The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) SLM-GEF project is providing support to the Forest Department (FD) and the University of Forestry and Environmental Science- Yezin (UFES) to revise and upgrade the 2-year certificate program curriculum offered at the Myanmar Forest School (MFS). The UFES recognizes the need for an environmental management approach (ecosystem-based). Therefore, a new curriculum that considers the full array of interactions within an ecosystem, including humans, is under development rather than considering single issues, species, or ecosystem services in isolation.

Upgrading courses at the forestry training institutions and opening them to the private sector is a high priority for the Training and Research Development Division (TRDD) of the FD. It pursues the ecosystem-based transformation that will profoundly influence the future sustainability of forestry practices in Myanmar. The overarching goal of this collaboration is to build a foundation for the National Ecosystem-based Sustainable Forest Management Capacity Building Program.

Key stakeholders leading the revision of the curriculum on 11 June 2020 held fruitful discussions on the formation of an editorial board to review and provide technical oversight of the content of the upgraded curriculum upon 100% completion and the planning and delivery of the pilot ecosystem-curriculum for implementation at the MFS.

In the first quarter of 2019, experts from UFES and FD completed a review of the existing curriculum to identify upgrades and revisions required for incorporation in alignment with international best practices on sustainable forest management.

The Experts approved the composition of an editorial board made of five members who will provide technical oversight and editing of the curriculum.  In addition, subject heads responsible for revisions submitted the 100% completed and upgraded curriculum to the project management team at UFES.  Moreover, the Experts identified the six subjects, the respective subject leads, and members to lead the planning and delivery of the initial pilot phase of the curriculum at MFS later this year.

In light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, the SLM team together with UFES management team took necessary precautions in the organization of the meeting.  For example, the seating arrangement for participants was set up to ensure safe physical distancing, hand sanitizers were provided to those in attendance, and the option of online attendance was available to participants.  The Principal of MFS, U Tet Toe from Pyin Oo Lwin, virtually joined the meeting. The seating plan, in combination with the virtual meeting option, portrays what a new normal meeting is about.