Community Mubaan

Day 5 - November 19, 2004


On Friday 19 November the Community Mubaan saw an incredible panel discussion on "Moving to Scale: Mobilizing Community Actions". With facilitation by Dr. Opas Panya, from the Faculty of Environment at Mahidol University, both community members and policy makers engaged in a productive dialogue on community-based natural resources management initiatives.

Thanks to Phansiri Winichagoon, Environment Unit Manager in UNDP Thailand, we present here a summary of the main points that this discussion raised.

Summary of the Discussion

Dr. Nirun Pitakwachara, Senator of Ubon Ratchathani² Chairman of the Parliament Standing Committee on Social Development and Human Security

The senator discussed issues related to the non individual property character of the natural resources base. Conflicts of natural resources management can be reduced and prevented by diverting attitudes from money and power to the respect of collective culture and harmony of diversities. After highlighting these issues the senator also promised to work on this attitude change in the legislation process that ensures peopleÁs well-being.

With joint efforts of community forest alliances, the Community Forest Act has almost reached its final stage. However, it is not likely that it will be approved by this government. He proposed that various channels must be tried. For example, he referred to the constitution stating that community rights in local natural resources must be protected. There are existing regulations that allow community-based resources management in national park areas. Beside these written laws, communal rules in community forests will also apply.

Giving encouragement to community forest networks, he and the alliance of senators will bring up the voices from the ground and spread out the community success stories to be heard by "upstream" authorities.

Representatives from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants² Mr. Charnchai Ngamcharoen and Mr. Pairoj Limcharoen

Mr. Charnchai raised the attitude change of the forest conservation officers towards more acceptance of communityÁs role in forest protection. Law enforcement relied very much on how officers and villagers have better communication and understanding of their common goal to protect and wisely use natural resources. Mr. Pairoj informed the audience of government initiatives on joint management projects supported by the Danish Government (Danida). This is a demonstration project in various national parks.

Representatives from the 4 communities: Mr. Pinijnan Thongserm, Ms. Benjalak Taraporn, Mr. Tawatchai Kunawong and Mr. Parue Odochao

The four community representatives told the audiences about their experiences in community forests with their unique cases of success in preserving their community forest. These different stories reflected the philosophy of community livelihoods that respects harmony of people and nature, believes in optimum consumption and reproduction, gives a second chance to heal the damage, and better turn the confrontation into alliances. Other communities joined the discussion and shared their stories e.g. Pred Nai from a southern mangrove community shared insights on combined coastal and forest protection, and community work on eastern forest complex.

At the end, Parue Odochao from Pakayaw community represented voices from the ground that hit our hearts. "There are two different worlds, the world of reason and the world of love. We, people on the ground, live in the world of love. We do not have much reason to explain, but we feel we live and die happily. While people in the world of reason feel that they have to help us from deep poverty. With many reasons, they push us out of the land we lived on for thousand years. We are convinced by their money oriented and modernized value. We try to keep our traditional value and prove it to the world of reason. However, they are so powerful. It is like flowers that have been surrounded by guns that keep shooting. Flowers fall down definitely. Then, please do not blame us that we are not strong enough".

With this powerful message, the event drew to a close.



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