The year 2013 was particularly productive for AFF insofar as implementation of the African Forests, People and Climate Change Project is concerned. The project was launched in 2011, and by the end of 2013 AFF had made good progress in implementing the project activities with regard to its three focal areas, namely, promoting policy and advocacy, enhancing knowledge on forestry and building the capacity of stakeholders.
On the policy and advocacy front, AFF has been able to assess and document:
the status of several regional initiatives related to climate change including climate change strategies and plans initiated by regional economic communities, i.e., SADC, COMESA, EAC, IGAD and ECOWAS;
status of NAMAs and NAPAs in West, East, Southern African and Sahel regions;
existing and trade potentials in forest products and services within and between regions as well as market distortions in different African regions;
how women, youth and vulnerable groups feature in the forest based climate change programmes and plans in different eco-regions;
the capacities (human, financial and physical) of public forest administrations in climate change in different eco-regions.
These activities were intended to provide a general overview of existing continental strategies and plans on climate change which could increase stakeholders understanding of how climate change issues related to forests and trees are being handled by different players on the continent. These include catalyzing improvements to those programmes and plans through information exchange in addition to informing policy advice on the same, as well as facilitating conceptualization and implementation of new projects in the forestry sector.
AFF also invested considerable resources in building the capacity of African stakeholders, specifically equipping them with skills and professional orientation to enable them perform their roles more effectively and efficiently. To kick of the process AFF, in 2012, assessed and documented training, research and capacity needs for educational and research institutions in climate change as it relates to forests and trees in both Anglophone and Francophone African countries. Based on the training needs, AFF developed training modules for professional, technical and informal groups, the latter being extension agents and NGOs that deal with local communities. In 2013, these modules were improved on and validated in four sub-regional workshops held in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana and Tanzania. Also in 2013, AFF organised training events, based on the modules, for extension agents, staff from civil society organisations and other stakeholders on rapid carbon stock appraisal, carbon markets and trade, as well as developing a carbon project in Ethiopia, Zambia and Niger.
AFF also initiated activities towards developing and testing an approach for monitoring and reporting compliance by various actors to international processes on forests and climate into African national plans and programmes. This exercise will provide guidance on how to monitor, document and report on implementation of various international environmental related agreements as well as subsequent decisions taken at national level.
Finally, AFF initiated a study to determine how climate change features in forestry curricula at professional level. This study will provide guidance to relevant African forestry training institutions on how climate change aspects can be incorporated in their curricula.
Information management and communication is an important component of any development initiative. For this reason, AFF developed a comprehensive communication strategy to ensure forestry stakeholders in Africa get the right information, in the right format and at the right time. In line with the strategy, AFF has also produced a number of policy briefs, fact sheets, working papers as well as brochures and flyers with relevant information on its activities. The website has also been upgraded and re-organised to make it more effective.
With respect to information generation, collation and sharing, AFF reviewed available information on climate vulnerability of biophysical and socio-economic systems in different African forest types, and also assessed REDD-plus activities being implemented in African countries.