Atewa Forest
Forest

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has initiated a regional project to support the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) in the implementation and monitoring of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100).

Dr Abebe Haile-Gabriel, Assistant Director General and Regional Representative FAO Regional Office for Africa, said: “We have also recently approved a technical cooperation programme devoted specially to support AFR100 Secretariat and AFR100 member countries in the implementation and monitoring of the initiative.”

Dr Abebe was speaking at the opening of a two-day 4th AFR100 Annual Partnership Meeting in Accra.
The AFR100 Annual Partnership Meeting brought together leadership from 28 partner countries, restoration champions, private sector representatives, and technical experts.

The meeting is a Pan-African initiative to restore 100 million hectares of land by 2030 and 28 African countries have so far pledged to restore 113 million hectares through the AFR100 Initiative and the Bonn Challenge, surpassing the commitment goal.

The AFR100 is a country-led platform that inspires communities, governments and businesses to restore land and helps enable conditions to scale up restoration implementation.

He said loss of the forests and associated plants as well as wildlife biodiversity was tantamount to the damage of the natural capital on which people depend for food, feed, water, shelter, building material, energy, health, and for the provision of ecosystem services.

“Today, food systems face the challenges of providing sufficient, affordable and nutritious food to a growing global population, while dealing with preserving a depleted natural resource base and with the impacts of climate change on production,” he added.

He said the FAO is developing several initiatives with key AFR100 members and partners to support national, regional and global forest landscape restoration efforts.

This, he said, is being done through the establishment of a dedicated forest and landscape restoration mechanism; the participation to the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration and the AFR100 Management Team.

“It was also done through the technical restoration, assessment and monitoring tools and guidelines, good practices and case studies and the implementation of field projects in over 20 countries contributing to the restoration agenda in Africa,” he added.

He said that Africa’s comparative advantage was its natural and human resources and youth and FAO would continue to do what it could to move the two United Nations Decades forward in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development and other partners, across sectors.

Dr Haile-Gabriel said FAO is committed to AFR100 and to the Pan-African agenda on ecosystem restoration for building resilience in Africa that was endorsed last year by African leaders.

Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said sustainable development has three aspects, that’s social, economic and environment, which needed to addressed together.

He said forest landscape restoration should be a great concern for all, adding that “the forest is our pharmacy that provides us medicines, supermarket, which gives us food items for consumption, and our lungs that gives us oxygen.”
“It is unacceptable to do anything that will destroy the environment because we are all part of the environment.

Whatever we do, be it monetary or not, we need to make sure it does not degrade the environment,” he said.
The Minister also said that it is important to build the human capital and ingenuity of young people to take active roles in the fight against environmental degradation.

He said the youth is the driving force of the country, and they need to be empowered, especially in technical and vocational skills to the technological advancement of the country.

Mr Oppong Sasu, Acting Executive Director of Forestry Services, Forestry Commission, said government through the Commission has implemented the National Forest Plantation programme to boost the country’s forest reserve.

He said in 2018, the Commission as part of the National Forest Plantation programme introduced the Youth in Afforestation programme.

He said the Youth in Afforestation programme enrolled 2,400 unemployed young people who are planting trees across the country.

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