FAO Regional Office for Africa

Africa Day at XIV World Forestry Congress

Addressing Climate Change through sustainable forest management

Mr. Bukar Tijani, Assistant Director-General/Regional Representative for Africa addressing the audience at the 'Africa Day' event. Photo credit: ©FAO/Giuseppe Carotenuto

8 September, 2015, Durban - The African Union Commission and partners including the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency and FAO have organised an “Africa Day”, in Durban, one of the side-events of a first ever Africa-hosted XIV World Forestry Congress (5-11 September, 2015). The Africa Day is specially designed to stimulate and facilitate sharing and learning around Africa’s experiences and lessons in the light of its aspirations, development goals and targets.

The Africa Day programme provided an exclusive platform for governments, policy-makers, experts, private sector and practitioners to come together to share and debate ideas and exchange information in a bid to strengthen the common resolve and create partnerships for smart investments in African forests, 624 million hectares, which is more than 20 percent of the continent’s land area. Rich in biodiversity, the continent’s tropical forests are estimated to harbour 12,000 plant species, including 7500 or more that are endemic.

Additional to the day-long “Africa Day session”, African governments and partners have organised a series of side events and poster exhibitions  under the theme, Addressing climate change through sustainable forest management. Although climate change projections for Africa are highly variable, the increase in temperature on the continent is likely to be higher than the average increase globally. There is a significant risk that the adaptive capacity of many African forest ecosystems will be compromised.

“For this event, a purpose-built African Pavilion has been mounted which will provide space for participants to showcase projects and developments in African forestry, especially in the context of fostering people-centred development priorities and objectives as articulated in Africa’s Agenda 2063.

The Congress and Congress theme is opportune in enabling Africa to take stock of its experiences, knowledge base and initiatives fostering sustainable forestry management as an integral sustainable development imperative. Delegates can look forward to learning about African experiences, successes and challenges alike, regarding the forestry ecosystem in the continent“, stated Martin Bwalya, Head, Program Development, Program Implementation and Coordination Directorate at NEPAD Agency.

Hosting the congress on the continent is quite significant as Africa mirrors many of the most important global challenges and opportunities for forest. It also presents an opportunity to reflect deeply on the future of Africa’s forest and help to galvanize Governments’ response to the call in the Malabo Declaration for a sustainable forest management program framework. Additionally, this is an occasion to consolidate responses and to improve coherence between forest uses and sustainability and this comes as a forerunner to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals summit in New York this September, COP 21 of in Paris in December when, world leaders meet to agree on a comprehensive climate change agreement.

On behalf of the FAO Director-General, Mr Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa declared: “The African region needs to move forward on a path of sustainable growth that ensures agriculture, food security and nutrition, poverty eradication, provision of energy (wood) and livelihoods, as well as build resilience to climate change”.

“Sustainable management of forest has an important contributory role here. Forests help to decrease vulnerability to climate change, which could have serious negative implications on communities and economies. To enhance forestry’s role in this regard, more effective incentives, decent employment for youth and woman, good governance and positive returns on investment are needed”, he concluded.


FAO Flickr: XIV World Forestry Congress, - 7-11 September 2015, Durban, South Africa

For more information contact:

Teko Nhlapo | TerrAfrica Communication & Advocacy Officer | Mob: +27 83 596 8752 | Email:[email protected]
El Mejri Ep Scheikh Habiba | African Union | Mob: +251 91 120 1652 | Email:[email protected]
Liliane Kambirigi - FAO Regional Office for Africa | Email: [email protected]
Edward Ogolla – FAO Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa | Email: [email protected]