South Africa hosts 22nd session of African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC22) and the 6th African Forestry and Wildlife Week (AFWW6)
The African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) is one of six regional forestry commissions established by Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) to provide a policy and technical forum for countries to discuss and address forest and wildlife issues on a regional basis. The forum meets every two years, and is hosted in collaboration with the FAO by a member state. The commission is open to other countries and organisations as observers.
South Africa is set to host the 22nd session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC) scheduled to take place at the Kruger National Park, Skukuza, Mpumalanga, from the 09th – 13th of March 2020. The session will be officially opened by South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Makhotso Sotyu. Ministers responsible for wildlife and forestry from Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Gambia, South Sudan, Lesotho and Guinea are expected to attend the Session.
The 6th African Forestry and Wildlife Week will be held simultaneously with the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission session to showcase progress and advancement in African forestry and wildlife sectors. It will provide an opportunity for South Africa to showcase its rich biodiversity and benefits derived through sustainable use of natural resources. It will further enable networking, collaboration and exchange of experience and knowledge among policymakers, technicians, practitioners, academia, civil society and development partners from different countries at local, regional and international levels. The Week will include several exhibitions, multisectoral dialogues, and side events.
The mandate of AFWC is:
- To advise on the formulation of forest and wildlife management policy and to review and coordinate its implementation at the regional level;
- To exchange information and,
- Generally through special subsidiary bodies, advise on suitable practices and action in regard to technical problems and;
- To make appropriate recommendations in relation to the above.
The department is hosting the 22nd session by virtue that they last hosted a long time ago amongst the South African Development Community (SADC) member state who attended the previous session held in Senegal.
The theme selected for the AFWC22 and AFWW6 is “Forests and Wildlife: Africa’s diversity for shared prosperity and security”. The theme has been purposely selected by AFWC bureau members to highlight the richness and diversity of Africa’s resources and to fully capture their importance and key role in sustaining the livelihoods of millions of people, creating job opportunities for youth and women, contributing to water-energy-food security and nutrition, building a foundation for resilience, nations’ economies and prosperity.
High turnout and diverse stakeholders expected and a total of 300 people is expected. The session anticipates wide participation of government officials from forestry, wildlife and other sectors active in Africa as well as representatives of international, regional and sub-regional organisations that deal with forest and wildlife-related issues in the region, including the private sector, academia and research institutions, United Nations agencies, civil society organisations, community-based organisations, producer organisations, youth groups and development partners.
The session will be held in South Africa, Mpumalanga, Skukuza camp in the Kruger National Park, Nombolo Mdhluli Conference from the 9th -13th of March 2020.
Registration will be conducted at the venue on the 8th of March 2020. The minister will formally open the session on Monday, the 9th, which will be followed by high level discussions for five days, including breakaway sessions (side events) as per programme.
Part of the activities in the agenda during the session will be to conduct side events and field excursion. A full day is allocated for field excursion and will be conducted on Thursday, the 12th March inside the park, Nkambeni and Sabie focusing on forestry and wildlife, respectively. Side events will run parallel with the main session and will look at issues around the fields of forestry and wildlife management.
The session will be concluded on Friday, the 13th of March 2020 by wrap-up of the commission, adopting the report and deciding on the date and the hosting country of the next session before closure and departure by the delegates.