REDD+ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

The work begins: FAO and ECOWAS kick off a new Sida-funded project to protect West African forests in Dakar


A two-day kick-off workshop took place in Dakar, Senegal on 24 – 25 July to kick off the activities under the project “Global transformation of forests for people and climate: A focus on West Africa”. Supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the five-year project aims at protecting West Africa's forests and safeguarding the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.

The workshop gathered representatives from ECOWAS member states as well as participants from ECOWAS Commission and FAO who discussed national priorities in relation to all project activities and national capacities. The dialogue highlighted the three focus areas of the project: 1) forest inventory and monitoring, 2) forest legal and policy frameworks and 3) community-based management of forests.

“The project we are kicking off today is crucial for West Africa as it will support countries to better address transboundary threats to forest resource management across the region,” stated John Fonweban, FAO’s Forestry Officer. “Its implementation is very timely as its activities can further support national and regional forest agendas as outlined in the ECOWAS regional investment plan.”

On day 2, the attention turned to inputs on project activities from various stakeholders such as the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), West African Network for Forest Biomass Assessment (WANFOBA), West African Network of Experts on Mapping of Land Use and Land Cover (WANEM-LULC) and West African Women Association (WAWA).

The project strongly emphasises the need for improved regional collaboration and coordination to tackle transboundary threats to forest resources, as well as for the support required to achieve climate resilient livelihoods in rural communities with a particular focus on women. The role of women in forest management is essential for increasing the effectiveness of forest governance. To address this, the dialogue centred on key gender concerns in the region in relation to forestry. Questions of how gender issues could affect the project, and how the project could potentially solve some of these issues through mainstreaming and targeted actions were thoroughly examined.

“The gender analysis and this initial consultation with stakeholders represent an essential step to maximizing the potential of this project to address some of the forest-related concerns of both women and men,” noted Amanda Bradley, FAO’s Specialist on forest tenure, gender and indigenous peoples for REDD+. “ The workshop allowed us to better understand the country context-specific gender issues as well as those that cut across the region, and then to build consensus around practical actions to take going forward.”

Towards better management of West Africa’s forests

West Africa's forests are an important source of fuel, food and livelihood for millions of people, yet, they are exceedingly affected by deforestation and degradation. In response to these threats, the project is supporting the implementation of the priorities outlined in the Convergence Plan for the Sustainable Management and Use of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa, including by improving knowledge of forest resources in the region and harmonising legislative frameworks for forest policy and supporting community groups to implement sustainable forest and land management.

Dr Johnson Boanuh, Director of Environment at ECOWAS Commission, commented on the importance of the project for the region: “The successful partnership between ECOWAS and both FAO and Sida has previously achieved tangible and highly significant results for the promotion of the forestry sector in our region. I believe that this project will strengthen decision-making on forests and land management, strengthen capacities at the sub-regional level through ECOWAS and other sub-regional partners to implement elements of the Forest Convergence Plan. Achieving this objective will positively contribute to livelihoods and climate change resilience building, and thus contribute to the achievements of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.”


For further information, please contact:


Ms Malgorzata Buszko-Briggs

Senior Forestry Officer

Forestry Department, FAO Headquarters

Email: [email protected]


Mr Mohamadou Aw

FAO Subregional Office for West Africa,

Email: [email protected]

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