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6/3/2014 3:51:49 PM

IFG 2014

CIDT hosts the fifth Improving Forest Governance programme

Since 2010 CIDT has run a programme on Improving Forest Governance, for participants coming from 25 countries in Africa and Asia, including representation from Government regulators, private sector and civil society, academics and journalists. In 2014, for the first time the IFG programme included a cohort of participants from 3 countries in Latin America – Honduras, Colombia and Guatemala, which brings the total for 2014 to 42 participants from 13 countries, The six week programme is delivered in French and English, and for the first time also in Spanish.

For people working in the forestry and natural resource sector, the rapidly moving situation can be complex and difficult to keep pace with. The major timber consuming markets are now demanding the supply of legally harvested and traded wood as reinforced by the EU Timber Regulation which came into force in March 2013 and the 2008 Lacey Act in the US. These laws, together with initiatives that include Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) processes and certification are fostering a new culture of improved forest governance and legality in the forest sector. The Improving Forest Governance course unpacks these issues and examines their impact on different parts of the forest sector, particularly now as more and more countries move towards setting up Timber Legality Assurance Systems and full implementation of the VPA.

The course is core-funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Forestry Institute (EFI) / the European Commission (EC). Other donors for 2014 include The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), GiZ the German donor and IUCN.

The course analyses reasons for poor forest governance and look at the use of multi-stakeholder processes and enterprise development as tools to improve the situation. IFG aims to strengthen participant ability to advocate for and personally contribute to improving forest governance in their countries.


3/10/2014 11:34:51 AM

Congo Basin VPA Implementation

Championing forest people’s rights and participation – Congo Basin VPA Implementation

According to the World Bank, an estimated $10-15 billion is annually lost world wide due to illegal logging with close to $5 billion lost due to uncollected taxes and royalties on legally sanctioned timber harvests because of corruption. Such losses of state revenue prevent timber rich Congo Basin governments from meeting development goals and public services of basic health care and education, as well as improvements in sustainable forest management. Poor and disadvantaged communities suffer the most from poor government of the forest sector, especially due to being denied a voice to actively participate in decision-making processes concerning their land and resources. Inequities in the ownership and management of the land and resource are a major source of conflict which undermines prospects for development.

The project was launched in Yaoundé on Wednesday 26th March, 2014 and will last for a period of 30 months. The launching ceremony of the Congo Basin VPA Implementation, championing the People’s Rights and Participation Project, was chaired by Denis Koulagna Koutou, Secretary General of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife.

Dr Aurelian Mbzibain, the Project Manager at the Centre for International Development and Training, is working with two national NGO’s in Cameroon, CED and FODER and others in the Central African Republic. These national partners have long standing experience in working with the forest community. The project is funded by the European Union and DFID UK and focuses on the importance of the right to self - representations of communities.                                      

1/28/2014 2:19:08 PM

UK and Lao Universities sign MOU on Forestry Co-operation

UK & Lao Universities sign MOU

The Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) and the Lao National University (NUOL) have signed a MOU on the delivery of practical sustainable forestry management training. They have worked together to deliver forest governance and timber trade legalisation capacity development in the Lao PDR. This important partnership is the next step of knowledge exchange and capacity building between the two universities. This agreement is the start of practical forestry management and hopes to boost Lao National University’s position as a regional centre on sustainable forestry management.

The MOU was signed by Associate Professor Dr Houghphet Chanthavong and Senior Lecturer Sarah Thomas and was witnessed by British Ambassador to the Lao PDR. Before the signing ceremony there was a three day regional conference in Vang Vieng on Curriculum Development and Continuing Professional Development related to Improving Forest Governance. This was to discuss how best to update teaching content to address recent policy changes that affect forest governance and trade.

9/17/2013 4:44:24 PM

Improving Forest Governance 2014

Improving Forest Governance

CIDT welcomes applications for the Improving Forest Governance programme  14th May – 25th June 2014

This will be the fifth time the University’s Telford Campus will host the six-week Improving Forest Governance programme.

The course focuses on improved forest governance in areas such as forest trade, timber legality assurance systems and independent monitoring, offering participants the opportunity to strengthen communication, planning and other skills they need to influence improvements. The new EU Timber Regulation are now in force so that Europe can ensure that only timber which is produced legally can be imported, increasing the challenges for timber producing countries to establish legality.

18 IFG places are fully funded for applicants involved in key processes related to the negotiation and implementation of Voluntary Partnership Agreements with the European Union. Applications are welcomed from government regulators, private sector and civil society representatives, academics and journalists and the course is delivered in both French and English.

The course brochure, which is also available in French, gives the provisional content for the 2014 Improving Forest Governance programme. 

