Zim set to curb deforestation

HARARE - With an estimated deforestation rate of 300 000 hectares per year, Zimbabwe has moved in to adopt a policy that seeks to enhance forests sustainability.

This development is expected to benefit the country from numerous shared global synergies, thus maintaining the economic, social and environmental values of all types of forests, for the benefit of present and future generations.

Government agency Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe (FCZ) met with various stakeholders last Friday to deliberate on United Nations Forum of Forests (UNFF)’s policy proposal of adopting non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests (NLBI) which guides voluntary member states in sustainable forest management (SFM).

This comes as every year, forest loss and degradation is costing the global economy between $2 to $4,5 trillion in lost revenue, according to a global study by the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity in 2010.

“The forest instrument by the UNFF seeks to reverse the loss of forests cover worldwide through sustainable forest management,” FCZ’s managing director Darlington Duwa told Daily News on Sunday on the sidelines of the first meeting.

“Zimbabwe until recently when we received some funding from the Government of Japan through the Food and Agricultural Organisation, had no capacity, let alone raise awareness.”

He  said they were currently engaging stakeholders to come up with agreed strategies on implementing the instrument, monitoring systems and report to the UN.

“I can foresee a very big impact of implementing this instrument. We have prioritised on the issues that Forestry Commission needs to address in this country. We will ensure that we formulate our own national forest resources management policy and implement it in line with global trends,” said Duwa.

The purpose of the instrument is to strengthen political commitment and action for SFM at all levels in order to enhance forest-based economic, social and environmental benefits.

It also seeks a framework for national action and international cooperation.

This will enhance the contribution of forests to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals including the Millennium Development Goals, in particular with the respect to poverty eradication and sustainability.

Duwa also took the opportunity to warn Zimbabweans to be cautious during the impending dry season where fires are usually rampant in time to prepare for the farming season.

Forests in Zimbabwe continue to shrink and decline in composition and quality due to human encroachment and associated human activities such as land clearing for agriculture, forest fires and tree cutting for tobacco curing.

To date FCZ has put in place efforts to address the problem of deforestation in Zimbabwe such as statutory instrument SI 112 of 2001 and SI 116 of 2012 which are meant to control the exploitation and exportation of timber while promoting forests conservation.

FCZ recently concluded a process to come up with a comprehensive policy document that will consolidate 10 key issues in line with global policy on forests resources management.


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