Organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the event brought together regional governors, chiefs, several ministries and nongovernmental organisations.
Mariatou Njie, speaking on behalf of the FAO representative in The Gambia, said the meeting aimed to reflect on what the experience of community forestry is and its contribution to food security and nutrition in the past two decades.
She added: “As you may be aware, the recognition of the role of forest food security and nutrition is increasing. The first international conference on forest for food security and nutrition held at FAO headquarters in Rome in May confirmed the multiple benefits of forests and trees for food security and nutrition.
“In this light, the FAO’s committee on forestry (Cofo) discussed forests and the zero hunger challenge at its 22nd session in June 2014. Based on the recognition that enhancing food security and nutrition through sustainable forestry requires a comprehensive, inter-sectoral approach, Cofo recommended that FAO explores opportunities for collaboration among agriculture, fisheries, forestry and other land use sectors to promote the application of integrated approaches across the landscape to enhance food security and nutrition. This workshop is expected to recommend actions at local and national levels for the development and effective implementation of cross-sectoral forestry and nutrition and food security and nutrition policies.”
Also speaking at the event, Lamin Queen Jammeh, governor of North Bank Region called for grassroots involvement. He said: “It is very important to involve the grass root actors in the rural area. Development cannot be done in the forestry sector without bringing in the rural people.”
In his speech, Mr Sambou Nget, director of forestry, said the importance of the forest cannot be over emphasised. “Globally,” he pointed out, “millions of people depend on forests and trees outside forests for their food security and nutrition, either directly through consumption and sale of food harvested from forests and trees, and indirectly through forest related employment, forest ecosystem services, and forest based biodiversity.
“With increasing population however, the equilibrium that existed between human needs and these natural systems is becoming seriously threatened therefore starting a vicious cycle of forest destruction caused by rampant bush fires, over exploitation of forest resources and unsustainable agricultural practices.”]]>