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The Association of Southeast Asia Nations has releases Guidelines to generate momentum for agroforestry

Published on January 13, 2019 | Author: Linus Karlsson
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ASEAN consists of ten member states with a population of around 650 million people. Several of the ASEAN countries are vulnerable to climate change as they have long coastlines and significant parts of their populations living of agriculture or forestry. ASEAN intend to use agroforestry as one of several tools to reduce vulnerability to climate change. By doing so the region will also improve rural livelihoods and contribute to national and international goals for biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation. The release of the ASEAN Guidelines for Agroforestry Development is a milestone in this process and will likely accelerate the adoption of agroforestry.

Barriers slowing down adoption of agroforestry

Adoption of agroforestry is slow in the ASEAN region even though the land management system has been shown to address a multitude of challenges, e.g. food insecurity, poverty, climate change and unsustainable forest management. The slow adoption is a result of a number of barriers preventing agroforestry from being scaled-up. On a ministerial level, institutions lack mandates to implement agroforestry and rural development is the responsibility of either forestry or agricultural agencies. This has resulted in low agroforestry capacity within the ASEAN governmental bodies. Without capacity there has been limited research progress on complementary rather then competitive combinations of trees and crops. Furthermore, economic barriers are preventing farmers to invest in agroforestry as they lack capital and no credit schemes are available to cover the long return on investments. But most importantly there is almost a complete lack of policy support for agroforestry in the ASEAN region. Without policy support, initiatives to eliminate legal, institutional or economic barriers will gain little momentum.

Climate vulnerability in Southeast Asia, published by the International Development Research Centre in 2009.

Guidelines formulated to assist a broad range of professionals and organisations

The ASEAN Guidelines for Agroforestry Development is a major achievement and will assist member states when formulating national agroforestry policies. The development of the guidelines were led by the World Agroforestry Centre and carried out through an open consultative process with numerous stakeholders. The guidelines consist of a several principles categorised in different thematic areas. Each principle contains a number of hands-on guidelines. These guidelines are formulated to be applicable by a broad range of professionals working with rural development on different levels. A public servant can feed of the Institutional principles when examining the legal support for agroforestry while a farmer association can use the Technical principles when improving their capacity in agroforestry extension services.

The ASEAN Guidelines for Agroforestry Development are

available  at the website of the World Agroforestry Centre

The guidelines have potential to give agroforestry momentum, not only in the ASEAN member states, but also in other regions and on other continents, as barriers preventing agroforestry from being scaled-up are similar elsewhere. Agroforestry Network believes that the guidelines are a great tool for professionals working with rural development and agroforestry.