Twelve more community forests

09 November 2018 | Environment

Namibia has 32 community forests in different parts of the country and 12 more are to be proclaimed.

This enables local people to participate in natural resource management.

“As a result, traditional forest-related knowledge of people is recognised, respected and protected,” agriculture permanent secretary Percy Misika said at the SADC Forestry Technical Committee Meeting.

Misika said the region must work together to achieve its objectives, one of which is regional integration.

“We are all aware that SADC was established with one key goal, which is to unite our efforts to fast-track the development of our people in the region.

“Different departments were put in place, of which the Department of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources is one, and it is that department under which forestry is hosted.”

He said SADC had developed various protocols to guide its operations. One of these is forestry, for which the SADC Secretariat recently managed to develop a protocol. Namibia fully participated in the development of the Protocol and was ready to sign and ratify it soon after it was completed, he said. Misika urged the participants at the meeting to fully integrate the provisions of the Protocol into their deliberations during the course of the meeting. According to Misika that should cover issues such as the promotion, development, conservation and sustainable management of all types of forests and trees. It should also cover the promotion of trade in forest products throughout the region in order to alleviate poverty, generate economic opportunities and protect the environment. Misika said in line with the SADC Protocol, Namibia embraced community-based forest management.

“The Forest Act makes a clear provision that enables local people to fully participate in forestry resources management to ensure that they benefit individually and collectively from the use of such resources.

“I am delighted to see the top forestry experts gathered here today to share different expertise and look at different sub-regional programmes and projects.

“I also believe that you will agree with me that there are many challenges that we need to overcome as SADC, which include climate change, deforestation and many more.”

Misika urged member states to implement national programmes on adaptation to climate change.

He said other strategic interventions include reversing the loss of forest cover, preventing forest degradation and combating deforestation.

He also said the region should actively promote public education and awareness of forestry.

ELLANIE SMIT

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