Swiss aid agency puts up ‘social forestry’ fund for 8 ASEAN states » Manila Bulletin News

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Swiss aid agency puts up ‘social forestry’ fund for 8 ASEAN states

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by Ellalyn B. De Vera

A “social forestry” quick response grant fund was put up by a Swiss agency for eight Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries to help in the immediate needs arising from climate change, hunger, and poverty concerns.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is extending in the next three years the grant through the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) as project implementor.

The program is the third phase of the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC), which will benefit the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The budget limit is $15,000 for single country projects and $30,000 for multi-country projects. Each project should be completed in six months. The grant facility also offers scholarship training for up to $2,000.

SEARCA Director Gil Saguiguit Jr. said a streamlined process will be implemented to speed up release of grant assistance to beneficiaries.

Eligible types of project proposals include quick turnaround studies to aid decision-making, exploratory review of emerging problems, analytical studies, dialogues and roundtable discussions, and study tours.

Saguiguit said a trust fund is being conceptualized by SEARCA as a long term program after this grant program is piloted under the ASEAN Social Forestry Network Strategic Response Fund (ASRF).

 “This can become the precursor or test-bed for the creation of an ASRF Trust Fund,” Saguiguit said.

“ASRF will also support ASEAN regional initiatives in support of the ASEAN Multi-sectoral Framework on Climate Change: Agriculture and Forestry towards Food Security and the ASEAN Vision for Food, Agriculture and Forestry,” he added.

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