Project on Formulation of Guidelines and Procedures for Social Impact Assessment and Monitoring of Forest Management Operations

The Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the UPM Consultancy & Services Sdn Bhd to implement a project entitled Formulation of Guidelines and Procedures for Social Impact Assessment and Monitoring of Forest Management Operations.  The Agreement is for a period of 16 months commencing from 1 January 2010 to 30 April 2011.

The main objective of the project is to formulate guidelines and procedures for the conduct of social impact assessment/evaluation, including monitoring procedures to assess the impacts of forest harvesting operations on the indigenous and local communities living within and in the vicinity of the Forest Management Unit (FMU).

Under the Malaysian Timber Certification Scheme (MTCS) operated by MTCC, FMUs applying for forest management certification are required to comply with the requirements of the prescribed forest management standard, i.e. the Malaysian Criteria and Indicators for Forest Management Certification [MC&I(2002)].  On the social aspect, the MC&I(2002) stipulates the requirements for the FMU manager to conduct an assessment/evaluation of social impact of forest management operations on the indigenous and local communities directly affected by the operations (Criterion 4.4). In addition, the standard also prescribes the need for monitoring procedures for assessing these impacts (Criterion 8.1).

In this connection, the project has been designed to produce the following two instruments:

(i)          Guidelines and procedures for conducting social impact assessment/ evaluation of forest
management operations on the communities directly affected by such operations;
(ii)         Procedures for monitoring effectiveness of measures taken to avoid or minimise social
impacts of forest management operations.

The development and availability of the above two instruments will further assist the forest managers to meet the requirements of Criteria 4.4 and 8.1 of the MC&I(2002).

A Project Technical Committee comprising members from the Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA), Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia (FDPM), Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), Institute of Tropical Forestry and Forest Products (INTROP) in UPM and MTCC has been formed to provide expert views as well as technical support for the project implementation. The Committee held its first meeting on 11 May 2010.

The project will involve the implementation of the following key activities in developing the two instruments:

(i)          Conduct literature review;
(ii)         Organise and conduct local community discussion/consultation;
(iii)        Organise and conduct Stakeholder Workshop;
(iv)        Develop instruments; and
(v)         Conduct pilot trial and finalisation of instruments.

Representatives of the various stakeholder groups will be invited to the Stakeholder Workshop to provide their comments and inputs regarding the draft instruments.  The Workshop is tentatively scheduled to take place in October 2010.