By Tione Andsen
Lilongwe, January 30, Mana: Government has retaliated its commitment to restoring 4.5 million hectares of degraded land and forests in the country by 2030.
Minister of Natural Resources and Climate Change, Eisenhower Mkaka made the remarks Monday when he opened a two day Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP) for Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) and Policy Accelerator workshop at Sunbird Capital Hotel, Lilongwe.
He said the commitment was made under the Bonn Challenge, at the World Conservation Congress, which took place in Hawaii, USA.
Mkaka said the Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
“The data collected in early 2022, shows that an estimated area of 1,808,381.81 hectares had been brought under restoration representing about 40 percent of the 4.5 million hectares,” the Minster added.
He said the country established National Cross Sectoral Forest Landscape Restoration Platform in 2021 comprising government and non-governmental organizations representation, to facilitate cross-sectoral coordination between different actors and players in the restoration space.
Mkaka said this was evident in the strong enabling conditions created through supportive policies, appropriate technical planning and collaborative efforts in Forest Landscape Restoration activities.
He pointed out that Restoration was taking place nationally and the collaborative effort of government institutions, private sector, international organizations and other sectors, for the collaborative effort required advancing complex and multi-sectoral agendas such as Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR).
The Minister said government has put in place a comprehensive framework, which would scale up FLR initiatives through identifying priority opportunities that could translate the potential of restoration into multiple benefits.
He added broad engagement of the public sector, private sector, traditional authorities and other local community organizations would be required in order to successfully implement FLR in the country.
Mkaka said the workshop would attempt to address policy bottlenecks related to incoherence and policy gaps, funding and capacity gaps by using the Policy Accelerator Programme supported by World Research Institute (WRI) and GIZ.
He thanked the organizers for the workshop WRI, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Alliance for Restoration of Forestry Ecosystems in Africa (AREECA) and Africa Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFRI00) for their financial and technical support.
Forest Economist and Senior Associate at World Resource Institute in USA, Rene Zamora said good policies and funding remains central to implementation drive to restore lands and forests in the country.
He said the restoration drive would largely depend on the livelihood of the communities saying they need to be provided with alternative means to avoid depending on fuel wood.
Programme Coordinator for Centre for Environmental and Policy Advocacy CEPA, Alfred Kwambwiri observed that the fines that are in forestry Act are not known to communities hence the need to do more awareness activities.
He said lack of stable power supply in the country has contributed negatively to the wonton cutting down of trees which calls for proper interventions.