Best of 2014: In Central Africa, policymakers’ knowledge of climate change found wanting

The lack of awareness is troubling for the world's second-largest area of tropical forest.
Local people participate in a forestry workshop in Democratic Republic of Congo. Many more such workshops are necessary in the region, a new study says, to raise people’s knowledge of fundamental concepts of climate change. Ollivier Girard/CIFOR photo

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BOGOR, Indonesia—In one of Forests News’ most unsettling stories of 2014, a study showed that policymakers working on forests and climate change in Central Africa often lack knowledge of fundamental concepts of those issues.

The research pointed to a greater need for capacity-building in the countries that are home to the world’s second-largest area of tropical forest.

Why this knowledge gap?

“Partly it’s new terminology; partly it’s the speedy growing concerns and diversity of stakeholders—it’s not just scientists who are focused on forests and climate change,” said CIFOR scientist Anne Marie Tiani, the study’s lead author.

“There is a wide variety of stakeholders with varying levels of knowledge, and they have all to be involved if we’re to have an impact.”

The research highlights an urgent need for more and better communication of rapidly evolving concepts, and for more capacity-building for those in Central Africa who are being called upon to defend the interests and positions of the region when dealing with climate change.

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