The East Africa region needs a strategy on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) to effectively respond to socio-economic and environmental challenges and opportunities related to sustainable development of forestry and natural resources. This was the strong message that came from a meeting of forestry experts when they met in Moshi Tanzania, on January 13th – 14th, 2014. They also emphasized that the strategy will not only define challenges and opportunities confronting the region but also provide an implementation framework for the FLEGT process.

To guide the process of developing the strategy, FLEGT stakeholders and experts made a number of key presentations. AFF has been an active participant in the FLEGT process in the East African region and was represented at the meeting by the Executive Secretary, Prof. Godwin Kowero, who also made a presentation on ‘Development of an East Africa FLEGT approach’. Dr. Phosiso Sola of CIFOR emphasized the need for regional coordination especially with respect to trade issues. She also presented an overview of the SADC FLEGT Strategy which can help inform the development of the EAC strategy. The Chairman of the Forest Society of Kenya, Mr. Jamleck K. Ndambiri, highlighted the role of professional foresters in the FLEGT process and how their expertise can be tapped to enrich the strategy. Finally, Mr. Benson Owuor Ochieng, the Director of the Institute for Law & Environmental Governance (ILEG) based in Nairobi, Kenya, enlightened participants on key strategic issues that must be considered when developing the strategy.

Apart from the initiating the first steps in developing an East African FLEGT strategy, participants were also briefed on progress made on this process with EAC and  also participated in developing the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the development of a Regional FLEGT Strategy.

Prof. Kowero highlighted key issues that need to be taken into account for the strategy to be implemented successfully.

Participants resolved that LVBC/EAC Secretariat, partner states and relevant stakeholders should start working on the following issues immediately:

domesticate the Yaoundé (2003) Ministerial declaration and its subsequent adoption by the Council of Ministers of the East African Community,
develop the Regional East African Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (EAC-FLEGT) Strategy to guide implementation of the EAC-FLEGT process,
adopt and approve the strategy for implementation by the EAC Council of Ministers; and
mobilize resources for the implementation of the EAC-FLEGT Strategy.