Five Forest Service trainers led an advanced workshop on “Africa Regional Environmental Assessments” in Pretoria, South Africa the week of March 27th. Participants were employees of US Agency for International Development offices in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Washington, D.C. The training was implemented by USFS International Programs in partnership with, and with funding from, USAID.
The training was designed to train USAID Environment Officers in preparing full environmental assessments for their projects as required by the US National Environmental Policy Act. Retiree Dave Harris; Joe Krueger, Flathead National Forest; Paul Schmidtke, Washington Office State and Private Forestry; Ronna Simon, Bridger-Teton National Forest; and Jay Strand, Green Mountain National Forest taught participants how to plan, implement and monitor USAID projects following required environmental compliance procedures. Environmental Officers at USAID manage projects in their countries related to protected areas, biodiversity conservation, alternative energy, and community development, among others. They are responsible for determining environmental impacts of their projects, and this training aimed to help them understand the environmental assessment process and associated regulations in order to evaluate and strengthen the environmental and social outcomes from their projects.
This workshop in Africa was the second of its kind, following the design and format of one delivered in El Salvador in 2015. The Forest Service frequently partners with USAID to design and deliver environment programs globally, to bring Forest Service expertise to bear on some of the most significant natural resource issues around the world.