Myanmar is a forest resource rich country with around 28.5 million hectares of forest areas which represent about 42.19% of the total land area. The country has also around 18.7 million hectares of other wooded land. Forests are tremendously important in Myanmar for the well-being of its over 34 million rural people out of its total population of 54 million, especially poor, as well as the country’s ecological integrity and economic development. They support basic household needs and livelihoods, commercial production, export earnings, and employment. Although Myanmar possesses quite a remarkable forest management system with a large number of highly qualified forestry professionals, Myanmar has faced challenges in its efforts towards sustainable forest management certification and timber legality systems.
The project’s development objective is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable forest management in Myanmar through strengthening national certification systems of forest management and chain of custody as well as a timber legality verification system. The project will address the challenges Myanmar faces with market access for timber and focus on the continued improvement of Myanmar Forest Certification System (MFCS), and Myanmar Timber Legality Assurance System (MTLAS) and their efficient and effective implementation. Significant capacity building interventions, including the application of QR codes for log tracking, will be implemented to develop the robustness of the mechanisms and infrastructures that underpin Myanmar’s timber certification systems. Standard and system development will hinge on wide stakeholder consultation, with international best practice processes that will serve to foster an environment of mutual trust and ownership amongst forest sector stakeholders. The project results will be sustainable through creating economically viable certification systems, ensuring capacity interventions can be multiplied, and supporting locally generated, cost effective timber tracking technologies. In the longer term the systems created will play an important role in advancing sustainable forest management while enhancing the sustainable supply of vital goods and various ecosystem services from valuable tropical forests in Myanmar to support the achievements of SDGs in particular SDG 12 (Responsible production and consumption) and SDG 15 (life on lands).