As the 45th year of the International Forestry Students’ Symposium (IFSS) comes around, we have an opportunity to reflect on the growth of IFSA, the world’s largest association for forest and related sciences students. The 2017-2018 IFSA year has seen an incredible amount of growth, with the below providing just a snapshot.
Increased global recognition of youth as a valuable partner
- IFSA spearhead the creation of the United Nations Forum on Forest (UNFF) Major Group Children and Youth Work Plan 2018 – 2022 and presented this initiative in the 13th session of United Forum on Forest.
- The IFSA delegation and training held alongside the CPF Conference on Deforestation left a monumental impact on conference participants and influenced further global policy platforms (UNFF, HLPF, SDG 15 Expert Group meeting, etc.)
- IFSA developed an upcoming 3-year project on forest education and the future forest sector, with a special focus on green jobs. This project, is expected to come into force in October 2018 and once finalized, will provide new traineeships and opportunities for IFSA members.
- IFSA has been awarded a 3-year ERASMUS+ Partnership grant with the European Commission. These funds (50,000 euros annually) will further our work in enhancing the employability of members with increased training and workshops.
- IFSA has also built new partnerships with the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) and the Forests Dialogue (TFD) offering opportunities for greater regional involvement and internships.
Strengthened IFSA Network
- Increased IFSA membership of both associate members (3 new) and local committees (12).
- Regional meetings in every IFSA region that tackled relevant themes and reached hundreds of forestry students.
- IFSA Supporting and Alumni organization has been created to offer a new platform for alumni to coordinate and stay in the IFSA Community.
Enhanced knowledge and skills for members
- New online content produced by IFSA members, such as the IFSA COFO Series, Short Course on Halting Deforestation, and monthly Tree News.
- New workshops conducted: Halting Deforestation training, social media bootcamp, FAO sustainable forest management toolbox consultation
- Upcoming projects include a restoration project accelerator for 100 youth in Nairobi this August and an urban forestry ideation session held this November in Mantova, Italy.
I could not be more proud of this association that we have collectively built and shaped over 45 years.
The strength of IFSA comes from the individual members who operate and act locally but consistently unite as a global family to move in one direction.Tweet
It is my hope that the IFSA 2018-2021 Strategy produced and presented this year provides a roadmap for our shared direction.
With much love, Salina Abraham