By Elias Ntungwe Ngalame
African Forest Forum, a pan-African Non-Governmental Organisation, is leading the way in empowering stakeholders in the forestry sector to develop strategies for sustainable forest management and the fight against climate change.
The organisation says sustainable forest management in Africa is imperative to mitigate the effects of climate change. But the capacities of professional and technical stakeholders in African forestry sector have to be strengthened to permit for better forest management.
It is against this backdrop that a four day training workshop under the theme ‘ Modelling Climate and Applications to the Forestry Sector, is taking place from 9-13 April 2018 in Osun State University, Nigeria.
The workshop that brings over 70 participants from 17 African countries according to Godwin Kowero, the Executive Secretary of AFF, is part the organisation’s strategic plan being put in place across African countries to douse the effects of environmental degradation and climate change.
«We are committed to working with the different stakeholders to better drive efforts towards sustainable forest management, » Kowero said at the opening of the workshop Monday 9th April.
Climate change currently affecting the African environment he noted, remains a serious threat to human lives, hence the urgency for sustainable forest management in Africa. AFF was therefore committed to drive sustainable management and forest conservation pathways to better improve the socio-economic well-being of people in the African continent, he said.
The forum he revealed was working closely with the UN and ECOWAS to address the issue of deforestation, in Africa.
According AFF, Africa requires strengthening professionalism and work ethic in the forestry sector in order to better manage and use African forest and trees resources sustainably. And this also applies to how the continent handles climate change issues.
In this regard, the “Strengthening sustainable forest management in Africa project” recognizes the important role Professional Forestry Associations (PFAs) play in promoting forest governance, professionalism in the forest sector and ensuring a high level of competence, independence and integrity in the profession. These are all critical to sustainable forest management in Africa, a note from African Forestry Forum said.
The workshop training objectives is focused on facilitating mobilization of forestry and related stakeholders in ECOWAS countries to address issues more professionally and in a harmonized manner.
Participants accordingly are drilled on the basic concepts and principles of modelling climate; climate models used in different sectors (agriculture, terrestrial/vegetation systems, water resources, coastal systems, and soils), information requirements for climate models used in the different sectors, how to use the models to predict climate impacts in different sectors, and with emphasis on forestry, among others.
Moussa Leko, ECOWAS representative, also pointed out at the opening of the training session the commitment of his institution to supporting member-states in creating a platform for synergy among stakeholders, to sustain forest management globally.
Leko emphasised on the importance of forestry on food security and renewable energy , the life –wire of sustainable development.
He commended the AFF for the initiative that will go a long way to enhance forest resource management both at regional and international levels.
In another remark, Grace Titilaoyo the deputy governor of Osun state in Southwest Nigeria, commended the initiative of the AFF, aimed at improving livelihoods and sustainable management of forest resources on the African continent. While appreciating the choice of Osun state to host the workshop, she assured that the administration was committed to the issue of afforestation and tree planting, to fight the ravaging effects of climate change.
AFF accordingly is engaged in the development and implementation of a number of forestry and related projects and activities in close collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders. One area of concern has been the link between forests, climate change and the people who depend on forest resources in Africa.