West Africa’s forests and wetlands are an important source of livelihoods, food and fuel for millions of people but are threatened by deforestation and forest degradation.
The five-year project will improve knowledge of forest dynamics and support implementation of priorities outlined in the ‘Convergence Plan for the Sustainable Management and Use of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa,’ including harmonizing legislative frameworks for forest policy.
9 April 2019: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency launched a project to strengthen sustainable forest and land management and address transboundary forest threats. The five-year project will also support climate resilience in West Africa’s forests.
According to FAO, the 72 million hectares of West Africa’s forests and wetlands are an important source of livelihoods, food and fuel for millions of people. They are also home to a range of vulnerable endemic animal and plant species but are threatened by deforestation and forest degradation as a result of agricultural expansion and illegal logging. These threats are often compounded by transboundary issues, and require strengthened forest governance and capacity at a regional level. In response to these threats, ECOWAS, with support from FAO and other partners, developed the 2013 ‘Convergence Plan for the Sustainable Management and Use of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa,’ to provide a strategic foundation for transformational change across the region. The Forest Convergence Plan aims to mobilize political, institutional, technical and financial support to address transboundary forest issues and ensure that national action plans address transboundary issues across ECOWAS’s 15 member States (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo).
The five-year project will improve knowledge of forest dynamics and support implementation of priorities outlined in the Forest Convergence Plan, including supporting legal reform and harmonizing legislative frameworks for forest policy. The project will also facilitate the sharing of community-based forest practices across the region, develop a regional knowledge portal to improve access to data and share information on best forest management practices and build capacity and knowledge on forest management practices.
The project is further anticipated to contribute to implementation of international and national commitments, including the SDGs and nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change [FAO Press Release]