AU holds Sustainable Forest Management Workshop - Photo from AU Directorate of Information and Communication
CAIRO - 16 July 2019: The African Union Commission in collaboration with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), held a Validation Workshop for the AU Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Framework to finalise it for submission for approval by the Ministerial Specialised Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment, scheduled to hold in October 2019.
The framework established in 2015 has been characterized by broad based stakeholder engagement; an extensive desk review, sample visits to Member States, surveys and feedback.
Despite their prominent contribution to the development of Africa and the realization of the AU’s Africa Agenda 2063, as well as the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, forest resources are threatened and are under siege due to a number of factors including illegal exploitation and trade, conflicting policies at national and sub-regional levels, competing land uses, climate change and poverty.
In an effort to address these challenges, the Heads of State and Government of the African Union adopted – at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in June 2014 – the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods. The Declaration directed the AUC, in collaboration with African ministers responsible for forestry and energy, to put in place the Sustainable Forest Management Programme (SFMP) to assist AU member states and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to sustainably manage and develop their forest sectors for socio-economic development and environmental protection.
The SFM Framework was validated at the July 9-10, 2019, workshop which, was opened by Mr. Harsen Nyambe, the African Union Commission Head of Division for Environment, Climate Change, Water and Land Management.
He stressed the importance of the African Union Sustainable Forest Management Framework, as important for providing strategic guidance to the sector, serving as a basis for addressing forestry related challenges on the continent including illegal exploitation and trade of forest resources, and serving as a basis for partnerships.
Mr. Nyambe further called upon the delegates to ensure that the framework was aligned to Africa’s development blueprint, the AU’s Agenda 2063, which calls for all forests to be fully conserved and sustainably used by 2063.
Delivering a statement on behalf of the FAO, Ms. Nora Berrahmouni, Senior Forestry Officer at the FAO Sub-Regional Office for Africa, emphasized FAO’s commitment to continue supporting the development of the SFM framework and forestry development in Africa.
Ms. Berrahmouni also expressed gratitude for the collaboration between the FAO and the African Union Commission, which culminated into developing the African Union Sustainable Forest Management framework.
Agenda 2063 outlines “The Africa we Want,” which is “integrated, prosperous and peaceful.” To achieve this strategic vision, Africa needs to harness domestic natural resources and citizens in order to take full charge of the continent’s destiny. Forest resources are a critical factor for the welfare of Africa and for financing the development of the continent. Trees and non-timber forest resources have significant economic and ecosystem services including contribution to food security, conservation of genetic resources, provision of habitat for biodiversity and reduction of emissions that cause global warming.
The workshop was attended by 43 African Union member states, most of which were Directors responsible for Forestry and other Senior Forestry experts, 5 Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), and partner organizations.