The African Forest Forum (AFF) participated in a ‘Scoping Meeting: Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Food Security’ held on 14-15 November 2013 in Rome, Italy. AFF was represented by the Executive Secretary, Prof. Godwin Kowero.
Global Forest Expert Panels (GFEP) are an initiative of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and they provide objective and independent scientific assessments of existing information on key and emerging issues pertinent to forests with the aim to support more informed decision-making at the global level.
Three such assessments have been produced and published since 2009. The initiative of the GFEP targeting Forests and Food Security is led and coordinated by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). The objectives for this task are to:

Clarify the different dimensions and the role that forests play in food security;
Analyze the social, economic, and environmental synergies and trade-offs related to forest conservation and/or management, and food security; and
Identify policy options and governance frameworks required for achieving desired outcomes.

During the meeting, the panel worked on how to operationalize its objectives and came to the conclusion that this task can be accomplished by:

Unpacking the different roles of forests in food security;
Reviewing the diversity of forest management systems (including traditional and indigenous systems) and their impact on food security;
Reviewing land-related policies and governance frameworks and their intersection with markets in food and forest products;
Evaluating social stressors: Insecurity, inequalities, instability, conflict and migration;
Looking at the landscape dimension: Reconciling forest conservation and food security.

The work will be based on analyzing existing information and synthesizing scientific outcomes from existing initiatives, including those by CPF Members. The assessment report will provide policy-makers, investors and donors with a stronger scientific basis for decisions of relevance to food security and forests.