The African Forest Forum (AFF) in conjunction with Sokoine University and the University of Ouagadougou conducted two workshops to build the capacity of training, education,and research institutions on key aspects of climate change, especially as it relates to forestry.
The two training workshops focused on the science and practice of climate change in relation to forests; andthey were held in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Dar es Salam (Tanzania) from 19-21 and 28-30 August, 2013, respectively.
The overall objective of both workshops was to build the capacity of participants with regard to key elements for professional and technical training on climate change in forestry. Specifically, the workshops intended to:
Familiarize participants with training and research needs in African forestry as related to climate change identified during an AFF organized workshop in Nairobi in November 2012;
Familiarize participants with AFF training modules developed during the workshop in Nairobi in November 2012 for professional and technical level;
Strengthen the understanding of participants on the role of forests in adaptation and mitigation of climate change effects;
Strengthen the understanding of participants on the way carbon is assessed and traded;
Enable the participants to further design, develop and eventually implement the contents of training modules on forests and climate change in their home institutions.
The first workshop in Ouagadougouattracted 43 participants from 19 Francophone African countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroun, Congo, Cote dIvoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinée Bissau, Guinée Conakry, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, République Centrafricaine, République Démocratique du Congo, Sénégal, Tchad and Togo. Resource people from AFF Secretariat in Kenya were there as well.
The workshop was facilitated by two resource persons supported by staff from AFF Secretariat. In addition, resource persons made presentations on some key issues in the sub-region as well as on specific case studies.
Participants actively participated in reviewing the contents of the modules, identified gaps and made suggestions on strategies for their implementation. Participants made the following recommendations:
AFF should technically support African countries in seizing the opportunities offered in REDD+ programs;
AFF should establish a platform for more collaboration between universities and research centers;
Teaching institutions should involve meteorological services in teaching of some of the modules;
The need for conducting long term ecological studies for reliable data for models development;
The finalized modules should be made available to all participants for their teaching.
The second workshop was held in Dar es Salam, Tanzania, and attracted 38 participants; mainly fromuniversities, training and research institutions; a few civil society organizations and extension services were also represented. The participants came from 18 African countries, namely: Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
The workshop was facilitated by a team of three resource persons supported by staff from AFF Secretariat.
Participants reviewed the contents of the modules by editing and making useful inputs for their improvement. Suggestions on strategies for the implementation of these modules have been made. They made the following recommendations:
Scientists should find proactive ways of engaging policy makers to provide them with (country-specific) up-to-date data and information on climate change issues;
There should be a repository where African countries can share information and best practices on climate change issues;
Communities should be supported to turn challenges into opportunities for sustainable livelihoods;
Climate change desks in each country should have a forest information system;
There should be an office that deals with day to day national GHG inventory activities;
A certain percentage of GDP should be channeled for climate change adaptation and mitigation;
There is a need to strengthen research and training institutions to generate data on climate change to enrich training in climate change adaptation and mitigation;
The use of trans- and multi-disciplinary approaches to development of curriculum and research proposals;
There is the need to mainstream climate change issues in existing curricula;
There should be regular skills updating;
There is the need to devise a strategy to implement the modules;
AFF could assist with training workshops or to identify the available professionals for different modules to train others;
AFF as well as training and research institutions should facilitate scholarships, fellowships and staff mobility;
There is a need for proper direction, coordination and monitoring of climate change interventions at local, regional and national levels;
There is need to be systematic to in dealing with climate change;
Need for establishment of an insurance system against investment losses.
AFF will take up the recommendations made by participants to these workshops in planning its work in future.