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Four new papers on social protection and sustainable forestry to be released at East Africa workshop

Luanching the four new working papers during the workshop

Tanzania is hosting a sub-regional workshop on social protection for forest-dependent communities in East Africa in Dar es Salaam on November 8 and 9.

The event attracts the participation of governmental authorities responsible for forestry policy/programmes, social protection policy/programmes, and forest producer organizations from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Representatives from international and regional organizations, and from FAO headquarters, regional and sub-regional offices are also in attendance.

“We’ve over 45 participants at the meeting where the main objective is to exchange information and experience in social protection needs and opportunities of forest-dependent communities; and to identify options to expand social protection coverage for forest-dependent communities,” said FAO’s Representative in Tanzania, Fred Kafeero.

Launching of Four Working Papers

With the theme “Social protection for forest-dependent communities,” the meeting featured the release of four new working papers on social protection and sustainable forestry in developing countries that have been published by FAO Forestry Department in partnership with development institutions and member countries, he said. 

The papers help demonstrate that social protection is a valuable strategy for reducing poverty, food insecurity, and vulnerability to shocks while building resilience in forest-dependent communities in developing countries. They also review the evidence for building linkages between social protection and sustainable forestry.  

The papers are: A Mapping of Social Protection Needs and Opportunities for Forest-Dependent Communities in Uganda; Social Protection for Building the Resilience of Forest-Dependent People: Evidence, Linkages, Practices and Potential Applications; The Impact of the Shea Nut Industry on Women’s Empowerment in Burkina Faso; and Links Between Social Protection and Forestry Policies: Lessons from China.

Uganda and Burkina Faso cases

The mapping conducted in Uganda demonstrates that some of the ‘poorest of the poor’ living in  forests suffer because they lack political power, are socially excluded, and live in remote areas far removed from any government services — all of which leaves them vulnerable to shocks.

While in parts of Burkina Faso, women participating in groups for shea butter production are reporting higher incomes from better marketing — but more importantly, they appreciate the strong collaboration and social support they get from their groups.

In fact, forest producer organizations have shown their ability to play an important role in supporting social protection. Further, where government-provided social protection is absent or lacking, forest producer organizations can provide complementary social protection services, combining forest conservation and poverty-reduction goals.

The papers also suggest solutions such as expanding social-protection services into more forest and rural areas; improved training and support for alternative livelihood sources; better access to technology and financial services; and more fair land tenure processes.

The meeting is organised by FAO Forestry Department, Strategic Program 3 and FAO Representation in Tanzania.