Agroforestry plays a critical role in meeting several development challenges, including food security, environmental conservation, biodiversity, livelihoods as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation. As agroforestry is expanding in Southeast Asia, trees are important in the agri-food systems in the Association of South-East Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) ten Member States.
The Mekong Expert Group on Agroforestry for Food & Nutrition Security, Sustainable Agriculture & Land Restoration has contributed to the newly published report State and Outlook of Agroforestry in ASEAN: Status, Trends and Outlook 2030 and beyond, commissioned by the FAO. The report presents an overview of current work and challenges to agroforestry development and research in ASEAN between 2000 and 2020, to which many members of the Group contributed. The report highlights that agroforestry can help stabilise food supplies, diversify incomes, protect against weather extremes, and enable smallholders to adapt to climate change. However, agroforestry risks remaining on the periphery if it is not accounted for in national policies and programming. The report aims to motivate ASEAN decision-makers and other stakeholders to act towards sustainable natural resource management through agroforestry.
Guidelines on agroforestry in ASEAN
The Mekong Expert Group was formed in 2018 with support from SIANI. Bringing together key actors from Southeast Asia, Sweden and Africa on agroforestry for nutrition and food security, the Group contributed to the ASEAN Guidelines for Agroforestry Development in 2018. Critically, the Group reviewed in detail the ‘zero’ draft of the Guidelines before submitting it to the Member States for their review. Subsequently, a further critical review was undertaken immediately before submission to the ASEAN Senior Officials of Forestry meeting in Da Nang, Viet Nam for endorsement as actionable by the 40th Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry in October in Ha Noi.
Since publication, members of the Group have continued their engagement in an ad hoc manner, supporting various activities and products related to the Guidelines. These include implementation of an FAO-ASEAN technical cooperation programme in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar on Scaling-Up Agroforestry in ASEAN for Food Security and Environmental Benefits. Specific activities involve facilitation of roadmaps for agroforestry development, a training-needs assessment, establishment of a knowledge hub, policy dialogues and technical working groups.
Read the report here.