Mozambique, World Bank, FAO sign agreement to grow forest sector reform

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Rome:The Government of Mozambique, the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have announced a new project that will strengthen sustainable forest management and contribute to Mozambique achieving Sustainable Development Goal 15 on forests. The $6 million project is part of the World Bank-funded $47 million Mozambique Forest Investment Project. The project aims to stem the rapid pace of deforestation and support investment in the forest sector while creating new income and livelihood opportunities from sustainable forest management for rural communities.

Under the newly-signed agreement, FAO will provide technical support to develop a 20-year national strategy for the forestry sector, institutional frameworks for forest concessions will be revised to ensure greater transparency, accountability, equity and sustainability of forest production, and ‘model’ concessions that implement best practices will be established.

“This important partnership will contribute to transformational change in the way forests are managed in Mozambique,” said FAO Deputy Director-General Daniel Gustafson.

For the first time, a digital, geo-referenced Forest Information System will be developed, to replace the existing paper records, and will provide a reliable, cross-checked database to support strategic policy and management decisions.

Knowledge and skills on forest management principles will also be shared with national and local counterparts.

Mozambique’s forest resources have significant potential to contribute to poverty alleviation, but are threatened by deforestation, degradation, fires, illegal logging and uncontrolled firewood and charcoal production.

Xavier Sailors, Director of Mozambique’s National Directorate of Forests, said communities and the private sector are important stakeholders in revising the forest management model. “Our forests will be protected and safeguarded, and at the same time used as a source of wealth creation for our communities, ultimately aiming to improve their everyday lives,” he said.

The project is the first to be signed following the approval by FAO and the World Bank of a new framework on 10 May 2017. The framework defines a set of agreed project templates which were used to simplify and accelerate the new partnership agreement between Mozambique and FAO.

“This partnership is a good example of what we can do together, and we can really scale it up,” said Paola Agostini, Forests and Landscapes Global Lead at the World Bank. “The whole will be greater than the sum of the parts.”