ASEAN, Germany to support biodiversity-based enterprises in Cambodia

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To establish biodiversity-based enterprises, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH or GIZ, through a joint project called, the Biodiversity-Based Project (BBP) as an Economic Source for the Improvement of Livelihoods and Biodiversity Protection recently signed three local subsidy contracts (LSC) with the Cambodian government for villages in Phnom Kulen National Park (PKNP).

The project involves developing two biodiversity-based value chains in the PKNP area—the production of medicinal plants and handicrafts made from vines. The plants and vines that are the raw material for these enterprises are abundantly found in PKNP, and developing sustainable enterprises using these resources is expected to help reduce people's dependence on livelihood activities that negatively impact the biodiversity of the park.

Lao partners undergo Biodiversity Value Chain Training of Trainers

 Lao PDR BBP ToT Participants  Lao PDR BBP ToT Participant Exercise


From 26 to 28 June 2018, the project Biodiversity-based Products (BBP) as an Economic Source for the Improvement of Livelihoods and Biodiversity Protection conducted a 3-day Training of Trainers (ToT) on concepts and development of biodiversity value chains in Thalat, Lao PDR. Thirteen participants from the Department of Forestry (DoF)/Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), and the Luang Namtha Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Office (PAFO) were invited by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) for this session. The ToT was conducted to strengthen awareness and knowledge on biodiversity value chains in general and bamboo value chain in the Lao context in particular.

The BBP project aims at creating new jobs, and increase income and business opportunities for the rural population around protected areas through the design, facilita¬tion, and implementation of commercially viable biodiversity value chains, enhanced with a focus on biodiversity conservation and sustainable management. In Lao PDR, the BBP project is piloting the development of biodiversity-based value chains through the sustainable use of bamboo for furniture and handicraft by communities in the buffer zone of Nam Ha National Protected Area.

The biodiversity value chain training module used for this session adopts an innovated version of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Value Links module which is riveted on the biodiversity conservation with practical application on biodiversity value chain mapping exercise. The ToT capped an 11-module training session that was conducted with multi-learning approaches consisting of lectures, guided discussion, and practical group exercises.

The training was conducted in view of the MAF being the new project partner of the BBP Project in Lao PDR where it was previously under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MONRE). It was also an important step in the capacity building approach that ACB is supporting for ASEAN Member States to ensure that partners acquire competencies in biodiversity value chain development, providing opportunities for economic development and biodiversity conservation at the same time. It is expected that the participants acquire a good understanding of the concepts of biodiversity-based value chains and equip themselves as facilitators and knowledge carriers with focus on the review, selection, and development of promotion strategies for further promotion of biodiversity-based value chains in Laos and other ASEAN Member States. Further training sessions and learning events will be provided for piloting partners in Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as for interested ASEAN Member States. NEL/BS

Ed. Note: with two photos
Caption 1: DoF participants learning by doing in a workshop exercise.
Photo file name: Lao PDR BBP ToT Participant Exercise
Caption 2 (for inset Photo): DoF participants with GFA Training Expert Rita Pilarca (seated, third from right), DoF Division Head Savanh Chanthkhoumman (seated, fourth from right), and Souvanpheng Sphommasane (seated, fifth from right).
Photo file name: Lao PDR BBP ToT Participants

BBP Project holds midyear review towards a successful conclusion

 ACB 2549  ACB 2605
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The midyear review, which tackled a wide range of activities taken up by the partners in implementing, managing, and monitoring the project accomplishments, served as a venue for the country coordinators from the project sites in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam, as well as representatives from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, GFA Consulting Group GmbH, and ACB to share their own activities, challenges and plans for the BBP project for the remaining months.

Enabling communities to be economically productive while ensuring biodiversity conservation was underscored by ACB’s Executive Director Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim. She highlighted two of the BBP Project’s achievements for the year – the presentation of its Policy Proposal during the 28th Meeting of the ASEAN Working Group On Nature Conservation and Biodiversity, and the signing of the Local Subsidy Contracts in Cambodia. Dr. Lim shared her hopes that with this project, biodiversity can be further accepted as a mainstream subject matter, and that the biodiversity-based products from the ASEAN Member States will be recognized worldwide.
While the review led to assessing of what have been achieved and what will be done in the remaining months, it also looked into ways how biodiversity-based value chain development can be made sustainable as the project concludes next year.

After discussions, the main tasks that have to be carried out for the remainder of the project period are to collect and present the success stories of the BBP pilot models in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam, as well as support the mainstreaming of policies on biodiversity-based value chain development in the ASEAN. This includes building up the support system by enabling partners and strengthening knowledge management to ensure that the biodiversity-based value chain development is promoted as a means to improve income-generating and biodiversity conservation capacities of communities in the buffer zones of protected areas. 
The project also took up recommendations from the 28th Meeting of the ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation and Biodiversity held in Seam Reap, Cambodia, where ACB was requested to further support the capacity building of ASEAN stakeholders in biodiversity value chain development. Further trainings and learning exchanges will be organized by the BBP project within the coming months. 
- B. Schlegel and N.E. Lopez

Bamboo producer groups showcase biodiversity-based products in provincial trade fair

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Eight bamboo producer groups organized and assisted by the project Biodiversity-Based Products (BBP) as Economic Source for the Improvement of Livelihoods and Biodiversity Protection stepped up their skills in product marketing by successfully joining a trade fair held in Luang Namtha Province, Lao PDR from 13 to 20 March 2018. During the week-long trade fair, the groups were able to sell a total of 131 products worth LAK 9,800,000 (or USD 1,225) and also received additional orders from customers.

Since April 2017, the BBP Project has been working with communities from four villages in Luang Namtha province (Ban Sopxim, Ban Hadyong, Ban Sinudom and Ban Had Nalaeng) in establishing biodiversity-friendly value chains, aiming at supporting economic development and sustainable livelihoods as well as biodiversity conservation in the Nam Ha National Protected Area, an ASEAN Heritage Park.

These efforts led to the formation of eight bamboo producer groups in the four villages. Group members were trained in sustainable harvesting of bamboo for the production of furniture like tables, chairs, sofas, and shelves; as well as handicrafts like baskets, bags, mats, and tissue boxes. The area of Nam Ha National Protected Area has healthy bamboo forests, and as long as the villagers continue to practice sustainable harvesting techniques, they will have enough resources to support long-term production and livelihoods.

While earlier efforts have focused on harvesting and manufacturing processes, the BBP Project's value chain development approach recognizes the importance of enhancing the marketing aspect as well. Events like the provincial trade fair help the producer groups promote their products to more potential customers, establish new market linkages, and network with or learn from other producer groups.

Three governments seal agreement for supporting biodiversity-based products

BBP Project partners during the MOC signing with the Viet Nam government. From left to right: Dr. Dicky Simorangkir, ISB Project Director, GIZ; Atty. Roberto Oliva, ACB Executive Director, Dr. Berthold Seibert, Programme Director, GIZ, Dr. Pham Anh Cuong, Director Biodiversity Conservation Agency, Vietnam Environment Administration, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Viet Nam, Ms. Clarissa Arida, ACB-PDI Director. The photo was taken during the 26th  Meeting of the ASEAN Working Group on Nature Conservation and Biodiversity (AWGNCB), held on 25-26 May 2016 in Hanoi, Viet Nam.

The governments of Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam have signed memoranda of agreement (MOC) with the ASEAN Centre of Biodiversity (ACB) and GFA Consulting Group GmbH, formally signifying their commitment to the Biodiversity-Based Products (BPP) Project.