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March 9, 2020 (DJIBOUTI, Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) today convened a meeting for Ministers in Charge of Forestry of its Member States to endorse the IGAD Regional Forestry Policy and Strategy in Djibouti.

This policy complements the existing national policies, regional, continental and global frameworks such as the IGAD Regional Environment Policy, IGAD Regional Environmental Impact Assessment Policy Framework and Protocol, the IGAD Regional Climate Change Strategy, the IGAD Regional Environmental and Resources Management Strategy; IGAD Biodiversity Policy and Protocol; and various international and regional policies and frameworks.

In his opening remarks, the Minister of Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, Livestock and Fisheries Resources of Djibouti, HE Mohamed Ahmed Awaleh, stressed that the most suitable approach to the management of forestry resources was ‘the regional one given that forests are trans boundary in nature while Member States are confronted to similar challenges’, before officially opening the meeting.

Speaking for IGAD Executive Secretary, the Director of Agriculture and Environment Division, Mr. Mohamed Moussa, highlighted that ‘the policy and strategy document will contribute to the implementation of a number of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and Conventions’. He added that it would also ‘enhance resilience of ecosystems and communities against climate change and variability, and economic shocks respectively’.

‘However, the development and endorsement of a regional policy and strategy is not enough to protect the forest resources in the region. It is rather the level of our commitment to properly implement the policy and strategy that would contribute to the sustainable management of forest resources in the region,’ he concluded his opening remarks.

The Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to Djibouti, Dr Dademanao Pissang Tchangai, expressed his satisfaction to see the ‘process reaching fruition’ and said his confidence that development partners and many stakeholders will collaborate and join IGAD’s efforts to implement actions in the forestry strategy’.

This policy provides opportunities for IGAD Member States to assess and review their national forest policies and strategies, enhancing implementation capacities and sustainable management of the national and trans-boundary forest resources.

This meeting was held as part of a Technical Cooperation Project between IGAD and FAO with the support of the Regional groundwater initiative project funded by World Bank.

This Ministerial Meeting was preceded by a two-day technical meeting on March 7 and 8 during which experts reviewed the draft IGAD Regional Forestry Policy and Strategy.

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