The African Forestry and Wildlife Commission of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) meets in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania, this week to discuss how sustainable management of the region’s forests and wildlife can boost food security and improve resilience to climate change for improved livelihoods.
The 24th Session of the Commission, to be held from 30 October to 3 November, brings together government officials and representatives of international organizations, civil society and the private sector to coordinate action on Africa’s forests amid increasing pressure from a fast-growing and increasingly urban global population, as well as rising global temperatures.
The Session will address key issues including finance for sustainable forest and wildlife management, restoration for resilience to climate change, and enhancing action against deforestation and illicit exploitation and trade of forest wildlife products.
Africa had the largest annual rate of net forest loss in 2010–2020, losing 3.9 million hectares of forest per year, while less than 25 percent of African forests have management plans, according to FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020. Wood fuel meanwhile accounts for more than 40 percent of the region’s total primary energy supply.
“Africa’s forests are under enormous pressure from deforestation and other unsustainable practices, yet they also hold vast potential for combating climate change, addressing hunger and building livelihoods for local communities,” said Edward Kilawe, FAO Forestry Officer and the Commission’s Secretary.
“Concrete efforts are needed to fulfil this potential through increased efficiency, sustainable forest management, restoration, reforestation and afforestation on degraded lands,” he said.
Wildfires and beekeeping on the agenda
With wildfires taking a growing toll on communities, economies and the environment, the Session will also discuss integrated fire management, an approach recommended by FAO to significantly reduce the risk and impact of wildfires.
Sustainable wildlife management will be another key focus of the Session, including an overview of the achievements of the Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme towards its goal of improving the conservation of wildlife and ecosystems, and the livelihoods and food security of the populations that depend on these resources.
There will also be dialogues between heads of forestry and wildlife on forest policy and governance and the wildlife trade.
Delegates will discuss ways to strengthen advocacy for forests and wildlife and promote sustainable use and management of these resources through education programmes and the promotion of related professions. They will also discuss areas for development such as beekeeping.
The hybrid meeting takes place simultaneously with the Eighth African Forestry and Wildlife Week (AFWW8).
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.