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It is an exciting time to be involved in Mozambique, where much potential exists to both improve livelihoods via the forest sector and conserve biodiversity. The country is making great strides toward peace, development, and recovery after a long civil war and years of famine. Due to its history, Mozambique ’s natural resource base remains largely untapped, and the country is quickly becoming a post-conflict success story, with a largely transparent government that is attracting much foreign investment.
Through consultations with USAID Mozambique, US Forest Service identified Global Solidarity Fund International (GSFI) as a viable partner for collaboration in Mozambique. Together, USFS and GSFI are working to implement the “5F Program: Forests, Finance, Food, Fuel and Future.” The 5F Program is an innovative response to the need for development in Niassa Province, in Northern Mozambique. The overall goal of this activity is to promote economic growth and sustainable development in Northern Mozambique by both investing in the timber sector and supporting a series of development activities to compliment and support the aforementioned investments. There are three components of the program, which are each comprised of distinct activities that collectively achieve this program’s objectives. The first component is a for-profit commercial forestry venture, which creates jobs for the local population in addition to bringing in private foreign investment. The second component of the 5F Program is community-based development, which encompasses such vital needs as access to fuel, adequate food production, and nutrition for the people of northern Mozambique, particularly on the Lichinga plateau. The third component of the 5F Program is a concerted emphasis on environmental integrity, which emerges in the form of both conservation and the restoration of degraded lands. The 5F Program has received assistance through a USAID Global Development Alliance award to assist with augmenting technical capacity among the people of Niassa Province and establishing protected areas and responsibly managed native ecosystems. Direct US Forest Service involvement has thus far included grant management, and technical assistance in the areas of fire prevention, community forestry, and termite control.
GSFI, a private equity initiative taken by the Diocese of Vasteras, Church of Sweden, designs and invests in forest projects in the developing world which yield environmental, economic and social benefits, and has been involved in economic and social development through forest investment projects in sub-Saharan Africa for many years. Like US Forest Service, GSFI has identified Mozambique as a country with a high potential for poverty reduction through sustainable forest management. Although more than 50% of Mozambique ’s population lives on less than $1.00 a day and there is widespread unemployment in rural areas, experience has shown that investments in the forest sector can rapidly create employment while managing the resource sustainably. A 16-year civil war ended in 1992, but was followed by major flooding in 2000 and 2001, then a severe drought in 2002. As a result of these hardships, poverty remains widespread. GSFI supports profitable commercial ventures that increase the forest area under responsible management, and contribute to enhanced habitat for biodiversity, empowered communities and local capacity building. US Forest Service and GSFI both recognize this new era of peace and stability as opportunity to act in Mozambique.
USFS Mozambique reports on FRAME:
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