At JGI, we know that conservation efforts are only effective when people living around key conservation areas have secure means to sustainable livelihoods. If people do not have access to sustainable means of income, then they turn to their only resource: illegal activities in the forest such as logging, mining and poaching. There are strong ties between protecting forest resources and ensuring sustainable livelihoods, which is why JGI is happy to see its efforts align with the UN’s Goal 8: promoting sustainable economic growth and decent work for all.
JGI funds many different programs that improve sustainable livelihoods across central Africa, often in tandem with programs that promote health, education and gender equality. One of our largest initiatives, seen in several countries including Tanzania and DRC, is the founding of woodlots and tree nurseries that provide fuel, building materials and sources of income to villages. These woodlots feature fast-growing seedlings which often reach full size in only two years, allowing for a renewable, and therefore sustainable, alternative to clear-cutting forest.
JGI also helps community leaders organize various environmental education campaigns with focuses on agroforestry, a practice which combines replanting deforested areas through species of plants that provide food, such as fruit-bearing trees.
Education on sustainable practices is key to all of our programs. By training community members on sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry practices, JGI ensures that existing livelihoods can flourish without allowing resource depletion to compromise future potential livelihoods. By coupling this education with provisional seedlings, livestock and beehives, we help kick start economic growth in communities.
Enhanced technology also provides innovative solutions to limits on economic growth and decent work for all. JGI has helped design and provide hundreds of fuel efficient stoves that decrease household costs. And mobile technology also enables forest rangers, eco-guards and forest monitors, which means simultaneously improving employment while protecting wildlife.
What JGI loves about the UN SDGs is that they intersect and inform one another. Goal 8 does not exist in isolation, but is partnered with goals for clean energy, combating climate change and protecting life on land and below water. Economic growth can coexist with environmental protection through sustainable practices. And communities which invest in environmental protection also create new conservation-based jobs and alternative means of economic growth while safeguarding resources for future use.