By Gift Briton

After a highly competitive bidding process, Kenya is set to host the 27th  International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Congress in 2029, just a year before the era of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) closes.

IUFRO is a non-profit global network of forest scientists, who work together on a voluntary basis to enhance the understanding of the ecological, economic and social aspects of forests and trees.

This is the first time ever since its inception in 1892 that the congress will be held in the African continent, ahead of the 26th IUFRO World Congress that will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2024.

“We are thrilled about the decision to take the IUFRO World Congress to Africa for the first time in the history of our Organization. The beautiful country of Kenya is an oasis of biodiversity, has strong forest traditions and a lively forest research community that is well-connected internationally. This makes it an attractive Congress venue in many respects,” says IUFRO President Dr. John Parrotta.

The congress will offer the world of forest science an excellent opportunity to take stock of the role of forests in the achievement of the global environmental, social and economic agenda.

It will also feature the crucial roles that African forests, forestry and forest science have been playing in attaining these goals at global, regional and local levels.

“Our aim is to host the strongest-ever delegation of African participants to an IUFRO World Congress in terms of numbers, presentations, and exhibitions. They will jointly demonstrate with international partners and peers the value of worldwide cooperation in advancing global partnerships in forestry research and development, which is the theme of the Congress,” says Dr. Joshua Cheboiwo, the Director, Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) – the Host Organization.

Profiling the status of Africa’s forestry in the global arena by 2030 has been at the center of the successful bid presented by KEFRI on behalf of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry and other ministries of the Government of Kenya.

Also supporting the bid were other IUFRO Member Organizations based in Kenya including The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the African Forest Forum (AFF).

In addition, there is a strong national partnership with the Kenya Forest Service, the Green Belt Movement and the University of Nairobi. Kenya counts on the support of its neighbours and other partners across Africa in extending the experience of Congress guests beyond its national borders.

At the congress, African scientists and actors in the forest sector will showcase regional efforts to ensure that the aspirations of Africa as captured in the Agenda 2063 will be on course.

This Continental agenda spanning 2013-2063 was launched during the 50th anniversary of the founding of the African Union (AU) by African Heads of States and Governments. It is the long-term development vision for the continent in all aspects including the environment and forestry sectors.

The AU Commission endorsed the Congress bid by the Republic of Kenya since it contributes to the African continent’s development aspirations by 2030 and beyond.