The University’s Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) is playing host to a group of 23 students including lawyers and members of forestry departments and civil rights organisations.
The Improving Forest Governance course objectives are to provide an overview of rapidly changing international policies toward tropical forest management and stopping illegal logging.
Organiser Des Mahony, Senior Lecturer at CIDT, based at the University’s Telford Campus, said: “Forest loss accounts for 20% of CO2 emissions, according to latest scientific analysis, so reducing deforestation is extremely important for the global climate. In addition some of the poorest people in the world and some of the richest biodiversity on the planet depend on tropical forest eco-systems.
“There needs to be more support in terms of governance of forests. In classroom sessions the group are exchanging their experiences of problems leading to criminality, corruption and unsustainable loss of forests, as well as sharing good practice and strategies to counter these problems.”
Visiting speakers from International NGOs, European Research Institutes and UK Aid agencies will address the group, along with sessions by CIDT staff and Associates.
The group is drawn from French and English speaking countries, includingCameroon, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Laos, Indonesia, Nepal & Vietnam, so translation facilities are available throughout the course.
The course is the first Improving Forest Governance course to be run by CIDT and has received funding support and 23 scholarships from UK DFID, the European Forestry Institute and Global Witness.
Des Mahony added: “There is a need to understand the changing agenda of international forest and natural resource management, in terms of climate change, wood energy production and sustainable economic production.
Improving forest governance, by involving a range of stakeholders to hold authorities to account to report corruption, intimidation and criminality in the forest industry, lies at the heart of these developments.”
The course is running for four weeks at Telford Campus, with field trips to visit timber companies, forests, and the London based Chatham House ‘Illegal logging update’ meeting. The content will be based on and applicable to real world situations.
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