This being the last newsletter in 2013, it provides a rare opportunity to reflect on our achievements and start thinking about how to embark on our work in 2014. Looking back, I’m proud of what we have achieved this year, especially with regard to building the capacity of various stakeholders in forestry and related issues. Moving forward, we expect to consolidate gains made and continue building a solid foundation for managing forests and tree resources sustainably in Africa as a means towards improving the lives of the people of Africa and their environment.
The recommendations emerging from the international negotiations on climate change  offer considerable hope  in our efforts to manage  our forest and tree resources.  For example,  after protracted negotiations, developing countries will now, in principle,  be rewarded for sustainable management and conservation of their forest resources. Under the Warsaw Framework for REDD+, adopted in November, 2013, developing countries will receive financial rewards for reduced greenhouse gas emissions through forest management and conservation efforts on a performance-based financing mechanisms that seek to compensate countries that prove they have reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The Framework sets out clear mechanisms for financially supporting all aspects of REDD+: from REDD-readiness activities, through training and capacity-building, to preparatory activities for full implementation of the initiative.
However, for this to materialize potential beneficiaries will be required to meet stringent monitoring, reporting and verification requirements  before they can be rewarded for their efforts. It is our belief at AFF  that African countries have the will and capacity to benefit from this  Framework. In this regard, AFF will continue to support African countries to fully exploit the benefits that come with this new development.
On a similar note, AFF, having realized the need for effective participation of African stakeholders in the carbon markets, embarked on a series of training workshops to equip extension workers and civil society organizations, who largely work with local communities, with knowledge and skills on relevant issues, ranging from rapid carbon stock appraisals to developing carbon projects and how to deal with carbon markets. The training sessions were conducted in Ethiopia, Niger and Zambia, where over 77 participants, (including PhD students undertaking research in related subjects) were involved. It is expected that those who received the training will work with various stakeholders in forestry, largely local communities, in developing and managing carbon projects in a cost effective way. There were also participants from forestry education and related training institutions who received this training. The expectation is that they will use the training modules to guide training on climate change as it relates to forests and trees in their institutions, and in a more coherent and efficient manner.
The commitment and enthusiasm shown by participants during the training was commendable; we expect to ride on this goodwill to build a strong foundation that guarantees effective participation of African stakeholders in carbon markets. This is only possible if we have a critical mass of stakeholders with relevant knowledge on forest carbon issues.