‘Policies need to explore forest value beyond the wood’ -IUFRO-FORNESSA congress media briefing
As part of publicity activities to mark the first regional congress of International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and the Forestry Research Network of Sub-Saharan Africa (FORNESSA), a media briefing organized in collaboration with the Kenya's Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Kenya Forest Service, African Forest Forum and ICRAF was held on June 20 2012.
Panel experts at the briefing expounded on the conference theme Forests and trees: serving the people of Africa and the world.
“Forests play a big role in combating climate change and biodiversity challenges. They also contribute to 10% of GDP in most African countries,” said Dr. Peter Minang, Global Coordinator of ASB Partnership and Senior Scientist at ICRAF. He noted however that the rate at which forests are being depleted in the continent is alarmingly high and an effective way to stop this is through a multi-sectoral approach. “Forests do not exist in isolation, so we look at their relationship with agriculture, energy, and other sectors. For example, you cannot deal with deforestation while overlooking agriculture, which accounts for 80% of deforestation in Africa,” Peter explained.
Prof August Temu, Deputy Director- Partnerships at ICRAF told the briefing that Africa is yet to realize full potential of the forest cover in the region and a policy shift is needed for this to happen. “If African countries do not move fast to capturing the genetic wealth in our fruits, medicines and other products hidden in the trees, others will do it for us,” he said, adding that only a small fraction of the potential wealth in the vast Congo basin has been realized compared to that captured in much smaller forest cover areas in some countries in the developed world.
The IUFRO-FORNESSA regional congress will be held in Nairobi Kenya on June 26-29 2012 at the World Agroforestry (ICRAF) campus.
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