West African Ministers Adopt Forests and Desertification Convergence Plan
12 September 2013: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) convened a meeting of ministers responsible for forests and wildlife, during which a convergence plan for the conservation and sustainable management of forest ecosystems in West Africa and the sub-regional action program to combat desertification was discussed and adopted. The meeting also considered the status of ecosystems in the sub-region as well as the policies and politics concerning forests and sustainable land management as they support synergies between forest management and efforts to combat desertification.
The Convergence Plan that was adopted aims to improve intra sub-regional cooperation in the area of forestry and wildlife and address key issues of common interest including: harmonization of forest policies and laws; participation in the rehabilitation of fragile and degraded ecosystems; facilitation of decentralized management of forest and wildlife resources and improved resource governance; and enhancement of forest ecosystem services.
Historically, the plan for the conservation and sustainable management of forests was adopted by the meeting of Ministers of Forestry and the Environment held in June 2012. The sub-regional plan to combat desertification was adopted in 1999 and subsequently updated to reflect the 10-Year Strategic Plan of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
The meeting was supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) [Congo Basin Forest Partnership Press Release] [FAO Press Release]