“Working on Fire” Supports South African Youth


“South Africa’s youth must use this opportunity to expand their horizons and find a role for themselves in the future development of the forestry sector at home and beyond,” Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told the 14th World Forestry Congress. The “Working on Fire” (WoF) programme played a lead role at the opening of the Congress, showing how it is providing jobs for young men and women, as well as a critical community service.

A key theme of the conference is creating a sustainable future for forests and people. “Empowering women and youth in the forestry sector can create significant development opportunities and generate important spill over benefits,” Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Chair of the African Union said.  The WoF programme, run by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, employs 93% of youth from previously disadvantaged communities and trains them in integrated fire management skills. More than one third are female – the highest rate of female employment in any organisation.

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Conectando al mundo y sus bosques.

FAO, IUFRO, INBAR, WRI, IIED, FSC, WWF, SGS, Working on Fire  y muchas organizaciones más se han reunido para compartir sus aprendizajes, sus éxitos y sobre todos los siguientes pasos en el trabajo que tienen en los bosques del mundo. 6 años han pasado desde el encuentro en Argentina ahora, el XIV Congreso Forestal Mundial es en Sudáfrica.

Bosques y personas: Invirtiendo en un un futuro sostenible. El lema del congreso nos expresa la relevancia que tienen los bosques para el mundo, para nuestro futuro.

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Small Country, Big on Forestry Governance

Gorilla mother and child in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla mother and child in Volcanoes National Park

By any standard, Rwanda is one of the smallest countries in the world with an area of only 26,338 square kilometers (10,169 square miles) according to the United Nations Statistics Division. According to 2015 figures, more than 12 million people call Rwanda home or 472.5 people per square kilometer – ranking it 24th amongst world nations for population density.

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Los bosques de México en el Congreso Forestal Mundial

Bosque en la Sierra Juárez de Oaxaca.

Bosque en la Sierra Juárez de Oaxaca.

México es un país que gusta a mucha gente. Con solo decir que vienes de este país las personas quieren practicar las palabras que saben del “español mexicano” pues incluso a los hispano hablantes les gustan nuestra forma de hablar.

Por eso no es de extrañar que a la sesión de México y sus experiencias en el manejo sustentable tuviera tan buena audiencia.

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“Working on Fire”: the life of a single mother


“Working on Fire” (WoF) was launched in September 2003 as part of the South African Government’s initiative to create jobs and to alleviate poverty. Today WoF employs more than 5,000 young men and women who have been fully trained as veld and forest fire fighters. They are stationed in more than 200 teams throughout South Africa.

I am one of them.

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Are we confusing information with communication?


On our fourth day of the World Forestry Congress, the word from communicators in the halls in Durban is: enough of the overly packed PPTs and the one-way presentations – we need to improve our communications to build new and real understanding on how we will sustain forests for people, and inspire positive action.

One of the most popular plenary sessions at WFC so far – If trees could talk – explored exactly this topic: how can we improve our communication on forests? How can we move beyond ‘presenting information’ and toward ‘communicating’ to achieve our objectives to sustain forests?

Read more on the “Trees That Talk” blog

Brushing up charcoal’s image

Ms Wanjira Mathai.

Ms Wanjira Mathai.

You cannot handle charcoal without getting your hands dirty. Similarly, the charcoal value chain in sub-Saharan Africa, a multi-million dollar enterprise, has all the makings of a dirty business. In many countries, powerful cartels control the trade in charcoal, and the business is shrouded in mystery, largely out of the reach of governments’ regulation.

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How Kriengkrai Cheechaung and fellow indigenous persons made it to a global forests meeting


The RECOFTC members at the World Forestry Congress

The voices of rural and forest-dwelling communities—the true stewards of the world’s forests—must be heard in the urgent debate on the future of the world’s forests.

But bringing people from these areas to international meetings where forests are discussed is not an easy undertaking. Most members of such communities live in remote areas far from airports, may be averse to travel, and often, they do not speak international languages.

RECOFTC, The Center for People and Forests, is one of the organizations that sponsored a group of indigenous people to the World Forestry Congress (WFC 2015), currently underway in Durban. Caroline Liou, Communications Manager of RECOFTC, was involved in the process.

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Deforestation-free: An important step toward full sustainability


On Monday here at the World Forestry Congress, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) released its latest assessment of the state of the planet’s forests. While the global rate of deforestation has slowed, it remains unacceptably high in many tropical regions.

The Sustainable Development Goals, to be agreed next month at the United Nations, call for a halt to deforestation by 2020. The FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment confirms we need to work faster and smarter to get anywhere near this target by 2020.

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