A roadmap meant to support forest producer organisations as an environmentally sustainable way of addressing global deforestation was drawn recently by forest and farm producers, along with representatives from governments and NGOs from 42 countries, the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) said last week.
The roadmap, which many observers have described as ‘battlines’ in a reckless
world where forests are being sabotaged and destroyed at alarming rates, is an outcome of the ‘Strength in Numbers’ conference that took place in Guilin, China, on 25-28 November 2013.
The event was attended by 150 participants from many forest-related sectors.
‘Strength in Numbers’ discussed the role of producer organisations in sustainably managing forests, and generating income at local, national and regional levels.
Despite the differences between participants, there were many clear areas of consensus, IIED said in a statement.
FAO’s Jeffrey Campbell, manager of the Forest and Farm Facility, said that there were many roads but one map.
“Although forest and farm producer organisations each have unique characteristics according to country, context, stage of development, product or enterprise, size, gender of members, cultural character and so on, they face a number of common challenges as well as solutions to these challenges,” Campbell explained.
Despite their crucial role in producing food that feeds communities, small scale farmers and indigenous forest producers are rarely recognised by governments and investors, IIED lamented.
“As a group, local forest producers play a major role in global trade, and yet are often overlooked when we talk about the role of the private sector in forest landscape management and restoration,” Chris Buss, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) deputy director of forest and climate change programme, said.
Many of the obstacles that producers face can be overcome by forming organisations and supporting each other at a practical and political level, he added.
Photo: Nimbus Eco