Introduction and Background
In May – June 2021, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Integrated Land and Resource Governance (ILRG) program organized a series of webinars on community forestry. The webinar series was designed to raise national awareness and facilitate dialogue between stakeholders and the government on the status, challenges, and opportunities of community forest management (CFM). The webinars brought together academics, practitioners, and the government. The webinar series focused on four primary themes: the current status of CFM; scaling up CFM and enterprise development; benefit sharing and law enforcement; and how to move CFM forward.
The webinar series grew out of the ongoing work of the ILRG program in supporting partner institutions implementing CFM in Eastern and Muchinga Provinces. The objectives of the sessions were to:
- Raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities in scaling up CFM in Zambia;
- Provide a platform for sharing CFM experiences;
- Strengthen the linkages between local communities, government agencies, and communities of practice; and
- Generate new ideas to strengthen the role of community forest management groups (CFMGs) and critical stakeholders.
The webinar series was held for four consecutive weeks, with each week including three to four topical presentations, followed by a discussion period. Aside from the first week, each week’s presentations included two presentations from the community of practice, followed by a presentation by a District Forest Officer (DFO) presenting on the district-level experience of that week’s theme. Participation in the webinar sessions was high, with an average of 42 participants per session representing non-government organizations (NGOs), government, the private sector, academia, and communities. Individuals from 28 institutions participated, with the largest share (42 percent) representing NGOs. Feedback from these participants in the Zoom comment panel found that the majority found the webinar series to be a great success.
This report summarizes the presentations and discussion from the various CFM webinar sessions. Full recordings of the sessions can be found on YouTube.