IFSA Online Short Course Team


Deforestration Halt Banner

Bianca Curcio

 IAAS Switzerland


Some members of IAAS got the opportunity to join together with 60 youth delegates coming from different associations to be part of this years international conference to halt deforestation. Organized by IFSA, the international forest student association, the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) and the collaborative partnerships on forest (CPF)  this conference was held at the FAO headquarters in Rome the 19.2-22.2.2018.

Youth in Discussion Conference

The first day was dedicated to empower youth during the organized youth training day. “Let’s shake the coconut tree” joint us as our slogan over all the upcoming sessions.

We had interesting discussion on  how youth engagement needs to be part of achieving sustainable agriculture and forestry management. Courtrey Paisley, current director of YPARD powerful stated that supporting youth local leaders will lead to an successful youth movement with a clear and prepared message “ what you have to say”.

Cora van Oosten, from the centre for development innovation at Wageningen University hosted a workshop for the youth delegates on “how to think landscape”. To successfully work towards more sustainable solutions, we need to work with the local community and create a framework able to connect the different stakeholders involved. That’s how we achieve a sustainable management enabling us to deal with dynamic landscapes such as agriculture and forests.

When thinking landscape we learnt to spin a net like a spider including the following aspects.

  • A common understanding on ecosystem services and how to work transboundrial
  • Various stakeholders and evaluate their relations between each
  • The capacity of institutions
  • Possibilities of stable investments
  • Sustainable and adaptive management practices

Cora Van Oosten

When spinning this web smartly around these aspects we will be able to tackle current challenges and make positive and sustainable changes.

“Think out of the box; think outside of the forest” – Cora van Oosten

The Gender Training hosted by Taylor Tandelli, gender and forestry specialist at FAO, was an incredible session. We learnt why including all gender into actions is” not only the required but also the smart and the right thing to do”. It was very interesting to see this important issue from different perspectives and see how strongly it is already and should be further addressed in our global agenda.

The afternoon was fully dedicated on Design Thinking. The youth delegates were given the opportunity to actively find strategies on different problem statements concerning the challenge to halt deforestation. When you bring together the brightest minds of youth in a room and let them work for some hours the most incredible ideas arise. The results of this workshop will help IFSA in their contribution to this years work plan for implementation of the UN strategic plan for forests (UNSPF) that is presented to the 13th session of the UN forum on forest.

Let me present the core team responsible for the successful online short course.

I was member of selected 20 motivated youth core team responsible to create a short course dealing with the interesting topic on halting deforestation. We all worked hard into the night, keen to simplify the content of the different sessions in an easy and for everyone accessible way. It was a great pleasure to work with this engaged and amazing team. Take yourself 15 minutes a day to learn about different aspects to halt deforestation.

(Follow: http://www.ifsa.net/shortcourse)

Keep shaking the coconut tree with us!

That’s what everyone did during the upcoming conference. The video of all the important delegates from all over the world present at the diverse discussion panels of the conference, dancing the youth song “shake the coconut tree” got viral. When talking about halting deforestation we deal with the forgotten sector, so stated Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary from the UN Convention on Climate Change. She made it clear that the different topics are interconnected and we need to work across sectors. We finally should start moving away from looking at threads towards finding the opportunities to take actions.

“We have to move from the global need to the individual motivation “

– Christina Figueres

Youth in Discussion IFSA IAAS

One of the main drivers for deforestation is clearly agricultural activity. Therefore a lot of experts such as Tony Simons, Director General of the world Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) expressed the importance of sustainable production systems. Agroforestry systems and integrated production approaches need to be improved in their implementation.

“We need to think of a sustainable intensification including the ecological, social and economical dimensions”

– Kwesi Atta-Krah, Director international institute of tropical agriculture (IITA)

Youth speaks up  – Marouane Bar from IAAS marocco gives valuable inputs during a panel discussion.

Youth Speaks up IAAS

I had an amazing time during these days that were  full of new impressions, different perspectives and interesting encounters around “shaking the coconut tree” to halt deforestation. The key message I will take with me is that we need to train agriculture and forest associations on how to empower local communities for further scaling the success of sustainable resource management and production system. Going from the local conditions and looking at all the value chain of a product ending not only at the consumer but goes beyond until its final stage.

Andjela Komnenic
Andjela Komnenic
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