Application forms (English) (French) and Confirmation of Management Support (English) (French) should be completed and returned to cidt@wlv.ac.uk by the 22nd November 2014.

9/2/2013 2:47:43 PM

Networking Climate Change

Networking Climate Change

The Centre for International Development and Training and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) facilitated a workshop in Nairobi that was attended by climate experts from Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique and Ethiopia. The main objective was to capture, synthesize and share country solutions. It was held at the Sarova Stanely Hotel.

To find out further information on this please click on the following link


9/2/2013 12:18:30 PM

CIDT develops a partnership with the Faculty of Forestry at the National University of Laos

Faculty of Forestry

Dr Khamla Phanvilay the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Forestry at the National University of Laos visited the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) last week to discuss proposals for developing a partnership over the coming year in order to support the updating of their Forestry Curriculum at undergraduate and post-graduate levels.

This builds on work that CIDT has been involved in for the past 4 years to strengthen forest governance in countries where tropical timber is exported to the EU. Over the years, 9 of the course participants have been from the Department of Forestry and Non Government Organisations in Laos, all of whom have asked for CIDT to develop further work in-country.

The plans discussed with Dr Khamla include delivering a Regional Workshop in December on Curriculum Development with participants from Universities in 5 other countries in the Mekong Region (Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Yunnan in China) which would assess skills, knowledge and attitudes needed in the workplace against the existing curricula offered.

CIDT then hopes to work with the Faculty of Forestry supporting staff development and delivery of the proposed new curriculum module to students in Laos, initially as part of ongoing capacity building for government staff, the private sector and civil society involved in developing forest law enforcement, governance and trade in the field. If successful, CIDT hopes that the sustainability of its efforts to improve forest governance will be considerably increased and in turn support poverty reduction, one of its core objectives.

Professor Philip Dearden the Head of CIDT says “I’m personally delighted having met Dr Khamla when I first visited Laos in 2009 to now have him visit us here. In CIDT we are all delighted to have had the opportunity to discuss our future plans and our likely future work in Laos with him this last week”.

This visit was funded with the kind support of the British Embassy in Laos.

7/8/2013 3:50:18 PM

Business Achievement Awards

Business Achievement Awards

Vijay wins Alumnus Student 1st prize for Contribution to Society

All staff in CIDT are delighted to hear that Vijay Shrestha who has managing the DFID funded Livelihoods Forestry Programme in Nepal has won the first prize in the 2013 University of Wolverhampton Business Achievement Awards in the category “Contribution to Society”. Vijay Shrestha has made an unparalleled contribution to the development of his country - Nepal.

Since graduating Vijay has worked with the University’s Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) as Programme Manager for the DFID funded Livelihoods Forestry Programme. This 10 year development programme has successfully generated employment for over 2.8 million people (of whom 85% were poor or excluded people) and has helped lift over 1.3 million people out of poverty in Nepal. (DFID Project Completion Report 2013).

Vijay has worked tirelessly over the past ten years leading and inspiring a team of over 130 programme staff - often through insecure times and difficult political situations in Nepal. He has ensured that UK Aid money from DFID has effectively and efficiently reached the very poorest in Nepal where it has made a huge difference. Vijay has inspired and mentored many, ensuring the next generation of community forestry leaders are ready to take up the challenges ahead.

In the words of the Livelihoods Adviser in DFID-Nepal "the internationally recognised success of Nepal's community forestry sector recognised globally owes much to Vijay Shrestha".

Over time the highly successful Livelihood and Forestry Programme became a "DFID Flagship programme" and was visited by no less than six UK DFID Ministers from Claire Short (2003) through to Andrew Mitchell (2012).

In order to ensure long term employment security of the staff in the programme Vijay helped establish one of the first ever Nepalese not-for-profit Social Enterprises in Nepal called Rupantaran.

During his recent visit to Nepal the University of Wolverhampton’s Vice Chancellor - Professor Geoff Layer- signed an MOU with Rupantaran in Nepal to ensure that the University links with Rupantaran's excellent work continue.

In recent months Vijay has helped collate all the experiences of the Livelihoods and Forestry programme and these have been published in "A Decade of the Livelihoods and Forestry Programme".

Given his position in Nepal many new young Nepalese graduates returning from the University of Wolverhampton have already asked Vijay to be their personal mentors. Their respect for him is only second to ours.

Vijay's work for the poorest and excluded in Nepal is a fantastic tribute to real values of CIDT and the University of Wolverhampton.

All staff in CIDT warmly congratulate him for winning this prestigious award.


6/10/2013 3:40:57 PM



In April 2013 CIDT was delighted to welcome the Vice Chancellor Professor Geoff Layer, to two countries in South Asia where it works to eradicate poverty: Bangladesh and Nepal. Geoff was accompanied to Bangladesh by Jo Gittens, Head of the International Centre, Pragyat Singh, Head of the University’s South Asia office based in Delhi, and Clare Shaw, Head of Alumni and Development.

