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Africa Practitioners Network

The Africa Practitioners Network provides structured practical experience, training and support to create a professional network of experts from governments, companies and NGOs. It aims to build capacity to understand and implement more sustainable governance and management of the continent’s natural resources.

What are our priorities?

The Africa Practitioners Network is establishing a credible capacity building programme to help develop long-term, local capacity in West and Central Africa. This will support a growing pool of competent, local practitioners working on the key social and environmental issues in forestry and agriculture; they will be able to build on new policies and initiatives, in order to improve the governance and management of natural resources. We also seek greater integration between the different initiatives themselves to make them easier to implement.

What does the network do?

The Africa Practitioners Network delivers benefits in four ways.

1.     Partnerships

We are developing partnerships with other organisations in the region that can support the delivery of, or would benefit from, capacity building.

2.     Mentored practical experience

We provide opportunities for trainees to participate in real audits for FSC and RSPO schemes, and HCV assessments, where experienced auditors closely supervise and mentor the participants. This practical experience gives trainees an understanding of the methods and complexities of these mechanisms. Visit our APN Practical Experience Programme page. 

3.     Formal training

We offer formal training courses on a range of subjects including HCV assessor licencing, RSPO lead auditors, and RSPO for producers. We are developing and delivering new courses in collaboration with local partners on monitoring the implementation of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT)/Voluntary Partnership Agreements for NGOs, ensuring free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and consultation.

4.     Interactions between initiatives

We will run workshops bringing together people at the forefront of different initiatives and other stakeholders, to find practical ways to achieve their common objectives in the region.

Why is it important?

Forest management and agriculture are rapidly expanding in West and Central Africa. A variety of policies and initiatives exist which aim to safeguard the benefits and minimise the risks arising from this expansion. These include voluntary certification schemes, such as RSPO and FSC; government land-use planning initiatives in individual countries; and international initiatives such as REDD+ and EU FLEGT.

Governments, NGOs and companies all need technical skills to implement and benefit from these policies and initiatives. Lacking these skills, organisations of all types rely heavily on external experts, undermining the long-term sustainability of forest and agricultural management. 

Funding and implementation partners

Our funders and partners include the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Forest Governance, Markets and Climate Programme; Tropenbos; Rainforest Alliance; WWF-Cameroon; IUCN Central Region Programme; Resource Trust.  

Contact programme manager