences has increased since Rio ?92. This has driven all mountain stakeholders to consider collaborative efforts in protecting and conserving the mountains and the resources therein.
Melding of traditional knowledge with externally-generated science is a key to sustainability in SEAP Mountains. Despite some reservations by a number of e-conference participants over the value of scientific knowledge brought to the mountains by external scientists (e.g., Dr. Grazia Borrini- Feyerabend, ICCA Consortium Coordinator and IUCN CEESP Vice Chair; June 6, 2011), there were other participants who described cases that have demonstrated the value of collaboration that resulted in melding traditional knowledge with externally-generated science. One such case is the multi- stakeholders? sharing of knowledge on the proper utilization of non-timber Forest products in a mountain community in the Philippines (Benedicto Sánchez, June 10, 2011). There was something to be learned from everybody, claimed Benedicto, where a variety of participatory approaches in the planning process, including community ranking of resources with economic and ecological values and knowledge on the NTFPs? marketability or the lack of it, were shared. The dialog also offered opportunity for a more balanced gender perspective although the outcome still leaned toward resources preferred by men. The continuing dialogs also resulted in the avoidance of harvesting endangered tree fern species that were considered essential to the natural regeneration of the secondary community rainforest ecosystem and of wild orchids which could not command a price as good as domesticated species that have saturated the market.
Angelo Mordeno (international consultant, June 19, 2011) likewise described interventions that had enabled the local people in Nepal to meet their needs for firewood and for electricity from power
plants through tree plantations. Other technologies that he suggested during his work in Nepal in 1983, included the (a) use of small machines to open up access roads, (b) minimal road construction with compulsory provision of drainage structures, terracing, gabion-wiring down slopes, and graveling of access roads, (c) planting maguey and other soil-holding plants (bio-engineering) along the slopes, and (d) log transport by small long-distance skyline/cable cranes.
Active participation of communities in mountain governance produces results that indicate there is hope to look forward to in SEAP Mountains. Many participants shared work experiences showcasing the active participation of mountain communities in a number of efforts that otherwise would have failed if communities did not take part in them. Benedicto Sánchez (June 10, 2011) has described community participation in determining utilization thresholds of different rattan species, resulting in community defined thresholds more stringent than existing natural resource policies, and thereby ensuring the sustainability of said NTFP resources. Similarly, Swapna Deb (June 10, 2011) told of village community planning and participation that resulted in transparency in project implementation, enhanced enthusiasm among the people, and made them give up on destructive method of shifting cultivation and instead embrace a number of water harvesting structures like farm pond, fish pond, irrigation canal and providing high yielding, high value crops. The Ikalahan model, as described by Dictaan-Bang-oa (June 29, 2011) also shows how indigenous and montane community sustainable mountain management practices strengthened the community?s hold on their ancestral territory and promoted the development of their culture and identity. As Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend (June 20, 2011) has aptly put it, ?The alternative to destructive megaprojects is not hopeless
?poverty?? it is small scale, carefully-planned and community-controlled, sustainable human development.?
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In 1992, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) ? commonly referred to as
?Rio 1992? or ?the Rio Earth Summit? ? mountains received unexpected high political attention. They were granted a chapter in the ?Agenda 21? as fragile ecosystems that matter for humankind.
Since then, a wide range of efforts by different actors have been undertaken to promote ?Sustainable Mountain Development?. Some of them relate to the above event others just emerged on their own. However, in view of the forthcoming UN Conference ?Rio +20? in 2012 it seems relevant to assess and understand what has been achieved by whom and how. It appears equally important to learn what has worked or not and why in order to draw lessons for more effective interventions in future. The anticipation of possible future challenges or opportunities may further help to be better prepared for their management. This will certainly encompass the adaptation and mitigation of Climate Change as the ?main stream concern of the last decade? well as probably the ?new mainstream paradigm? of Green Economy. But as in the past, major unexpected and unpredictable political, social, economic or even technological changes and innovations may overshadow any of these mainstreams.
In this complex world of today, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation as one of the most committed agents in global Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) over the past 20 years, has commissioned a number of regional reports to assess achievements and progress in major mountain regions such as in particular Central Asia, Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) and the South East Pacific, South and Meso America or the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) has commissioned - in the context of the Swiss Presi- dency of the Alpine Convention 2011/12 ? a specific report on the Alps. In addition, UNEP has provided a separate report on Eastern Europe and started compiling a report on Africa?s mountains.
The insights gained through these assessments in which key local, regional and global actors have been actively involved are meant to feed into a range of processes such as the UN Secretary General?s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability (commonly referred to as ?GSP?), the preparation of the UN Conference in Rio 2012 and possibly the next cycle of the ?Commission for Sustainable Development? (CSD) or its possible successor structure. The present document is to be considered as a ?work in progress?. Hence the Organizers of the ?Lucerne World Mountain Confer- ence? highly welcome inputs, feedbacks, and suggestions for further improvement.