Picture1In June 2017, under the auspices of a formal agreement with the Italian Arma dei Carabinieri (AdC), FAO committed to joint activities in support of several Sustainable Development Goal targets, principally those on food security and nutrition and supporting local people’s livelihoods. 

A key component of this Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) focuses on training in forestry and environmental conservation and preservation and in the management and planning of critical events also induced by climate change. An additional activity to be developed within the framework of the MoU covers the development of a project to train national park rangers in various regions of the world, by strengthening of capacity in environmental conservation and preservation, and supporting the livelihoods of people living in protected areas.

In early 2017, and related to this MoU provision, a separate and similar agreement was signed by the AdC and the Government of Rwanda. Subsequently, the request from H.E. Francine Tumushime, Minister of Lands and Forestry, Rwanda, for multi-area technical support resulted, in January 2018, in the fielding of a joint AdC-FAO mission to Bugesera district in the Eastern province of Rwanda.

Famed for the magnificence of its landscapes and wildlife, Rwanda, a REDD+ country partner is known as the “land of a thousand hills”, a relatively small tropical country in Eastern Africa, it is also the land of mountain gorillas, which live in one of the country’s numerous national parks and reserves.Of the priority areas identified by the Minister – enforcing and establishing a land-use monitoring and evaluation information system, capacity building and development, and supporting the elaboration and implementation of the District forest management plans – the January mission was tasked with organizing training. Specifically, given the government’s prioritization of environmental conservation and preservation, it asked for support in improving the training of police officers and national park rangers.

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Fifty students comprising Rwandan police officers and national park rangers took part in the weeklong course. Two FAO experts were engaged to provide the technical content, while the AdC focused on the prevention and management of forest fires, police enforcement and regulations, antipoaching and instruction in international conventions such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In its core lectures, FAO addressed the interrelated issues of soil management and conservation, forestry, sustainable forest management, deforestation and the causes of illegal logging.

Training sessions were also held on the Google modules of Collect Earth and Earth Map, free, online resource tools jointly developed by FAO that allow users to analyze high and very high-resolution satellite imagery for a wide variety of purposes. In Rwanda, their applications can be used to assess deforestation and at ground level soil erosion and soil protection.

The initial feedback from the Government of Rwanda to the joint FAO–Arma dei Carabinieri initiative has been appreciative and positive, and it has already requested further support for training of Rwandan forestry officers as well as an additional course for intermediate-level police officers and national park rangers to strengthen their background in forestry, agriculture and the environment. This will strengthen the country's capacity as well as the continuous transfer of knowledge and experience.

Such commitment will help ensure effective implementation of REDD+ actions not only in Rwanda but in other countries around the world.

 

Read more at  http://www.fao.org/forestry/46915-0c0ffb55851c050b417e6995bb5bbeb5d.pdf