UNEP, CIFOR and UN-REDD to Host “Forests Africa: Opportunities for a Green Economy” Conference
The conference will aim to take steps toward repositioning forests within Africa’s economic and political landscape.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), in collaboration with the UN-REDD Programme, will convene a three-day conference entitled Forests Africa: Opportunities for a Green Economy, in Nairobi from 17-19 September 2013. The conference will increase awareness of the challenges and opportunities for forests to contribute to green economies at the local, national and regional levels through sustainable management, REDD+, trade of forest products and services, and inclusive processes. It will also identify the range of enabling policies required. Delivering on such a goal will require coordinated collaboration among a broad range of policy and non-state stakeholders – especially those from outside the forestry sector. Therefore, the three-day conference will also address the need for a platform for key players from government, the private sector, civil society, media, as well as the research and development sectors, to openly discuss the challenges and opportunities that Africa’s forests present for the development and comparative advantage of the continent and its transition to a green economy.
In transitioning to a green economy, Africa will require economic growth pathways that are diversified, generate greater employment, produce higher outputs with lower inputs, reduce environmental risks and enhance competitiveness for African economies. Countries in Africa have undergone rapid economic development in recent years. While there has been progress in addressing ecological degradation, this development has often been made by liquidating natural capital, especially forests and woodlands. Some governments have taken steps to recognize the natural capital of forests and improve their forest management, but there are significant untapped opportunities for the sustainable use and management of forests and trees to contribute to rural development, poverty alleviation, sustainable supplies of energy and water, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the growth of national economies. One of the leading challenges is that the policymakers responsible for many of these sectors are unaware of the importance of forests and trees in realizing these goals, and lack the knowledge base for creating win-win outcomes between different land-uses and investments at a landscape level.
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