Sida, FAO, ECOWAS partner to protect West Africa’s forests

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have joined forces to protect West Africa’s forests and help safeguard the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.

A  statement from FAO said the e three institutions will carry out a five-year project aimed at strengthening sustainable forest and land management, addressing transboundary forest threats, maximising the livelihoods of forest-depended communities, and building climate resilience across 15 countries in West Africa. The project – to be implemented by ECOWAS with financial support of over $8 million from Sida and technical support from FAO – will improve knowledge of forests dynamics, support legal reform, establish and share best community-based forest practices across the region. It will be key to the rolling out of the ECOWAS-led Convergence Plan for the Sustainable Management and Use of Forest Ecosystems in West Africa adopted in 2013 by ECOWAS to mobilize political, institutional, financial and technical support to address transboundary forest issues across ECOWAS’s 15 member states.

“We are very pleased to be partners with ECOWAS and FAO on transboundary forest management in West Africa. It is a very important project for the people and governments of the region, but also for the global efforts to stop climate change and loss of biodiversity,” said Sida’s Head of Regional Development Cooperation in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ulla Andrén.