The SADC Protocol on Forestry of 2002 aims to promote the development, conservation, sustainable management and utilisation of all types of forest and trees; trade in forest products and achieve effective protection of the environment, and safeguard the interests of both the present and future generations.
The Community is aware that many people in the region depend on forests for their livelihood and that sustainable forest management is essential to the alleviation of poverty and recognises the role played by women, forest communities and private sector in forest management planning, implementation and developing forest-based industries.
The Protocol therefore provides guidance on the undertaking of national forest assessments and national forest policies, programmes and laws. Policies and mechanisms adopted in Member States should enable local people and women to effectively participate in forest management activities as well as respect the traditional knowledge related to forests. With the aim of poverty eradication in mind Member States should also strive to have substantial forest based industries within their territories.