The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have joined forces to protect West Africa’s forests and help safeguard the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on them.

The three institutions will carry out a five-year project aimed at strengthening sustainable forest and land management, addressing trans-boundary forest threats, maximizing the livelihoods of forest-depended communities, and building climate resilience across 15 countries in West Africa.

The project will improve knowledge of forest dynamics, support legal reform, establish and share best community-based forest practices across the region. Forests and woodlands are vital for West Africa’s people and biodiversity. Covering about 72 million hectares, West Africa’s forests and wetlands are an important source of fuel, food and livelihood for millions of people.

Yet, they are exceedingly affected by deforestation and degradation caused by various drivers including unsustainable agricultural expansion and illegal logging. The loss of forest cover in West Africa was four times higher between 1990-2015 than at global level.

The new project will support the implementation of the priorities outlined in the Forest Convergence Plan, including: improving knowledge of forest resources and harmonizing legislative frameworks for forest policy.

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