Message from the Executive Secretary
I am pleased to share with you our AFF e-newsletter. Since our last newsletter, there have been several new and exciting stories to share with the African forestry community.
The adoption of the first-ever UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 (UNSPF) and related four-year work programme by the UN General Assembly on 27 April 2017 was a historic move to provide a global framework for action at all levels to sustainably manage all types of forests and trees outside forests and contain deforestation and degradation. The signing of the Paris Climate Agreement by 195 countries raised the profile of forests in ways unparalleled. The 2030 Agenda, complemented by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, contains a goal and various targets on forests to guide investments and a review process that will allow all partners to assess the impact of their actions.
All these agendas have established a good framework for international cooperation and action on forests at all levels that is crucial for enhancing sustainable forest management (SFM) practices. While collaborative partnerships are the way forward for lasting progress on SFM, information exchange on the strengths of and lessons learned by countries on the continent can accelerate replication of results and practices to benefit more people and also secure the protection of our environment.
AFF has accumulated a reasonable body of knowledge and experience in forestry and related issues. In the last few months AFF has facilitated knowledge exchange and collaboration among countries on various aspects related to forests and trees on the continent. At the regional level, we have partnered with various institutions and forestry experts to share findings from studies on priority issues affecting the forestry sector. These are related to climate change in forestry, forestry in green economy, provision of quality tree germplasm on the continent, state of forest pests and diseases in Africa, state of forest certification in Africa, and public private partnerships in the sector. For the most part, these exchanges have been peer-to-peer, practical and cost-effective.
Beyond the African region, AFF has collaborated with other stakeholders, and more specifically in providing back up to African delegates in the process that culminated in development and adoption of the  UN Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 (UNSPF) and related four-year work programme.  It is very gratifying that Africa participated very actively in this process and owns the outputs of the process.  AFF continues to strengthen the capacity of individuals and institutions and is currently  supporting 22 postgraduate students who are  undertaking their research work within the framework of the work implemented by the institution, in addition to another four students on a masters’ degree programme implemented jointly between AFF and Bern University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland.
AFF successfully organized the Second Meeting of the Members Forum that was held electronically from 27 February-3 March 2017. I wish to congratulate the newly elected Chair, Prof. Demel Teketay and Vice Chair, Mr. Ibro Adamou of the Members’ Forum to office for the next five years. I also take this opportunity to thank Prof. Fredrick Owino and Dr. Abdelazim Mirghan Ibrahim, now our Past Chair and Vice Chair respectively. We are indebted to them for their contributions to the growth of the Members’ Forum.
I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter.
Prof. Godwin Kowero
Executive Secretary, AFF