Africa Must Unite on REDD

8 October 2009

Africa’s forests are attracting increasing attention. And for two good reasons:

One, they hold great potential as a carbon sink.

Two, unsustainable land use, agricultural expansion, commercial harvesting and urbanisation are causing massive deforestation and forest degradation.

When African REDD [Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation] negotiators put together their country strategies, ECO highlights that for REDD to work for Africa the first step is to recognise the complexity and diversity of Africa’s forests as a whole. Their forest cover is about 635 million ha and account for 16% of the world’s forests.

Seventy per cent of the African people depend on forest resources for their survival. As forests and trees play a crucial role in the socio-economic development of the people, thinking of Africa in a united manner and diversifying livelihood options for the poor would ensure greater REDD success in Africa. At the same time, the underlying causes of deforestation and degradation must be addressed.

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