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Over the last 50 years, tropical forested countries in West Africa have lost most of their forest area due to changes in land use and unsustainable logging. Despite many efforts by stakeholders, uncontrolled illegal logging and land conversion has led to deforestation levels, which have doubled or even tripled in Central and West Africa in the last five years. However thanks to real-time satellite forest monitoring in another part of the world – Brazil – deforestation levels have reduced by 80% compared to 2004.
This evidence and the needs expressed by national partners and stakeholders led CIDT to the exploration of satellite-based tools for forest monitoring and the development of the FLEGT Watch platform with technical partners Visio-Terra.
“This tool will make it possible to monitor the conversion of forests into landscapes, protected areas and targeted agro-food concessions.” Project Manager Serge Riazanoff, Visio Terra
Flegt Watch is an automated satellite monitoring and mapping system for environmental and resource management which will provide users with real-time information on land cover, forest cover, changes detected, fires, and hydrology. This platform provides new data less than 3 hours after satellite observation, in the form of visual and geo-referenced alerts, received on tablets and smartphones.
This platform will be accessible to a wide variety of actors including Civil Society Organisations, Independent Forest Watchers, research networks, government agencies, citizens such as farmers among others. The platform was presented to stakeholders in December 2018 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. After several end-user training sessions in Central and West Africa, FLEGT Watch will be deployed and will enter its operational phase.
The platform will be implemented by VisioTerra France, University of Wolverhampton, Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) and Tropenbos International TBI Netherlands. It is funded by the European Union through Citizens Voices for Change project in the Congo Basin, and the Capacity building of non-state actors to improve FLEGT-VPA and REDD + processes in West Africa.
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International development experts at the University of Wolverhampton have received an award for their work supporting forest governance improvements in Liberia.
The Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) was awarded the Forest Governance Award by the NGO Coalition of Liberia.
The award recognises the work of CIDT to “support, strengthen and advocate on Forest, Environment and Land right issues in the Republic of Liberia and Africa”.
This involves strengthening governance and institutional reform within the forestry sector in order to amplify the voice of forest-dependent communities and protect endangered environments.
Sarah Thomas, Senior Consultant for CIDT, said:
“It really is a huge honour and we are absolutely delighted to have received this award. CIDT staff have been working in the forest sector in Liberia in various capacities for nearly a decade now and we are also privileged to have hosted a great number of Liberian students on our ‘Improving Forest Governance’ course (2010-2016).
“We are extremely proud to have forged such a strong and constructive partnership with the NGO Coalition of Liberia through this work and to have contributed, in some small way, to the development of this important institution and, through them, to the promotion of improved forest governance in Liberia.”
CIDT’s work in Liberia formed part of an EU/DFID funded project to reduce illegal logging and promote more transparent and inclusive governance of the forest sector. As part of the project CIDT has been providing institutional development support to Civil Society and community organisations, strengthening both their oversight function and their contribution to the multi-stakeholder decision-making process in Liberia.
This article first published at: https://www.wlv.ac.uk/staff/news/january-2019/international-development-experts-scoop-award.php.
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CIDT’s Dr Aurelian Mbzibain and Daniela Baur attended the 18th Meeting of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership Parties on 27-28 November 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.
As a core leader of Forest governance in the Congo Basin region, Dr Aurelian Mbzibain, on behalf of CIDT, with World Resources Institute summarised key themes and initiatives that have taken place over the last year, and outlined priorities for the future.
Discussions and actions throughout the past year are organised into three priority areas recommended by participants at the previous meeting of the Parties in Douala:
- Integrated land management
- Timber markets and legality
- Participatory forestry.
Discussion on these priority themes continued throughout the year in a series of meetings including the Forest Legality Week in Washington DC, and the Forest Governance Forum in Brazzaville in October, among others. Key recommendations included calls:
- To implement the Brazzaville road map on participatory forestry;
- For cross sectoral coordination in land use planning and the use of earth observation tools for decision making
- For improving transparency and voice and strengthening forest legality and law enforcement
- For Congo Basin governments and development partners to integrate timber legality in public procurement contracts and as a way of gradual regulation of domestic timber markets.
View the communiqué (in French) presented to the CBFP Parties.
CBFP organising parties reported that ‘the Brussels meeting comes at a time when the Congo Basin forests are facing increasingly complex and serious challenges: The region is also making a major “shift” in its economic model which is currently geared towards diversification driven by investments in territorial development related sectors such as mining, the food and agricultural industry, infrastructure and other large scale projects, bolstered by a strong drive for medium term emergence which was virtually absent at the time of the launch of the CBFP. There is an urgent need to establish better linkages between sustainable forest management strategies, conservation approaches and the region’s economic development objectives which in turn requires better opportunities for dialogue and commitment around relevant issues, including cross-cutting issues and follow-up of shared viewpoints.’
The meeting convenes Heads of States, ministers and senior multilateral officials from around the world. It also attracts participants from international organisations, multilateral partners, civil society organisations and indigenous peoples, youth, women, media, academia, scientific community, private sector actors.
With participants close to 400, discussions were held on a variety of topics relating to conservation of biodiversity, wildlife, climate change adaption, sustainable management of the Congo Basin forests as well as local development of the communities residing in the Congo Basin.