In this issue of our newsletter I wish to report on a few interesting developments that have taken place since our previous edition of the newsletter. We have a new and exciting product, have made our website more robust and user-friendly, are engaged in some interesting pioneer forestry training programme, and are involved in other collaborative engagements.
Training modules on forest based climate change adaptation and mitigation are now ready for use. The modules are a product of patient negotiations and input from a wide array of stakeholders including academic, research and civil society institutions, as well as from the private sector and youth. It is expected that the modules will help generate a critical mass of professional and technical experts on forest based climate change adaptation and mitigation to help cushion the continent against adverse effects associated with changing weather patterns.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is now an integral part of the development process. However, despite the opportunities that come with the proliferation of web-based information products and communication channels, challenges still abound with regard to disseminating the right information to the right audience at the right time using the right medium. Thus, for us to achieve our objectives as an organization, we must always strive to be at par with the latest paradigms in the realm of ICTs. Cognizant of this challenge, AFF has revamped its website to enhance online experience with its target audience. The new website is based on cutting edge technology and comes with special features that not only allow for professional packaging of information but also reaching out to our target audience more efficiently and effectively. It is my expectation that this tool will catalyze our processes and push us towards meeting our objectives by providing a platform for meaningful online interaction and sharing of information with our stakeholders.
In 2014, we not only expect to consolidate gains made in 2013 but also engage in new initiatives in line with our strategic objectives. In this regard we shall continue to engage with the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) process that is being developed in East Africa. Presently the focus is on developing an East African FLEGT strategy that will, among other things enable the region to effectively respond to socio-economic and environmental challenges and opportunities related to sustainable development of forestry and natural resources.
Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate the winners of the AFF-HAFL scholarships who have already reported to HAFL for their studies. We hope that these vibrant and young professionals will become champions of forestry in Africa. I wish them well in their academic and professional endeavours.
I also take this opportunity to congratulate Tolulope Daramola, one of our members, for winning the IUFRO student award for excellence in forest sciences.
Finally, I also wish to inform that I am one of the 14 members of the XIV World Forestry Congress Advisory Committee The XIV World Forest Congress will  be held in Durban, South Africa from 7 to 11 September 2015. The World Forestry Congress is the largest and most significant gathering of the world’s forest sector. The Congress is held every six years, and its objectives are to inform, orient and influence international action in forestry, elevate the sector’s role in global development,  and  project a new vision for the future. This Congress is particularly important because it will be held at a time the world will be entering a new development era with the post-2015 sustainable development goals.  I therefore encourage the participation of as many as possible African forestry stakeholders in this Congress.