The report "The Role of Forests in a Green Economy Transformation in Africa" was launched at UNEP's Side Event at the World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa. 

Forests are one of the most mismanaged resources globally. Among the underlying causes to this situation is the fact that forests are seriously undervalued and many of its environmental benefits are not adequately captured by market values. Uncoordinated policies and poor governance has fueled corruption, rent-seeking and illegal activities all of which affect forest cover and forest quality, especially in Africa. At the same time, forests have a critical role to play in green growth. They can help meet the growing demands for food, fiber, biofuel, shelter and other bio-products as the world population is expected to increase to 9 billion people by 2050. They also have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

This report provides an analysis of the role of Africa’s forests in the continent’s future green economies. The report points to stark, problematic realities for people of Africa, markets and ecosystems from continuing deforestation and forest degradation. It also offers a glimpse of the positive potential of forests as countries shift toward resource-efficient and sustainable green economies.

Drawing on cases studies from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa, this report looks at successes and failures, obstacles and opportunities for forests in Africa. What is clear is that democratic decision-making and local leadership are crucial to enjoy sustainable benefits of this natural capital. Access to financing and green investment will also be imperative.

UNEP and partners have been working in recent years to fill the gaps in knowledge and to help countries in Africa and elsewhere to understand and attribute to forests their true values, both in terms of the contribution to national economic development and the fight against climate change. The objective of the WFC session was to unveil and discuss recent publications aiming to enhance knowledge on Africa’s forests, especially their contribution to national economies and the role in a green economy transformation.

The following publications were presented at this event:

  1. The Role of Forests in a Green Economy Transformation in Africa
  2. The Role and Contribution of Montane Forests and related Ecosystem Services to the Kenya Economy
  3. Forest Ecosystems in the transition to a Green Economy and the Role of REDD+ in the United Republic of Tanzania 
  4. Benefits of Forests Ecosystems in Zambia and the Role of REDD+ in a Green Economy Transformation


Event Moderator: Mette L. Wilkie, UNEP Director for Environmental Policy Implementation


 See the announcement and links to the publication on UNEP News Centre.