Bringing sustainable forest management to Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s forests support the livelihoods of millions of people. But as we see elsewhere around the world, these forests are continually threatened – cleared to become grazing and agricultural land, or simply the space is needed for ever increasing populations.

“While there is a clear need for sustainable forest management within the country, Ethiopia is actually in a great position to develop a national forest certification system,” said Rémi Sournia, Projects and Development Officer for PEFC International, following his outreach trip which saw him travel around the country to meet with stakeholders, farmer unions and government.

“We now plan to start working on the development of a project in the country, collaborating with a range of partners including ENAO, Ethiopia’s accreditation organization, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, universities and farmer organizations.”

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MEFCC) is set to become the coordinator as the country begins the development process of a national forest certification system.

“It was very interesting for us to come here to Ethiopia and meet with the Ministry, and to see the high level ambition to developing sustainable forest management in the country,” said Rémi.

“We will continue to work with the government, research institutions and the local stakeholders as they start down the road of system development.”

To ensure that the certification system works on the ground, we plan to carry out a series of pilot projects, including one with the Zenbaba Union – the first cooperative union in the country.

This will help us and the project partners to better understand the specific realities of group certification organization, management planning, and many other vital aspects of developing a system.

The Zenbaba Union is made up of small farms in the Amhara region of Northwestern Ethiopia, producing predominately honey and more recently eucalyptus, due to its fast rotation of just five years.
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