École régionale post-universitaire d'aménagement et de gestion intégrés des forêts tropicales (ERAIFT)
Africanizing tropical forest management, via ERAIFT - a regional postgraduate school
Tropical forest management has to be able to juggle forest-based subsistence activities - e.g. farming, hunting, fishing and gathering of firewood - with encroaching urbanization, demographic growth and the growing involvement of tropical forest resources in the global economy.
UNESCO launched postgraduate training in tropical forest management in 1999 at the University of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Named ERAIFT (École régionale post-universitaire d'aménagement et de gestion intégrés des forêts tropicales), the school trains some 30 specialists from francophone and lusophones countries in Africa each year and has courses at masters (DESS) and PhD (doctorat) levels. The ERAIFT DESS diploma is recognized by the CAMES (Conseil africain et malgache pour l'enseignement supérieur).
It is training a new generation of African specialists and decision-makers to apply the ecosystem approach in situ to forest management in Africa. The curriculum notably spans:
- integrated management of tropical forests;
- collaborating with local communities;
- improving conditions for local populations;
- sustainable development.