Poverty Reduction in Upland Communities in the Mekong Region through Improved Community and Industrial Forestry


Project 36613-012
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Type TA
Sector Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development
Country Regional
Start 2003
End 2008
Status Closed
Last Edited 05 Jul 2021


US$('000) 1,000

Project Description

In the Mekong Region (including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam) about 80 million of the total population of 200 million people are classified as poor and the majority live in relatively remote rural areas where much of the residual forest is also located. Some of the poorest of these communities are from the ethnic minorities. For these communities, forests function as safety nets during periods of stress and often supply a significant portion of household income. Forest loss and degradation increases the risk of livelihoods being reduced or lost through natural disasters. Failure to address and properly manage upland development and environmental protection challenges is likely to make the region-s poverty reduction targets unattainable. Existing vulnerable upland forest- dependent communities are likely to be pushed deeper into persistent poverty. Therefore, if the full benefits of poverty reduction strategies and investments are to be achieved, there is a need to enhance the poverty reduction functions of forests in the uplands of the Mekong Region. This requires efforts to tackle poverty, putting a heavy emphasis on instituting sound forest resource management policies and practices, while maximizing the creation of employment in rural areas that are specifically suited to the skills and knowledge of upland communities. Therefore, there was a need to undertake a regional study to assess the poverty reduction potential of community and industrial forestry investments in the region. TA activities included the following: (i) identifying forestry development strategies to increase food and livelihood security of smallholder farm families living in and near remote and inaccessible forests; (ii) assessing the potential of community forestry to reduce poverty in upland communities of Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam; (iii) assessing the potential of industrial forestry to reduce poverty in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam; (iv) reviewing and assessing the effects of forest product trade on rural livelihoods, and the degree of integration of the forest sector into comprehensive poverty reduction and growth strategy papers; (v) identifying enabling policy frameworks and good practice to maximize the poverty reduction impact of community and industrial forestry in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam; and (vi) involving key policy makers in determining community and industrial forestry policy reform agenda and action plans.

Progress (as of March 2021)

Project closed


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  • Increased forest and natural resource sector operations and investments in the Mekong region.
  • Increased contribution of community and industrial forestry to poverty reduction and livelihood improvement in upland communities.