Sustainable management of teak forests in the spotlight
The contribution of teak to national economies took centre stage at the 4th World Teak Conference which has opened in Accra, hosted by the Government of Ghana.
The global conference is organized yearly by the International Teak Information Network (TEAKNET) and the host nation in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the Teakwood Working Party of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).
The conference brings together all stakeholders in the sector to brainstorm on the future of cultivating the tree, and acts as a platform for stakeholder interactions, developing strategies and dissemination of new ideas.
Teak contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
With only 8 years until the deadline to achieve the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, there is need to speed up our efforts and initiatives across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ghana’s Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel Abu Jinapor said issues to be discussed at the conference go to the core of the overarching objectives of the SDGs and other global environmental and socio-economic goals aimed at addressing the global challenges that we face, including poverty, hunger, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice for all.
The contributions of teak to the economy cannot be underestimated. In Africa, countries are seizing the teak opportunity with Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo, Nigeria and Tanzania emerging as teakwood traders.
“Teak is a major asset for the economies and attracts large investments from the private sector,” said Yurdi Yasmi, FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Africa.
Teak production can contribute to climate change mitigation, forest and landscape restoration, and other relevant strategies and action plans to achieve the SDGs, he added.
In alignment with the African Union Sustainable Forest Management Framework (2020-2030) and through the Ministerial Call on Sustainable Wood and the Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World (SW4SW) Initiative in Africa, member countries, FAO and other partner organizations are promoting the responsible production and consumption of sustainable wood and the uptake of sustainable wood products which includes teak.
Although natural teak forests, covering around 29 million hectares worldwide, have been declining in Southeast Asia, teak is now planted in about 70 countries worldwide with teak plantations estimated to cover 5 to 7 million hectares, and the momentum is there to favour expansion of planted teak.