FAO Regional Office for Africa

FAO unveils a special edition of Nature & Faune journal to mark Africa-hosted XIV World Forestry Congress

Highlights focus on Africa’s commitment and direction to sustainable forest management

Mr Bukar Tijani Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa launching the special edition of Nature & Faune Journal. Photo credit: ©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto

8 September 2015, Accra/Durban - The Regional Office for Africa of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has unveiled a special edition of Nature & Faune journal which addresses the central theme of the XIV World Forestry Congress (WFC) and has the title: “Forests and People: Investing in Africa’s Sustainable Future”.

The publication has been released in support of Africa’s hosting of the world’s largest and most important gathering of the forestry sector, taking place from 7-11 September 2015 in Durban, South Africa.

The XIV World Forestry Congress gives the countries around the globe, scientists, foresters, policymakers and practitioners in forestry and related fields a chance to showcase what they are doing to move all continents forward in the area of forestry.

Launching the publication in Durban, Mr. Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, pointed out that Africa’s forest sector has from time immemorial been strategic to the social, cultural and -cultural and economic well-being of the people, in term of agriculture, food energy and livelihoods in all parts of the continent.

“African forestry authorities should to take advantage of emerging initiatives to make proper legislation such as forest law enforcement, governance, and encourage innovative investments and financing mechanisms as well as invest in education and research to ensure sustainable management of Africa’s forests”, said Mr. Tijani.

Halt to degradation of Africa’s forests

The journal recounts the huge losses Africa’s forests have suffered over the last half a century due to a combination of factors, key among which are insecurity and political instability, obsolete forest laws, low investment in forestry, paucity of reliable data that could help development, weak governance and weak education and research on forest management. The challenges had militated against the sustainable management of Africa’s forests, thus inhibiting their potential to significantly contribute to sustainable development in the continent.

The journal further indicates that for continued relevance and sustainability of Africa’s forest sector, there is a need for sustained capacity development and strengthening, as well as good governance, knowledge generation and sharing at the sub-national, national, regional and continental levels.

Way forward

According to the journal, many African countries are still operating under forestry laws which are no more suitable for contemporary forest management. Fines stipulated for offences are rather too meagre to serve as deterrent to potential offenders. Hence,

Proper legislation and forest law enforcement in all African countries with the facilitation and assistance of other countries outside the region to curtail illegal logging, forest encroachment and poaching for trophies have become very rampant in many nation states of Africa.

To achieve success, the journal calls for clarity of vision, focus and goals ato indicate a continental sustainable forest management within the context of global forest and environmental processes. Also, the general overhauling, updating and domestication of forest policies and laws should be in concordance with the realities of current situations.

“Increase funding for forest education and research is urgently required by government and its partners, private sectors and communities”, the journal explains, adding that funding initiatives must come from the various stakeholders, including multinational corporations, governments, communities and development agencies.

The journal underlines the need for a closer partnering and collaboration with countries and organization outside Africa in monitoring and enforcement of international conventions and treaties to prevent illegal activities.

 Related to this is the need for African countries to build capacities for international negotiations. The African Forest Forum (AFF, a pan-African non-governmental organization), has been driving a new dynamic process for African forest renaissance.

According to Foday Bojang, FAO Senior Forestry Officer, Africa must take advantage of the opportunities that technology now offers in all aspects of forestry, ranging from land preparation, forest maintenance, harvesting, dendrology, remote sensing/geographical information system, to processing and utilization.

The next edition of Nature & Faune journal will mark the 2015 International Year of Soils. It will be unveiled in Burkina Faso to coincide with the Conference of the African Soil Society scheduled to take place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 2 to 10 December 2015.

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Contact:

Liliane Kambirigi | Communication Officer | FAO Regional Office for Africa | Email: [email protected]