Happy holidays from the United States Forest Service International Programs Africa and Middle East Team! We have active natural resource management and disaster preparedness and response programs in 30 African and Middle Eastern countries. To celebrate the holidays and new year, we've gathered a few impactful stories for you from 2019. For more information about our programs, contact Kathleen Sheridan, Assistant Director, at kathleen.sheridan@usda.gov or visit our website .
We do a lot with a small budget and we are committed to strong, long-term partnerships.

In 2019, 61 U.S. Forest Service domestic experts donated 360 of their salaried days to helping their international colleagues advance best practices in Africa and the Middle East. 
Ethiopia's Journey to Effective Emergency Response

In July 2018, the Ethiopian government led a 38-agency coordinated response to a humanitarian emergency between two regions in southern Ethiopia. The response, coordinated by an Emergency Operations Center, identified and prioritized humanitarian ...

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In 2019, the Watershed & Development Initiative (WADI) graduated from a USAID/U.S Forest Service supported activity to a Jordanian-certified NGO. Their mission is to restore the country's degraded landscapes for economic benefits and long-term water security. They are implementing scalable restoration methods to help prevent soil erosion and capture and infiltrate rainwater runoff, and they are working with communities every step of the way (left).

The U.S. Forest Service helped communities develop systems for growing native seedlings that require only 30% of the water used in conventional production methods. Those seedlings have a 70-80% survival rate, which is dramatically higher than the national average of <20%.

Find out more about WADI here .
Upcoming Events

Estimating Forest Degradation Training
Democratic Republic of the Congo / January 6-10
Training for the DRC Department of Forest Inventory and Zoning in collaboration with FAO on assessing forest degradation based on the results of the national expert consultation. Contact: Vanessa Filippini,   vanessa.filippini@fs-ip.us
Estimating Forest Degradation Training
Republic of the Congo / January 13-17
Training for ROC collaborators to improve quantification of forest degradation and assess performance of different tools. Contact: Rene Siwe,   rene.siwe@fs-ip.us
Illegal Timber Trade Consultation
Republic of the Congo / January 20-24
Initial consultation gathering partners and collaborators to discuss strengthening law enforcement and monitoring networks to combat the illegal timber trade in the ROC and neighboring countries program goals. Contact: Richard Paton,   richard.a.paton@usda.gov
Protected Area Co-Management Assessment Launch
Democratic Republic of the Congo / January 28
Launch of Central Africa Protected Area Co-Management Assessment to facilitate preliminary exchange between partners and provide summary of assessment methodology and objectives.
Contact: Richard Paton,   richard.a.paton@usda.gov
Participatory Approaches to Natural Resource Management Training
Democratic Republic of the Congo / February 3-4
Training to provide practitioners with skills and tools to engage in participatory approaches to natural resource management in their communities and with their partners.
Contact: Vanessa Filippini,   vanessa.filippini@fs-ip.us

Training on Illegal Logging and Trafficking
Gaborone, Botswana / February 3-7, 2020
In partnership with instructors from Department of Justice/Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations, a training for government personnel from Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Madagascar, Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Botswana.  Contact: Beth Hahn, beth.hahn@usda.gov
Open Foris Calc Training
Democratic Republic of the Congo / February 10-14
In partnership with FAO, facilitate training on National Forest Inventory data analysis using OpenForis Calc for the DRC’s Department of Forest Inventory and Zoning. Contact: Vanessa Filippini,   vanessa.filippini@fs-ip.us

Community Monitoring Training
Democratic Republic of the Congo / February
Follow-up community training to improve upon establishing community monitoring systems that detect, verify and record illegal logging. Contact: Vanessa Filippini,   vanessa.filippini@fs-ip.us

International Seminar on Community Resilience
Georgia, United States / February 23 - March 6, 2020
Resilient communities are better positioned to recover from natural disasters. Participants will explore what it means to be a resilient community including; the central ideas of resilience thinking, ways to become more resilient, and indicators of resilience. These factors will be identified in case studies in a number of different environments including urban/rural and inland/coastal communities. Contact: kathleen.sheridan@usda.gov
Ecotourism Technical Assistance Mission
Gabon / March
Mission providing technical assistance to improve infrastructure at key National Park, mission focused on trail building and rehabilitation. Contact: Richard Paton,   richard.a.paton@usda.gov

Mangrove Restoration Technical Assistance Mission
Late March 2020 / Madagascar
Support to USAID mangrove restoration efforts, including mapping of restoration sites, management planning and working with communities on establish mangrove tree nurseries. Contact: Adam Welti,   adam.welti@usda.gov

International Seminar on Natural Resource Law Enforcement
Southeastern United States / March 16 - 30, 2020 Technical Assistance Mission
Through interactions with US experts, facilitated discussions, case studies, and site visits, participants will learn about the many facets – ranging from policy frameworks to the training and deployment of on-the-ground law enforcement personnel – of combatting illegal activity on protected lands. Contact: kathleen.sheridan@usda.gov
To view previous issues of this newsletter, please  click here . For more information about our programs, contact Kathleen Sheridan, Assistant Director, at kathleen.sheridan@usda.gov