This brief is a summary of the main outcomes of a forest policy workshop on “Policies to
increase forest cover in Ethiopia” held on 18-19 September 2007 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
This brief is a summary of the main outcomes of a forest policy workshop on “Policies to increase forest cover in Ethiopia” held on 18-19 September 2007 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The workshop was organized by the Environmental Economics Policy Forum for Ethiopia based at the Ethiopian Development Research Institute and sponsored by the Environment for Development initiative of University of Gothenburg. The workshop attracted participants from federal and regional governments, non-governmental organizations, donors, research institutes and universities in Ethiopia and researchers/experts from other countries.
During the one-and-a-half days of the workshop a number of papers were presented and discussed and future directions were discussed during a breakout session towards the end of the workshop.
Presentations included reviews of federal level forest policies and institutions, the state of forests and forest related policies for some of the regions of the country, forestry research and training in Ethiopia, lessons from experience of participatory forest management in Ethiopia, and some lessons from economics and international experience focusing on participatory forest management.
The presentations were very rich in details regarding past and existing policies as well as empirical facts. Although it is impossible to summarize the workshop in one paragraph, the following narrative encapsulates an important strand of the presentations:
Ethiopian forests have decreased gradually over a long period of time and covers today only 3.6% of the land. While the new forest policy has a target that the forest cover should increase to 9% within five years, this ambition is still not reflected in the actual situation in the regions where, despite large scale interventions, forest cover is still shrinking. In order to reach its forestry potential Ethiopia needs not only have an effective forestry service but also attract the investments from individuals, communities and commercial actors. For this to happen the following is needed: clear property rights, appropriate institutions and organization, technical support, and appropriate policies and clear guidelines.