Day 1/Blog 1
by Melissa Sanon who is currently in South Africa representing Haiti Timber Reintroduction Program, a reforestation project in the Department of the Artibonite in Haiti.
The first day of the XIV World Forestry Congress at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa saw the gathering of hundreds of people from the global forestry community. The opening ceremony included two splendid cultural performances; one by the local fire-fighters marching and singing a traditional African song, and another song by a trio of African artists.
he next part of the programme was the launching of the Global Forests Resources Assessment (FRA) 2015 and the High Level Dialogue on the importance of forests in the implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. This first plenary session had quite a long list of speakers including Tom Tidwell, Chief of US Forest Service, and José Graziano Da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations. For instance, some of the speakers had identified some key elements that can help tackle forest-related problems as well as reported positive messages about countries that have developed effective strategies and policies to address forest-related issues. Others did also point out the great need for investment, technology and the creation of micro-enterprise for forest-related products.
The minister of Congo, who has more than 23 years of experience in global forestry, made a very interesting and truthful remark regarding the lack of interest of certain governments in allocating funds for projects related to the protection of natural parks, forests, and the biodiversity as well as regulating products from the flora and fauna. This brought me back to Haiti where the Ministry of Environment is extremely weak in terms of addressing the biggest ecological problem of the country, which is deforestation. How can we fight poverty if there is not enough funding to finance projects related to forestry and agriculture? If we really want to help eradicate poverty in Haiti which is strongly linked to deforestation and malnutrition, I think the starting point is in reforesting/restoring the mountains to reduce the risks of soil erosion, so that farmers can produce more food to eat and sell and by that we may as well address Climate Change which is a global concern nowadays.
As the week goes by, I look forward to keep you posted on the highlights of each day of the conference and also explore more on the topic of public and private investment in forestry.