The 2011 Future Policy Award celebrates the most inspiring, innovative and influential forest policies worldwide. The Gambia, alongside Bhutan, Nepal, Rwanda, Switzerland and the USA, is in the running for this prestigious award.
The Gambia Community Forest Policy aims to achieve sustainable forest management and poverty alleviation by handing control of forests to the communities that use them. Gambia is leading the trend of reforestation in Western and Central Africa by showing a net increase in forest cover of 8.5% over the last two decades.
The Future Policy Award awards the most exemplary national polices that create better living conditions for current and future generations. The focus for 2011 is forests, and the year has been declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations.
The director of the World Future Council, Alexandra Wandel says, “With the Future Policy Award we want to cast a spotlight on policies that lead by example. The aim of the World Future Council is to raise global awareness of visionary policies and speed up policy action in the interests of present and future generations.”
Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity and Honorary Councillor of the WFC said, “These six shortlisted candidates all demonstrate leadership towards the achievement of the 2020 Biodiversity targets: halving deforestation, restoring forests worldwide and ensuring that all forests are managed sustainably. Through the implementation of these policies, we can achieve the 2050 vision, which is a future of life in harmony with nature.”
The Gambia Community Forest Policy includes a far reaching tenure transition of forest land from state ownership to permanent ownership by communities. The policy has also achieved a reduction in illegal logging and the incidence of forest fires in community forest areas as well as contributing to the development of new markets for branch wood and other forest products which benefit women and rural populations economically.