Local Communities hold the keys to our forests

16 November 2008 | News story

Historic breakthrough for Participatory Forest Management in Sudan

For the first time in Sudan’s history, foresters and community representatives from North, South, East and West came together at a conference in Khartoum to share successful experiences involving local communities in forest management.

Forest degradation in Sudan is a serious threat to the environment and people. Currently, forest and woodlands cover only 10% of land surface. Every year, more forests are converted to agricultural land while poverty drives local communities to cut down trees for short term economic gains.

Yet forests in the hot and arid climate of Sudan play a critical role in supporting local livelihoods as well as the national economy. As such, the revised Sudan Draft Forest Policy of 2006 recognizes the need to involve local communities as partners in forest management to successfully restore and manage the Sudanese Forests.

Poverty is behind all of our problems. We need to find out together how our forests can help alleviate poverty”, Dr. Mohamed Kamil Shawgi, member of the Board, Forest National Corporation, Sudan.

Successful implementation of Participatory Forest Management nationwide in Sudan remains problematic because of land tenure issues, the lack of land use plans, insufficient funds for community mobilization and inappropriate levels of capacity.

However, conference participants identified the required mechanisms and steps needed to push Participatory Forest Management forward in Sudan. These include the inclusion of additional paragraphs in the 2006 Draft Federal Policy, the revision of State level policies, discussions with all stakeholders as well as the piloting of management agreements at the community level.

A select committee will follow up on the recommendations generated at the conference and successful community forestry examples such as at the El Ain Forest, originally supported by SOS-Sahel and the Community Environmental Management Planning process of FNC, UNHCR and IUCN in Eastern Sudan, will be replicated.


This conference was held from the 10th to the 12th November 2008 in the Sahelian Training Centre of the Forest National Corporation in Khartoum. It was attended by more than 60 participants, organized by the National Forest Corporation (FNC) and supported by IUCN’s Livelihoods and Landscapes Initiative and UNHCR.