Forests Africa: Opportunities for a Green Economy Conference

Event date: 17 September 2013 - 19 September 2013

Venue: U.N. Headquarters
City: Nairobi
Country: Kenya
Website: Forests Africa: Opportunities for a Green Economy Conference

Description: The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) will convene a three-day conference, Forests Africa: Opportunities for a Green Economy. The event will provide a platform for key forest players to openly discuss the challenges and opportunities that Africa’s forests present for the development and comparative advantage of the continent and its transition to a Green Economy. The conference will aim to take a step toward repositioning forests within Africa’s economic and political landscape.

The Conference will be held on the 17-19 September at the U.N. Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Key forest stakeholders, will be invited to share knowledge and experience on two key topics 1. how improved policies and fiscal incentives attract increased investment and stimulate green growth and 2. how landscape-level planning can be improved to achieve win-win scenarios across different land-use demands.

These two topics will reverberate throughout the discussions in the following four policy areas:

  1. Agriculture and rural livelihoods: Contributions of forest resources to agricultural performance and income; impacts of agriculture practices on landscapes and livelihoods in Africa, including expansion of large-scale commercial agriculture.
  2. Renewable energy:  the role and opportunities of forests and landscapes in delivering sustainable and independent energy for African stakeholders, by exploring hydropower, new generation biofuels and bioenergy value chains.  
  3. REDD+ as a catalyst for green economy transitions: how can REDD+ investments generate added value for rural economies? What are the enabling conditions needed for significant private sector engagement?
  4. Rights and governance: How can greater focus on rights (e.g. by attention to gender) and better governance strengthen the contribution of forests to improving development outcomes?

Conference objective
The objective of the conference is to establish the important role of forest resources for national well-being and economic progress in Sub-Saharan Africa, and to showcase related policy solutions. In particular, the conference will aim to demonstrate win-win situations where the forest sector can contribute to broader socio-economic goals rather than continuing a focus on sector-specific development models that may not take wider development objectives into account.

Conference Structure and Content
The conference is designed as a three-day event, divided into two parts. The first part, entitled ‘Experts and evidence workshop’, is a two-day session in which leading scientists and practitioners will present the latest research, experience and thinking on selected topics. This will then lead into a one-day policy conference in which key messages stemming from these workshop sessions will be presented for discussion to policymakers at the highest level from across Africa. This third day will be modelled on Forest Day.

A TEDx event will be organised on the second evening in order to reach out to the large global community that is linked through the TED.com website, with the aim of keeping a high level of momentum for Forests and Green Economy efforts.