Platform set for China-Africa forest governance action

Article, 09 December 2013

A new partnership builds bridges between African and Chinese stakeholders to strengthen governance of forests.

The platform launch brought together high-level African and Chinese officials, policymakers, researchers and forestry experts (Photo: Simon Lim)

The China-Africa Forest Governance Learning Platform (FGLP) is improving understanding and bolstering partnerships on forest governance through knowledge exchange among diverse stakeholders.  

Launched in Beijing on 5-6 March 2013, the FGLP brought together high-level Chinese and African officials and policymakers from the forestry sector for the first time. Exploring sensitive issues such as illegal and unsustainable logging, the platform has created trust and political will to confront these challenges. 

Constructive dialogue 

At the Beijing launch the Chinese government presented guidelines to help Chinese companies with their social and environmental conduct overseas and enhance the sustainability of the country’s overseas forest operations.

FGLP members found that these guidelines can provide a starting point where previously there was no basis for dialogue. For example, two months later Mozambican delegates met with 50 Chinese timber companies, using the guidelines as a starting point for constructive dialogue.

Although designed to strengthen ties between Africa and China, FGLP members have also found the forum a good place to improve relations within individual countries. Since attending the forum, the government in Mozambique has improved their relations with NGOs in the forestry sector. 

At the event I realised how we can work together to get a better grip of the forest sector.
- Renato Timana,
National Directorate of Land and Forest, Mozambique 

Future guideline expansion

FGLP will meet for the second time in Africa in 2014 and plans to report on results and build on progress.  

The Chinese government is now preparing further guidelines for Chinese companies in foreign forest industries as a result of FGLP – a significant step in collaboration. IIED will be working with African stakeholders to input on the draft guidelines. 

IIED plans to be involved in monitoring the uptake and effect of guidelines in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Mozambique and Uganda as the work from the initial FGLP meeting is developed and expanded.

Contact

James Mayers (james.mayers@iied.org), head of IIED's Natural Resources Group

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