African and Asian experts in India to promote social justice in forestry
With forestry rising on political agendas worldwide and increasingly making international news, experts from 11 countries will meet in India this week to discuss how to make the sector work for the poor.
The Forest Governance Learning Group (FGLG), whose members include researchers, government officials, lawyers, foresters, activists, parliamentarians and community representatives, will meet at the Indian Institute of Forest Management in Bhopal from 4-7 December.
Forests are important for livelihoods, biodiversity climate and water regulation, and much more. But the top-down, centralised way they tend to be managed means that poor communities often lose out.
"The FGLG aims to promote social justice in forestry by bringing together those marginalised from forest governance with those controlling it," says Professor Prodyut Bhattacharya of the International Centre for Community Forestry at the Indian Institute of Forest Management. "By sharing knowledge and experiences from different countries, we can identify practical ways to make forestry work for the poor."
Delegates at the Bhopal meeting include members of FGLG country teams in Cameroon, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Niger, South Africa, Uganda and Vietnam. Colleagues from Burkina Faso and the UK will also be there.
Forest governance became big international news this year when Uganda’s President tried to turn a protected forest over to a private company that planned to clear to trees to make way for a sugar cane plantation. Members of the FGLG's Uganda country team were instrumental in getting the President to reverse his decision.
The Bhopal meeting will focus on making small enterprises work better for social justice in forestry.
"Forestry has a role to play in reducing poverty and creating sustainable livelihoods but only with good governance," says James Mayers, head of the natural resources group at the International Institute for Environment and Development, which steers the FGLG.
"Small enterprises that produce timber or non-wood products are common in many countries and there is growing evidence that they contribute to local development," says Mayers. "But the rules and governance systems are often stacked against them and in favour of large scale producers. To boost local sustainable development, these rules need to change."
The Bhopal meeting will allow country teams to share their experiences and refine their plans and tactics for the year ahead.
It will include a research visit to community based small enterprises producing herbal medicines, fuel wood, eco-tourism and woodcraft. Participants will meet various stakeholders, from producers to consumers, to explore the value chain and learn about barriers and opportunities for small enterprises.
Journalists are invited to attend a curtain raiser press conference on the eve of the event i.e., on 3 December at 16.00 at the Press Information Bureau Office at Bhopal and a closing remarks briefing at the end of the meeting at 17.30 on Friday 7 December. For more information please contact Prodyut Bhattacharya at the Indian Institute of Forest Management.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Professor Prodyut Bhattacharya – Faculty Coordinator, International Centre for Community Forestry – at the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) + 91 755 277 5716. email@example.com
Sarvashish Roy, Research Associate at IIFM: +91 982 606 9926. firstname.lastname@example.org
James Mayers (email@example.com)
Nicole Armitage (firstname.lastname@example.org)
NOTES TO EDITORS
The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent, non-profit research institute. Set up in 1971 and based in London, IIED provides expertise and leadership in researching and achieving sustainable development (see: http://www.iied.org).
For more information on the Forest Governance Learning Group, see:
Forestry and Land Use Project Summary
The partners involved in the FGLG are: International Institute for Environment and Development (UK; steering the group); Indufor Oy (Finland); Regional Community Forestry Training Centre for Asia and the Pacific (Thailand); SOS Sahel (convenes the group in Niger); Civic Response (convenes group in Ghana); Forestry South Africa (convenes group in South Africa); Amigos da Floresta through Justica Ambiental (convenes group in Mozambique); Forestry Department (convenes group in Malawi); Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (convenes group in Uganda); Indian Institute of Forest Management (convenes group in India); Inspirit and the Multi-stakeholder Forestry Programme (convene group in Indonesia); CIFOR (convenes the group in Cameroon) and an independent consultant, Dr Nguyen Quang Tan (convenes the group in Vietnam).
Initial funding for the initiative came from the UK Department for International Development, and the European Commission and Dutch government are now supporting the work.
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