A series of workshops were implemented in Kenya, Burkina Faso and Tanzania and aimed at strengthening the capacities of participants on forest carbon stock assessment and through them, facilitate communities to establish basic data in negotiating with carbon markets in a cost-effective and time efficient manner. These workshops also equipped participants with a better understanding of the markets for carbon, policies and other frameworks guiding carbon trade. AFF is conducting these workshops under the auspices of its project entitled “African forests, people and climate change” whose goal is to “create capacities of stakeholders to strengthen the role of Africa’s forests and trees to adapt to climate change and mitigate its adverse effects in various landscapes in ways that will enhance livelihoods, sustain biodiversity, and improve the quality of the environment”.
Workshop for Tanzania
Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in conjunction with AFF, conducted the training workshop for Tanzanian nationals at the SUA Forestry Training Centre in Arusha from 24 – 28, March 2014. The Climate Change Impact, Adaptation and Mitigation (CCIAM) programme in Tanzania is a five year project which was launched in 2009. Participating institutions in CCIAM are SUA, the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Ardhi University (ARU) and the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA). CCIAM funded the workshop at the request of other Tanzanian institutions.
Thirty four participants belonging to research, education and extension services and various socio-economic sectors including agriculture, forestry, livestock, land planning attended the workshop. They appreciated the workshop content and presentations. They felt that it was necessary for AFF to hold similar courses addressing emerging issues like climate change. AFF was further requested to provide leadership on this type of capacity building trainings in collaboration with national institutions. Participants were informed of the benefits that accrue to AFF members. Prof Godwin Kowero, the AFF Executive Secretary and Prof Mahamane Larwanou represented AFF.
Workshop for Sudan
In Sudan, AFF conducted a workshop aimed at strengthening the capacities of participants on rapid appraisal of forest carbon stock and to help/support communities to establish basic data needed in negotiating with carbon markets in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner. It was held in Khartoum from 8 – 12, June 2014. Thirty four participants who were drawn from forest National Corporation, forestry research institutions, universities, ministry of agriculture, ministry of environment, non-governmental organizations and petroleum sector attended, 74% of the participants were female. The workshop equipped participants with adequate skills that would enable them explain the concepts of carbon pools, biomass, carbon stock and carbon fluxes. The acquired skills would also enable them apply appropriate protocols and methods for estimating carbon stocks from different carbon pools and implement measurement, reporting and verification systems for carbon accounting.

His Excellence Dr Hassan Abdelgadir- Hilal, the Sudanese Minister for Environment, Forestry and Physical Development delivered the opening speech where he expressed his gratitude to AFF for holding the training workshop in Sudan. He reiterated the Government of Sudan’s commitment to conserve forest resources for sustainable development and improving peoples’ livelihoods. He acknowledged the seriousness of climate change in affecting adversely many sectors of the economy and welcomed AFF’s efforts to build African capacity in response and cope with negative impacts of climate change.
Dr Abdelazim Mirghani Ibrahim, the General Manager of the Forest National Corporation, appreciated AFF for conducting the first ever training workshop on Rapid Carbon Stock Appraisal (RaCSA), project idea note (PIN) and project design document (PDD) in Sudan. He said it was a great honour to the people of Sudan. The workshop was important in building capacity to those engaged in the management of forestry and other allied natural resources and further, provided the government of Sudan a continuous linkage with AFF. AFF, through the workshop, was providing forum for the African scientists to share research findings and other experiences on forestry and climate change. AFF remains, observed Dr Ibrahim, the only Pan African Institution that consolidates the common African position in forestry in the continent and debates the same well at the global level.
Field visit to demonstrate the use of Suunto for estimating tree height in a plantation forest for carbon trade
The Executive Secretary AFF, Prof Godwin Kowero thanked the Government of Sudan for hosting the workshop and appreciated the time His Excellence, Dr Hassan Abdelgadir- Hilal spared to grace the opening ceremony. Prof Kowero extended his vote of thanks to Dr Abdelazim Mirghani Ibrahim for the logistical support that made the workshop a reality. Dr Ibrahim had made valuable contribution to the affairs of AFF during his tenure as a member of the governing council of AFF, observed Prof Kowero.
At the end of the workshop, participants felt that they needed more sessions on capacity building on carbon stock.
