The objectives of the project are to:
- Improve the understanding of how small forest products enterprises operate in Lao, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
- Analyse the regulatory obstacles faced by small enterprises and the resulting impacts on their viability and their potential contributors – both economic and environmental – to national economies in Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam.
- To prepare recommendations for relevant policy and regulatory reform in these three countries.
The research methodology for this project is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on diagnosis of the structure and small-scale (including informal) forest products enterprise value chains. Based on the results of the first part, part two focuses on analysing the impact of existing regulations on small enterprises and to help national stakeholders prepare recommendations for solutions to reduce the regulatory burdens on this sector, including possible reform of current legislation.
NEPCon and Forest Trends have joined forces to carry out this highly complex project with inputs from 6 international experts supporting 15 national experts in the four Mekong countries. The research will employ a regional framework for understanding small-scale forest product enterprises, including those in the informal sector, and their structure, dynamics, and governance mechanisms, for selected timber value chains (VCs) in each of the four countries – Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Research will further examine the source and final destination of wood products in these VCs, i.e. whether they use imported or domestically sourced wood materials, or are producing/processing for local or export markets.
The project will also analyse gender role in timber VCs, including gender division of labour, assessment of women’s position in the chain and institutional and legal framework facilitating or impeding their participation in VCs. The research further identifies opportunities to strengthen the small forest product enterprise sector, and opportunities for supporting or enhancing women’s engagement in the sector.
Expected results of the project
The project runs from May 2017 to August 2018 and the anticipated outcomes of the project are:
- Recommendations for relevant policy and regulatory reforms in Lao, Thailand and Vietnam. The work will support regional stakeholder groups, networks, processes and dialogues that complement and strengthen the work of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in developing regional forest policy and cooperation on FLEGT.
- Recommendations to address regulatory barriers and other obstacles, including those specific to women, faced by small enterprises in forest product value chains.
- To improve the understanding and develop support mechanisms in the private sector, and especially among SMEs, to enable them to comply with changing market requirements.
The outcomes of this work will support the implementation of the EU FLEGT Action plan that will contribute to poverty eradication and sustainable forest management in Southeast Asia.