For the past four years, TFF has received funding support under the RAFT (Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade) partnership arrangement, a regional USAID-sponsored program based in Bangkok, Thailand, and managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). RAFT works with forest producers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Papua New Guinea. Additionally, RAFT works in other countries such as China, Japan, Singapore, members of the European Union, and the US, to address procurement and investment policies that promote the legal timber trade.
The RAFT initiative focuses on promoting responsible timber trade and the sustainable management of forest resources and biodiversity. The initiative aims to improve forest management practices, promote timber trade from certified legal sources, reduce forest-related conflict, and strengthen regional cooperation on forest management and trade.
The Nature Conservancy leads a partnership of organizations in an synergetic effort to: increase regional trade from legal timber sources, measurably improve sustainability of forest management on the ground, strengthen regional cooperation on forest management and trade, contribute toward climate change abatement. Partners in the RAFT project are TNC, IUCN, RECOFTC, TFF, TFT, WWF, and TRAFFIC.
TNC's contract with TFF it's now nearing completion of its fourth year. Financial support is predicated on the promotion and training of reduced impact logging techniques. Reduced impact logging training addresses a key obstacle to good forest management that influences the ability of regional forest producer to meet the standards of credible independent certification.
During the 2010 RAFT year (October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010), RAFT funding support enabled TFF to significantly expand its engagement with the Indonesian forest sector for RIL training with ten field trainings and a variety of related RIL and supply chain interventions delivered as part of TFFs commitment under RAFT. RAFT also supported an exploratory TFF visit to Papua New Guinea.
The fourth year of the RAFT program has seen an increasing shift to the development of greater synergy between the partners and a communication strategy which seeks to spread the news of RAFT to the various target audiences.
RAFT will shortly be launching a program website. Meanwhile, information on RAFT is available on the newly launched “ResponsibleMarkets.org” website.
Current USAID funding of the RAFT program is set to expire at the end of September 2011.