10 Years dedication to Forests and People in Southern Africa

21 Sept. 04 — One of Zimbabwe’s key forestry events for 2004 will be held on September 23 when the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) celebrates 10 years of forestry research in support of the forests, woodlands and people of Southern Africa.

CIFOR’s research in Zimbabwe and other southern African countries is conducted in partnership with forestry departments, government ministries, community groups, international donor agencies, industry and academic institutions. Together these partners are committed to reducing poverty through sustainable forest management.

The Anniversary event will include a key note speech by Mrs. Margaret Sangarwe, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Representatives and heads of relevant institutions and missions in Zimbabwe will participate in the event.

To celebrate this important day CIFOR will conduct a workshop on key forest issues facing Zimbabwe and the region, followed by lunch and the address by the Permanent Secretary at CIFOR’s office.

The workshop will include representatives from the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission, University of Zimbabwe, forest user groups from Gokwe District, AREX, SAFIRE, Phytotrade, WWF, IUCN, as well as from regional and international forestry institutions.

Based on these deliberation CIFOR will consult on September 24 with key stakeholders on the important directions in forestry research in the next decade.

Journalists are invited to attend the workshop on September 23 followed by and the lunch and the key anniversary address at CIFOR’s office. Transport will be available from St. Lucia park, Marlborough to CIFOR’s office.

Photo and interview opportunities with CIFOR staff and guests will be available.

Further information, contact:

  • Dr. Godwin Kowero, CIFOR Regional Coordinator
    Telephone: / 369656 / 301028 / 369595
    Cellular: +263 11 608 489
  • Godwin Kowero, g.kowero@cgiar.org

AGENDA of 0th Anniversary Workshop
St. Lucia Park, September 23, 2004 at 8:15 am

People and Forests in Africa: In search of the Forest Research Agenda for the Next Ten Years

Session Chair: Prof. Sara Feresu, Director Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Zimbabwe

08:30 – 08:45 Welcome and Introductions
08:45 – 09:15 Keynote address by Dr. Yemi Katerere, Assistant Director General CIFOR
09:15 – 09:40 Address by Partner Institution Dr. Enos Shumba IUCN, former General Manager of the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission
09:40 – 10:00 Technical Speech by Prof. Godwin Kowero Regional Coordinator, CIFOR
10:00 – 10:15 Morning Tea
10:15 – 11:15 Stakeholder Visioning on the next Ten years
Chair: Dr. Ravi Prabhu, Senior Scientist, CIFOR
13:15 – 14:30 Lunch at the CIFOR regional office
Session chair: Dr. Nontokozo Nemarundwe Research Fellow, CIFOR
13:30 – 14:00 Key anniversary address by Mrs. Margaret Sangarwe
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism
14:00-14:15 Closing speech Dr. Yemi Katerere

MEDIA BACKGROUNDER

Potential Media Stories: CIFOR is very keen to help journalists interested in producing forest-related stories.

CIFOR’s research in Zimbabwe covers a range of newsworthy issues:

Is decentralization helping local people better mange their forests?

District councils now have greater authority when it comes to managing natural resources .But this has not always meant greater participation by local people, because councils have often done little more than re-implement replicate the pre-existing system. "This command-and-control type of management defeated the purpose of decentralization by preventing communities from influencing decisions directly affecting their lives," says CIFOR’s Bruce Campbell, Director of CIFOR’s Forests and Livelihoods Program and former Professor at the University of Zimbabwe. Working with the University of Zimbabwe and the UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology, CIFOR brought representatives from the community, government, farmers and women to consider new ways of managing natural resources. The process was such a success the district council announced natural resource governance would become more locally based. It even initiated training courses for village-level officials so that a new system could be implemented. By enhancing community participation in local government, the decentralizing forest management can be greatly improved.

How important are woodcarving and Non-timber Forest Products in reducing poverty?

The significance of woodcarving to local economies is evidenced in the increase in woodcarving markets from five to over 200 in the past 15 years. But like the trade in many non-timber products, woodcarving does not receive the attention it deserves from development agencies, forest departments and tourism sectors. Woodcarving and NTFPs are an important source of livelihoods for many rural poor in Zimbabwe, but they are also a potential threat to local species and ecosystems. The right balance must be found between protecting forest resources and supporting small-scale, forest based livelihoods. Many issues need addressing, including better distribution of profits between producers and sellers, more efficient use of raw materials, better marketing of woodcarvings and NTFPs, reduced tariffs in countries that import craft and NTFP products and allocating areas of forest for exclusive NTFP and woodcarving use.

Using the Miombo Woodlands wisely for people and the environment

Spread across seven countries, the Miombo Woodlands cover 2.7 million sq. km equivalent to the combined land area of Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. They provide livelihood opportunities to 100 million people and are a key habitat for some of Africa’s most celebrated animals. But if governments do not start acting now, and if the international community fails to support them, the Miombo Woodlands will soon disappear. One approach, according to research by CIFOR and a number of partners across Africa, is to implement joint government-community management of the woodlands, which often provide better financial and ecological outcomes.

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