By Rose A. Akombo- Climate Change Response Programme (KFS)
Göttingen University Germany in collaboration with Stellenbosch University South Africa with generous support from DAAD (German Academic Exchange Programme) organized the 2nd international DAAD FD5 workshop in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on “Forests in climate change research and policy: The role of forest management and conservation in a complex international setting.”
The workshop took place along the CoP 17 in Durban from 1st – 7th December 2011 drawing professors, students and professionals with experience in forestry and climate change from 21 different countries and four continents. The workshop sessions and the visit to Forest Day 5 was a great opportunity for all participants, both in scientific-technical terms and also in terms of international networking.
The key issues during the workshop were managing forests under increased variability and how to monitor variability? It is clear that there are many different approaches that countries apply to address climate change issues in the forestry sector: from Green India mission research initiatives and optimizing afforestation towards multi-functionality in China to plantation development, agroforestry and dryland management in Africa.
Forest day is a platform where scientists, policy makers and the general public interested in forests gather and interact to share information, experiences and opinions on the topics relevant to forests and climate change policy making and implementation within the framework of climate change. It is an international event organized parallel to CoP meetings. Forest Day 5 was on 4th December with the theme “from policy to practice - shaping the global agenda for forests and climate change”. Forest Day 5 addressed the importance of a landscape approach within the negotiations as a holistic approach to achieve the success of REDD+ with three main pillars: mitigation, adaptation and poverty alleviation.
Four main lessons stood out during FD5. The first lesson was that there is a clear gap between scientists, policy makers and local stakeholders. Secondly, it was realized that research into implementation is needed at the local level. Thirdly, it become apparent that the acknowledgement of the rights of indigenous people is necessary for social justice but will complicate the implementation process. The last lesson was that binding internationally agreed policies and mechanisms need to be in place so that private farmers as well as the corporate sector can start long-term activities at the ground level in a legally binding framework.
Sincere thanks to all professors from Göttingen University, Stellenbosch University and The Director Kenya Forest Service for their support.