Nairobi, 11 November 2016 – In the week of 26 September 2016, the African Forest Forum (AFF) organised a knowledge sharing workshop together with the University of Lomé, to showcase and disseminate the outcomes of activities obtained during the last two years of work.
While forest compatible development is critical from a global perspective, current afforestation, reforestation, and agroforestry activities in many African countries are frequently characterised by the use of poor quality germplasm, resulting in low productivity, susceptibility to pests and diseases, and possibly, low resilience to climate change. With a forest area of c. 675 million ha, which equals c. 23% of the land area of the continent, access to timely and relevant information is crucial for decision making.
The event, “A regional workshop on sharing of knowledge and experiences to strengthen collaboration among stakeholders in African forestry” addressed the information gap in needed in areas such as: climate change, green economy, provision of quality tree germplasm, forest and tree pests and diseases, forest governance, forest certification and public private partnerships (PPP) investments in the sector. The workshop adopted a participatory approach, which allowed the exchange of information and experience among the 71 participants and media practitioners from across Africa.
“We intend to see how we can move forward with some of the issues that came from this work and that is why we have assembled people from different sectors, not only forestry but even the media to highlight the issues we think are of crucial relevance to the continent,” said, Prof. Godwin Kowero, Executive Secretary of AFF. He further echoed calls made for deeper knowledge and understanding of the potential of forest resources on the continent, emphasizing, “there is urgent need to facilitate the development of an organized private sector in forestry for an all-inclusive forest compatible sustainable livelihood development in Africa”.
Sharing AFF’s current thinking about the importance of bridging the information gap on priority issues in forestry, Dr. Aster Gebrekirstos, a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) drew attention to the positive correlation between the use of forest resources and economic development. Aster who leads the Dendrochronology Laboratory in ICRAF said to address the gaps on multipurpose trees, there is need to raise awareness on untapped opportunities that can better contribute to the local needs of forest communities in Africa.
This forward-looking gathering aimed to prompt innovative thinking on sustainable forest management within a future characterised by ongoing global challenges that not only aims to curb deforestation but also secure decisions and activities based on scientific research. Most of the issues discussed during the regional workshop were backed up by paper presentations and a new AFF publication, Forest certification in Africa: achievements, challenges and opportunities launched before the event.