Country for PR: Japan
Contributor: Kyodo News JBN
Thursday, July 02 2020 - 17:30
Soka Gakkai Joins with ITTO to Support Forest Restoration in Togo, West Africa
TOKYO, July 2, 2020 /Kyodo JBN, AsiaNet /--

On July 1, 2020, Minoru Harada, President of the Soka Gakkai Buddhist 
organization, met with Dr. Gerhard Dieterle, Executive Director of the 
International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), for the signing of a 
memorandum to launch a reforestation project providing income opportunities for 
women's groups in two rural areas of Togo. 

A donation of 10 million yen (US$93,300) will be made for the initial one-year 
phase of the project, to be launched on September 1, addressing climate change, 
poverty and gender issues in Togo, where forests are being lost rapidly and 
poverty is increasing. The coronavirus pandemic has also caused people to 
return to rural villages, increasing the strain on forest resources.

Mr. Harada commented that the Soka Gakkai is glad to support this project that 
will bring real benefit to rural women and their families.

Togo's forests are being lost due to farmland expansion, extreme weather 
events, and overuse of forests to provide household energy and housing. The 
Ministry for the Environment and Forest Resources (MERF) announced in 2018 that 
the rate of degradation of Togolese forests is one of the highest in the world. 

Dr. Dieterle expressed his gratitude, saying, "Often people talk about 
protecting the forest without concern for people's lives. This project will 
protect women's rights, boost the rural economy and food security and restore 
degraded forest." 

The project will be carried out by the Togo NGO "African Women's Network for 
Community Management of Forests" (REFACOF), a local partner of ITTO, and it 
will support women's groups in two of Togo's poorest prefectures; Blitta and 
Lacs. In  Pagala-gare village of Blitta Prefecture, forest restoration and 
enrichment planting will take place, and in Lacs Prefecture, a community forest 
for fuelwood will be created on a plot made available by the chieftaincy of 
Agouegan village. In both villages, agroforestry trees will also be planted on 
family land. 

Increasing women's income will contribute to the realization of gender 
equality. Forest restoration mitigates the damage caused by climate change and 
strengthens community resilience. 

This project is in line with Togo's National Adaptation Plan (NAP) for climate 
change and Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the UNFCCC Paris 
Agreement of 2015. It will contribute to SDGs 1 (No Poverty), 5 (Gender 
Equality), 13 (Climate Action), and 15 (Life on Land). 

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The Soka Gakkai is a global community-based Buddhist organization that promotes 
peace, culture and education centered on respect for the dignity of life. It 
promotes the SDGs, education for sustainability, and protection of the natural 
environment through projects and institutions including the Soka Institute for 
Environmental Studies and Research of the Amazon. The Soka Gakkai has 12 
million members around the world, who contribute to society based on the 
humanistic philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism. 

Source: Soka Gakkai

Joan Anderson
Office of Public Information
Soka Gakkai 
Tel: +81-80-5957-4711
E-mail: anderson[at]