Workshop for Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe professionals from forest National Corporation, forestry research institutions, universities, ministry of agriculture, ministry of environment, non-governmental organizations and petroleum sector attended a training workshop on strengthening their capacities on rapid appraisal of forest carbon stock. The workshop further aimed at equipping them with skills to help/support communities to establish basic data needed in negotiating with carbon markets in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner.
The workshop was organized by AFF in Harare from 30 June 2014 to 4 July 2014. Thirty participants who included 8 females attended. They are expected to spearhead the implementation of forest carbon project in their respective areas of jurisdiction as well as becoming trainers to support forestry carbon project in Zimbabwe.
The workshop was opened by Honourable Mr. Irvin D. Kunene, Director, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. The General Manager, Forest Commission of Zimbabwe, Mr Darlington Duwa, and Prof Godwin Kowero, the Executive Secretary, AFF gave remarks in the opening ceremony.
It emerged from the workshop that local institutions should be encouraged to include carbon stock appraisal in their academic courses and identification of award winning strategies for PIN development in order to guarantee financing. Participants requested to be linked to ongoing forest carbon projects in Zimbabwe such as the Kariba REDD+ project.
Workshop for Kenya
A training workshop for Kenyan professionals was held from 1 – 5 September 2014 at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) Drylands Eco-region Research Programme, in Kitui, Kenya. The Principal Secretary, Ministry of Environment Water and Natural Resources of the Government of Kenya observed, in a speech read on his behalf during the opening ceremony by the Conservation Secretary, Mr Gideon Gathaara, that climate change has been recognized as a major threat to the war against poverty in many countries in Africa. It has adversely impacted on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Also present at the opening ceremony were Dr Ben Chikamai, Director, KEFRI and the Executive Secretary, African Forest Forum (AFF) Prof Godwin Kowero.
In his address, Prof Kowero said that AFF has put in place a number of Pan-African initiatives related to forests and trees. He noted that the effects of climate change on forest resources and their exploitation is one such issue. He emphasized the urgent need to move swiftly on this issue in order to contain the increasing challenges brought about by climate change. Prof Kowero noted that one approach in this direction is building capacity in Africa to address these issues. He informed the participants that similar capacity building sessions were planned for implementation in other African states in 2015.
While presenting the KEFRI’s mandate, scope and vision, Dr Chikamai welcomed participants and highlighted KEFRI’s partnerships with regional and international organizations working on climate change and its effect to forestry. He said “KEFRI has developed a climate change strategy based on relevant government blue prints such as the National Climate Change Response Strategy (NCCR), vision 2030 and national plans, among others, to address research-based issues on impact of climate change to forestry and response of forestry to climate change,” He further cited KEFRI’s Dryland Eco-region Research Programme as a good example where the institute is undertaking activities to help people adapt to climate change.
The workshop was jointly sponsored by AFF, KEFRI and the Kenya Forest Service (KFS). It was attended by fifty five (55) professionals from Government Ministries and parastatals, institutions of higher learning, non-governmental organizations and community based organizations. AFF was represented by Prof Mahamane Larwanou, Dr Vincent Oeba and Ms. Caroline Kajuju.
Workshop participants observed that such courses are crucial to build African capability in developing and negotiating carbon projects and more such courses be offered in the future. They also made several other observations and recommendations for future consideration by AFF in its training programmes.
Workshop for Burkina Faso
The African Forest Forum (AFF), in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (Ministère De environment et du Développement Durable) of the Government of Burkina Faso, through the Direction Générale des Forêts et Faune du Burkina Faso, organized a training workshop in Koudougou from 8 – 12 September 2014 for Burkina Faso nationals.
Thirty-eight participants and 3 AFF staff – Prof Mahamane Larwanou, Dr Vincent Oeba and Ms Barbara Owuor – participated. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Burkina Faso, Mr Urbain Belemsobgo, presided over the opening ceremony.
At the end of the workshop, participants made recommendations both for AFF and African governments. AFF was tasked with sensitizing African governments on the opportunities presented by forests so that governments can benefit from these resources in a sustainable manner and to continue capacity building activities of stakeholders in Africa. African governments were also urged to set-up appropriate frameworks for developing and implementing Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) projects; to carry out national forest inventories periodically in order to establish reliable databases on their forest resources; and to develop and implement a continuous training programme for various stakeholders at different levels.