Chinese and Mozambique Governments Support Unique Training for Companies Operating Oversees
The two day training, which is a collaboration between the State Forest Administration (SFA) of China and the National Directorate of Land and Forests (DNTF) in Mozambique will feature 50 participants, mostly Chinese companies involved in forest management and timber trade coming from the 8 most important provinces of the country for timber production.
The training slated for this week will attempt to initiate engagement of Chinese companies operating in Mozambique towards sustainable forest management whilst increasing understanding of the legal, institutional, social and cultural context and challenges in which Chinese timber companies are operating in Mozambique.
Further, the training is also expected to help identify the challenges and opportunities faced by Chinese companies involved in logging and or timber trade with a view to opening up communication channels with government agencies on both Chinese and Mozambican sides.
In July 2011, a delegation led by the National Director of DNTF Mozambique visited China and held meetings with His Excellency the Ambassador of Mozambique to China and senior officials of SFA led by SFA Deputy-General Director of, Mr. Su Ming. During this meeting, potential areas for cooperation between SFA and DNTF were identified with the two institutions agreeing to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the forest sector.
Some of the key areas that were identified as priority for co-operation were: Law enforcement, technical and financial capacity building of Chinese companies owning forest concessions in Mozambique to enable them effectively implement management plans, promotion of partnerships between Mozambican and Chinese companies for implementation of management plans, facilitation for the transition of simple license operators to forest concessionaires, translation and dissemination of forest legislation in the two countries in Portuguese, Chinese and/or English languages, reforestation/afforestation with involvement of local communities and private sector in order to address energy and conservation needs, development and sharing of databases about logging and timber trade, market information and improvement of the timber processing industry to ensure value addition to timber in Mozambique before export.
The aforementioned training comes on the heels of the July 2011 meeting in China and is expected to help boost efforts being made towards the signing of a formal MOU between the two countries on joint objectives towards sustainable forest management and trade.
Speaking during the opening of the training, the Director of the Department of Development Planning and Finance Management at the State Forest Administration (SFA), Dr. Fu Jianqan on his part noted that China has been working together with Mozambique on the development of mechanisms for cooperation in the forest sector.
The Cabo Delgado provincial Governor, Mr. Eliseu Machava, also noted that the training on guidelines will contribute to knowledge enhancement in the forest sector in Mozambique which will go a long way in ensuring that the forests of Mozambique are safeguarded.
“The Government of Mozambique is concerned by the withholding of the real cubage of timber to be exported. We hope that after this training, most of these issues will have been discussed, and that this meeting will be the step forward to finding common solutions for the challenges facing the forest sector in both countries. The two countries have a strong and healthy cooperation in many sectors, and this should serve as a great opportunity to strengthen our cooperation in the forest sector,” said Mr. Machava.
WWF Mozambique Forest Programme Coordinator Rito Mabunda noted that only coorperation between China and Mozambique would lead to a more sustainable future for forests in Mozambique.
“About 20% of the forest concessions in Mozambique are held by Chinese citizens with about one hundred Chinese companies being involved in the timber trade industry. This scenario shows the importance of working with the Chinese companies, in order to influence them for sustainable forest management in Mozambique”, said Mr. Mabunda.
WWF Coastal East Africa Initiative has been at the forefront in promoting government to government cooperation that seeks to find solutions that contribute to sustainable management of forests which over 20 million people living in and along coastal forests and landscapes in eastern Africa depend on. The survival of these people is highly dependent on the availability of basic natural resources such as timber, wood-fuel and charcoal, which are extracted from forests, causing a serious dilemma; their dependency and consequent exploitation of these resources destroying the very basis of their existence.
By John Kabubu and Alvo Ofumane