International conference on forestry training in the Congo Basin opens

6th March 2018

Alvine Fotso, forestry student at the Centre Régional d'Enseignement Spécialisé en Agriculture (CRESA) in Cameroon makes an intervention during the International Conference on Forestry Training. Photo: R. Carrillo/ITTO

As one of the world’s major reservoirs of biodiversity, the forests of the Congo Basin require trained and skilled human resources to ensure their sustainable management. This is the focus of the International Conference on Forestry Training: Addressing the Challenges of Training for Sustainably Managing the Congo Basin Forests, which started today (5 March 2018) in Douala, Cameroon.
The Congo Basin subregion harbours the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest—with an area of more than 2 million square kilometres. At the conference’s opening ceremony, ITTO Executive Director Dr Gerhard Dieterle highlighted the importance of trained human resources for improving forest management practices, increasing the efficiency of timber-processing and creating state-of-the-art wood applications. He noted the innovative approach of the training modules to be launched at the conference, one designed for training at the university level and the other focused on technical aspects of sustainable forest management (SFM), including the use of ITTO’s criteria and indicators for the sustainable management of tropical forests.
The training modules were developed under the ITTO-funded project, “Building capacities of forestry training institution members of the Central Africa Forestry and Environment Training Institutions Network (RIFFEAC) for providing training on SFM” (PD 456/07 Rev.4 (F)). Dr Dieterle recognized the role of the project in assisting seven training institutions in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon to upgrade their curricula and facilities. He thanked the governments of Belgium, Japan and Switzerland for their financial support of the project.
Mr Raymond Ndomba Ngoye, Executive Secretary of the Central Africa Forest Commission (COMIFAC) noted the project’s substantive contribution to the COMIFAC’s Convergence Plan, in particular to its axis on training and capacity building.
Representatives from the governments of Cameroon and the Congo, stated the relevance of the training modules to keep the curricula up-to-date with the latest developments and emerging issues in forestry, while Mme Junko Masuda, representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Cameroon expressed her satisfaction for the fruitful cooperation among ITTO, JICA, RIFFEAC and the Congo Basin countries for the successful execution of the ITTO project which not only developed training modules adapted to the reality of the subregion but also improved the facilities, equipment and material of training institutions in five countries of the subregion.
Expected outputs of the conference are:
  • enhanced awareness of the importance, threats and opportunities associated with forestry and environmental training in the subregion;
  • improved knowledge and mainstreaming of the reference training modules in training programmes;
  • improved ability of RIFFEAC member institutions to solve issues posed by forestry training and to draw on opportunities such issues provide;
  • increased support for the implementation of the reference training modules in training institutions in the subregion; and
  • consolidated strategic alliances and partnerships for the benefit of RIFFEAC institutions.
The conference is co-organized by RIFFEAC and ITTO, under the patronage of Cameroon’s Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF), as part of ITTO project PD 456/07 Rev.4 (F).
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