The 2nd Inter-Parliamentary Hearing on ‘Forests for People’ has concluded with legislators and policy-makers in Africa adopting policy recommendations in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Around 35 legislators, policy-makers and experts from Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Germany committed themselves to raising public awareness and awareness among legislators and policy-makers about the significant role of forests and trees for livelihood, the environment and the future of life on Earth in Africa. They agreed to serve as Goodwill Ambassadors for Forests in Africa.
Hon. James Lembeli, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Land, Environment and Natural Resources, Parliament of Tanzania, stated: ‘Delegates have committed to regularly engage in sharing best practice in forest policy and law-making and to address effective implementation, measures to support local communities and youth and financing for forests. ‘
Dr. Gertrude Mongella, Founding President of the Pan-African Parliament and Honorary Councillor of the WFC said: ‘Forests are disappearing at unprecedented rates that threaten the existence of human beings. Women will be mostly affected. Legislators need to promote and support women as key actors in the protection and sustainable management of forests and trees.’
In line with the approach of the World Future Council, which promotes “best policy” solutions, the hearing allowed for a mutual exchange on forest policies, which have proved effective in certain African countries and could be replicated in others.
“We raised awareness to the fact that successful forest management is possible,” says Ms Ina Neuberger, Senior Project Manager for ‘Forests for People’ at the World Future Council. “We believe that sustainable forest management presents important opportunities to address the issues of equity and justice.”
In the International Year of Forests 2011, the World Future Council presented its Future Policy Award to exemplary policies that sustainably protect, enhance, and utilise forests. The National Forest Policy of Rwanda, initiated in 2004, won the gold award and the Gambian Community Forest Policy received the silver award. In 2012, the World Future Council conducted an Inter-Parliamentary Hearing in Kigali, Rwanda. Delegates supported the recommendations of the 1st Inter-Parliamentary Hearing on Forests for People, summarised in the Kigali Declaration 2012, available here.
Delegates requested both public and private funding in support of holding annual Inter-Parliamentary Hearings on ‘Forests for People’ to report on national progress.
The concluding recommendations and signatories of the Dar es Salaam Hearing are available here.