A new $6m project which will strengthen sustainable forest management and the forestry sector in Mozambique has been announced by the government of Mozambique, the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN).

The project forms part of the World Bank-funded $47m Mozambique Forest Investment Project with the aim to stem rapid deforestation and support investment in the forestry sector while creating new income and livelihood opportunities from sustainable forest management for rural communities.

Forestry SA on recent fires in Cape

It will also contribute to protecting life on land as set out by goal 15 of the Sustainable Development Goals, as determined by the UN Development Programme.

Transforming forest management

Under the newly-signed agreement, FAO will provide technical support to develop a 20-year national strategy for the forestry sector, institutional frameworks for forest concessions will be revised to ensure greater transparency, accountability, equity and sustainability of forest production, and ‘model’ concessions that implement the best practices will be established.

“This important partnership will contribute to transformational change in the way forests are managed in Mozambique,” said FAO Deputy Director-General Daniel Gustafson.

National roadshow for wood packaging material

For the first time, a digital, georeferenced Forest Information System will be developed to replace the existing paper records, and will provide a reliable, cross-checked database to support strategic policy and management decisions. Knowledge and skills on forest management principles will also be shared with national and local counterparts.

Improving livelihoods

Mozambique’s forest resources have significant potential to contribute to poverty alleviation but are threatened by deforestation, degradation, fires, illegal logging and uncontrolled firewood and charcoal production.

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Xavier Sailors, director of Mozambique’s National Directorate of Forests said communities and the private sector are important stakeholders in revising the forest management model. “Our forests will be protected and safeguarded, and at the same time used as a source of wealth creation for our communities, ultimately aiming to improve their everyday lives,” he said.

Environmental guidelines for SA forestry

The project is the first to be signed following the approval by FAO and the World Bank, of a new framework on 10 May 2017. The framework defines a set of agreed project templates which were used to simplify and accelerate the new partnership agreement between Mozambique and FAO. “This partnership is a good example of what we can do together, and we can really scale it up,” said Paola Agostini, Forests and Landscapes Global Lead at the World Bank. “The whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.” –Bizcommunity