Finland has urged the European Union to adopt reforestation as one of the themes of its newly announced partnership with Africa.
“Every year as much as two million hectares of forest is lost in Africa. One of the main reasons for this is the collection of firewood and clearing of arable land,” Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä (Centre) stated yesterday at the Forest Academy, a meeting of decision makers from the EU organised by Finland and Sweden.
Finland, he revealed, is proposing that a forest fund be established as part of the so-called Africa—Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs, a comprehensive partnership programme announced in September by Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission. One of the main objectives of the programme is to create up to 10 million jobs for youth in Africa by 2023.
Leppä pointed out that the sustainable use of forest resources would not only support efforts to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but also promote employment in the rural areas of Africa.
“Investments worth billions are needed in afforestation, forestry and the management and protection of forests,” said Leppä.
Finland, the most forested country in the EU, is set to promote sustainable forest management and afforestation also as part of its Presidency of the European Union in 2019.
Mika Anttonen, the founder and chairman of the board at St1, has been one of the most vocal advocates of reforesting Africa in Finland, saying repeatedly that reforestation is one of the key means to combat climate change and absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
The Finnish energy company has even launched a commercial project with the ambitious objective of reforesting 85 per cent of Sahara.
“The positive effects would particularly include those related to climate refugees,” Anttonen said in his speech at last year’s Forest Days, an event organised annually in Helsinki by the Finnish Forest Association.
Finnfund, a Finnish finance development company, has similarly said it has invested hundreds of millions of euros in commercial afforestation projects in Africa.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi