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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Sida, FAO, ECOWAS join forces to protect West African forests - ITREALMS

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have joined forces to protect West Africa's forests and help safeguard the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.

The three institutions will carry out a five-year project aimed at strengthening sustainable forest and land management, addressing transboundary forest threats, maximising the livelihoods of forest-depended communities, and building climate resilience across 15 countries in West Africa.

The project - to be implemented by ECOWAS with financial support of over $8 million from Sida and technical support from FAO - will improve knowledge of forests dynamics, support legal reform, establish and share best community-based forest practices across the region. It will be key to the rolling out of the ECOWAS-led Convergence Plan for the Sustainable Management and Use of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa adopted in 2013 by ECOWAS to mobilize political, institutional, financial and technical support to address transboundary forest issues across ECOWAS's 15 member states.

"We are very pleased to be partners with ECOWAS and FAO on transboundary forest management in West Africa. It is a very important project for the people and governments of the region, but also for the global efforts to stop climate change and loss of biodiversity," said Ulla Andrén, Sida's Head of Regional Development Cooperation in Sub-Saharan Africa.

"It is because of strong partnerships that we have the Forest Convergence Plan," said Tiina Vahanen, FAO's Chief of Forestry Policy and Resources Division. "Now it's time to act on it. The project is a concrete step towards improved forest management in the region and will build on the momentum created in recent years to safeguard West Africa's forests."

"The ECOWAS Commission is happy to work jointly with Sida and FAO to implement this project. We appreciate Sida for the consistent support to ECOWAS over the years, particularly the Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources Department, to address issues of environment, climate change, water resources, and now forestry. Issues of forestry are issues of livelihood for people and communities. Building resilience to climate change impacts and sustainable transboundary forest ecosystems management are key to this project," said Johnson Boanuh, ECOWAS Commission's Environment Director.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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