The purpose of the Bangladesh trip was primarily to meet and congratulate the university’s 128 alumni from the Senior Bangladesh Government Civil Service. These senior colleagues had each been to spend six weeks at the Telford campus over the previous four years, in a programme facilitated by CIDT, which considered and improved the planning of reform projects which were carried out on the officers’ return to Bangladesh. They did this under the auspices of the Management at the Top Project (2), a leadership programme co-sponsored by British Aid and the Ministry of Public Administration in Bangladesh to create a forward-looking, citizen-focussed cadre of top civil servants in the country. Twentfy five reform projects were elaborated through officers’ involvement in CIDT and these were carried out in combination with officers’ normal workload – ie in a voluntary capacity in pursuit of beter services for the poor.

Twentfy five reform projects were elaborated through officers’ involvement in CIDT and these were carried out in combination with officers’ normal workload – ie in a voluntary capacity in pursuit of beter services for the poor.

It was wonderful to meet up with colleagues and friends and to hear evidence of how they had progressed since coming to UK and in some cases how the programme had changed their approach to planning, performance management and working to improve services for poor people. The MATT2 participants dedicatedly organised a splendid evening, with excellent speeches, space for workshop time to establish key reasons for success or challenges in their reforms, and excellent food and drink.

Special thanks were given to Shameem Al Mamun who coordinated the entire event and thus had three jobs to attend (along with his ongoing reform project) instead of one, Mr Subir Choudhary who lead the group of officers involved in the planning, Mr Harun, DC Dhaka who leant vehicles for the stay, Mr Shafiqul Islam, Head of Immigration who provided visas on arrival and arranged for police escorts through the general strikes gripping the country. Thanks were also due to the 90 officers who had come through the strike to the dinner. The only absent staff were those overseas or out of Dhaka and unable to travel due to the civil unrest.

Apart from the dinner, The Vice Chancellor met with the Chair and members of the University Grants Commission to discuss ways in which the University of Wolverhampton can be involved in the capacity development of the higher education sector in Bangladesh. He also met with the British Council Director and business development team to discuss further opportunities for involvement in the sector.

5/20/2013 10:37:02 AM

WILA Awards - University of Wolverhampton rewarded for developing international links

WILA Awards

The University of Wolverhampton is celebrating two awards given in recognition for its international links. The awards were given by the Wolverhampton International Links Association (WILA) and presented by the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Cllr Christine Mills at an exclusive reception held at the Mayors parlour. The first award was given in recognition of the partnership between the University of Wolverhampton and University of Tuymen. For over 20 years, this relationship has provided great opportunities to both cities with colleagues and students from the institutions benefiting from exchange opportunities for study and research.

The second was presented to Principal Lecturer, Desmond Mahony, on behalf of the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) a self- financing, not-for-profit centre within the University of Wolverhampton. For 40 years CIDT have been committed to working with others around the world towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals of poverty reduction and sustainable development. Head of CIDT, Philip Dearden said “We are delighted to be presented this WILA award by the Mayor of Wolverhampton. CIDT has been recognised internationally for many years but it’s very special to have our international work recognised locally and regionally in our home city. The staff of CIDT all feel deeply honoured.” This is the first time the WILA have organised an awards event which celebrates the work of various organisations and individuals across the city who are building strong links with international partners that benefit the City. WILA aim is to promote and support links between the city’s communities, schools, businesses, health bodies and parallel organisations in various regions across the globe.


5/20/2013 10:30:16 AM

Training of Trainers in Independent Forest Monitoring in Cameroon

Forest Monitoring

Sarah Thomas has recently returned from Cameroon where she facilitated a 2 week Training of Trainers course in Independent Forest Monitoring, in partnership with the Cameroonian NGO ‘Forests and Rural Development’ (FODER). The training was part of the CIDT-managed ‘Strengthening African Forest Governance’ project, financed by the EU. The course was attended by 18 participants and was intended: to enhance the knowledge and awareness of key Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Cameroon about their role in monitoring implementation of Cameroon’s Voluntary Partnership Agreement on timber legality with the EU ; to increase their contribution to improving forest governance by identifying and reporting illegal forest activities; and to develop a cadre of trainers able to cascade practical training on independent observation to other CSOs and community stakeholders.

The course included a 1 day field trip to a rainforest logging site where participants gained practical experience in the use of GPS and digital cameras as tools for documenting illegal logging activity. They then drew on this experience to design training courses for other stakeholders in order to further develop the network of civil society and community monitors and promote greater accountability in the forest sector.