University secures £1.5 million grant to reduce illegal logging

The four year project has received funding from the European Commission and will focus on how forests are governed and managed in the West and Central Africa region.

The Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) at the University will lead the €1.8 million (approx £1.5 million) project in Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Liberia.

These countries are heavily forested and export substantial amounts of timber to Europe. All four countries are engaged in negotiations with the European Commission concerning the banning of illegal timber imports into the European Union market.

Illegal logging is the harvest, transportation, purchase or sale of timber which is carried out in violation of laws. It can cause environmental damage as well as harming the economy of the producer countries and their communities.

Head of CIDT, Philip Dearden, said: “We are delighted to have secured this bid, which builds on CIDT’s 30-year track record in tropical natural resource management. We are proud that of the 11 projects selected to receive funding from the European Commission, Wolverhampton was the only University.

“This project will strengthen African forest governance by promoting greater transparency and accountability within the forest sector. It aims to support the relevant stakeholders to exchange information and engage with international forest governance initiatives to combat illegal logging.”

The project will focus on two main areas of activity. The first involves ‘update meetings’ on forest governance in each of the four countries. Academics, policy makers, local stakeholders and international experts will present their work to inform national level policy, practice and awareness.

The second area will be to spread these national level policies to a broader audience such as forestry technicians, private technical trainers, local level rural development practitioners and community representatives. CIDT will build on the theories and practice of vocational level education, training, participation and communication and also draw on expertise in the University’s Schools of Education and Applied Sciences.

CIDT will work closely with six partners on the project, which is titled ‘Strengthening African forest governance – through high level and national ‘illegal logging’ meetings and mid level awareness raising and training’. The partners are the IDL group, Fauna and Flora International and Resource Extraction and Monitoring, all based in the UK. In Africa the partners are Forest Watch in Ghana, Forêts et Développement Rural (FODER) in Cameroon and RRN (Réseau Ressources Naturelles) (Natural Resources Network) in Democratic Republic of Congo.

The project builds on CIDT’s five years of annual review work for the Department for International Development’s global programme to reduce illegal logging and the bi-lingual four-week course on ‘Improving Forest Governance’ run at the Telford Campus each June.

The funding is from the European Commission’s Thematic Programme for Environment and sustainable management of natural resources including energy.

For further information, contact Richard Nyirenda, the Project Manager or Des Mahony, the Project Director on 01902 323219.

ENDS

For more information please contact Vickie Warren in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736

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