Dryland forests and forestry
Konya international workshop
These issues and challenges were taken up at an international workshop in Konya, Turkey, from 28–31 May. The workshop was organized and supported by the Turkish Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, FAO (Rome and Ankara), the Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
Participants included over 90 international experts on drylands restoration from forestry departments, research institutions, the private sector, NGOs and international development agencies, representing twenty-four countries in Africa, Central Asia, the Near East and the Mediterranean region. The initiative was as well supported by international and inter-governmental organizations such as the African Union Commission, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Secretariat, the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD (the “Global Mechanism”), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Secretariat, the Permanent Interstate Committee for drought control in the Sahel (CILSS), the African Forest Forum (AFF), the Millennium Development Goals Centre for West and Central Africa, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Walloon Region of Belgium, the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), the World Wide Fund for Nature, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Silva Mediterranea, a technical statutory body of FAO.
The event was held in response to recommendations by FAO member countries to develop operational guidelines for the restoration of degraded forest landscapes and lands under the difficult environmental and socio-economic conditions in arid and semi-arid zones, for the benefit of the local population. The Konya workshop was the first step in the process to achieve this goal in a participatory manner based on lessons learned from past and ongoing forest restoration efforts in the represented countries. Participants shared experiences, identified key elements of success and failure in forest restoration projects and discussed the comprehensive forest Restoration Monitoring Tool, newly developed by FAO, to guide planning, implementation and evaluation of field projects and programmes. A one-day field trip showcased comprehensive technical and institutional experience in Turkey.
Participants appreciated the opportunity to establish and extend their professional networks through this event and to contribute to amending the Restoration Monitoring Tool through their expertise and feedback. They also gave valuable guidance on the structure and content of an expert report on drylands restoration integrating lessons learnt and guidelines.
Experts from international development partners and networks (the FAO Subregional Office for Central Asia, GEF, the Global Mechanism, Silva Mediterranea and UNDP) presented funding opportunities and ongoing collaborative programmes to support national and regional efforts in dryland restoration. Among these collaborative programmes, some highlights are: the African Union’s Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel initiative, involving 13 countries around the Sahara and benefiting from the funding support of the European Union, the Global Mechanism and FAO; the GEF/World Bank programme support to the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel initiative, in 12 countries; the Collaborative Partnership on Mediterranean Forests and the Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions – Silva Mediterranea, involving over 15 partners including GIZ, the French Fund for the Global Environment and the French Development Agency; and the FAO–Turkey Forestry Programme in Central Asia and neighbouring countries, benefiting from the support of the Turkish Government.
The participants agreed to support the process further to develop operational guidelines for the restoration of degraded landscapes and to contribute to the amendment of the Restoration Monitoring Tool. They also appreciated the initiative to organize a follow-up workshop, with a focus on field techniques, which will likely be held in Senegal by the end of the year.
The final output of the process will be a report on drylands restoration. The report will be launched in Istanbul, Turkey, in April 2013, at the 10th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests, during a side event that will be organized by the Turkish Government.