Policy guidelines for agroforestry development adopted by ASEAN

  • All ten member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed that agroforestry development can increase their prosperity, connectivity, resilience and security
  • The guidelines support focused policies and programs for agroforestry in Member States as part of the Vision and Strategic Plan for ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry 2016–2025
  • The guidelines support collaboration between Member States in sharing technical and policy developments, promoting increased trans-border trade in agroforestry products and bolstering the enhancement of ecosystem services, in keeping with the vision of the ASEAN Economic Community
  • The guidelines include 3 institutional, 2 economic, 2 environmental, 3 sociocultural, 2 technical design and 2 communication and scaling principles
  • The guidelines, adopted by ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry, were developed in a collaborative process with a wide range of partners from national government agencies, international, regional and national research and academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and civil society groups



Getting agroforestry on negotiation tables where global, regional, national and local policy responses to current ‘issues’ are discussed takes patience and time. Yet, without such investment, flexibility in the language to be used, and persistence and consensus on the core aspects, agroforestry practitioners will continue to face hurdles because policy documents don’t refer to it as a potential contribution.

Considerable progress was made in recent years in the Southeast Asian context where ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) with its ten Member States engaged in a process of consultations that led to a set of principles and associated implementation guidelines were endorsed at Ministerial level. The document itself has no legal power (there are sanctions or dispute settlement rules), but serves as an expression of commitment and intent, and provides a framework for cooperation amongst Member States. It can help in dealing with cross-border issues as they exist on both the agricultural and forestry side of agroforestry. The principles and guidelines will offer little, if any, surprise for readers of the preceding chapters of this book, and indeed much of the research results reviewed here was summarized at the start of the policy process in a ‘white paper’. Much of these guidelines can apply in other regions of the world, but as in any science-policy interface, the ‘boundary work’ of consultations and a participative process is as important for the legitimacy dimension of the resulting ‘boundary object’, as the credibility of the underlying evidence and the relevance (salience) of the recommended courses for action.

The main part of this chapter is the list of principles and guidelines formulated, but we will first describe the process followed to ensure ownership by the relevant authorities. For the readership of this book, the list of suggested references of the ASEAN document has here been used in the sections where they are most relevant.

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