From April 28 to May 2, USAID’s Grassroots Equity and Enhanced Networks in the Mekong Program launched its Regional Learning Group on Equity in Forest Governance and organized its first learning event in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand.

Twenty-two sub-national government officials from Lower Mekong countries, including Cambodia, Laos PDR, Thailand and Vietnam, participated and will continue to meet bi-annually in each of the countries in the next two years. Bringing together officials from provincial and district levels of government, the Regional Learning Group will foster joint learning on approaches and rationales for strengthening community participation in forest governance.

This stakeholder group is felt to be especially critical given that regional learning opportunities are often directed at national-level officials and yet sub-national officials often have the greatest direct interaction with local communities.  The Regional Learning Group on Equity in Forest Governance is innovative in that it allows sub national officials from the four counties to participate and contribute in their respective languages.

Simultaneous translation in the four Lower Mekong languages enabled communication among the diversity of national languages during the activity, which included field site visits.

See more photos here:

Source: USAID/RDMA Regional Environment Office Weekly Update