Recommendations from CIFOR Forest Day 3
Copenhagen, 13 December 2009 - The messages from the regional "Forest Day Central Africa 2009" were delivered by Cyrie Sendashonga, CIFOR Central Africa Regional Coordinator, during what she qualified as " the high level session of CIFOR Forest Day 3" held in Copenhagen on 13 December 2009. More than 1500 people attended the meeting and the following "VIP" participated as guest speakers: Sir Nicholas Stern Mr. Hilary Benn, Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK; Mr. Pham Khoi Nguyen, Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam; Mr. Eduardo Braga, Governor, State of Amazonas, Brazil; Mr. Troels Lund Paulsen, Minister for the Environment, Denmark.
The key messages from Central Africa region were a summary of proposed solutions coming from Forest Day Central Africa 2009 organized by CIFOR Regional Office on 10 December 2009 under the theme: Congo Basin Forests and Climate Change: advances and challenges before Copenhagen. According to Cyrie Sendashonga "the message from Central Africa was very well received by the audience and it was an honor and a privilege for me to be designated to deliver it". Below are the six major recommendations that came out of the discussions:
• Local communities' vulnerability: The populations living in the Congo Basin have a high dependency on nature, especially on the forest. Activities such as deforestation and forest degradation and phenomena such as climate change and other natural calamities which could lead to a reduction of ecosystem goods and services will contribute to increasing the vulnerability of these populations. National adaptation strategies should therefore take into account the role of forests. These strategies should also take into account and improve the local adaptation knowledge and reactions developed by the rural people. In this context of adapting to climate change, the diversity of forests is an important potential.
• Simplification of REDD and CDM mechanisms: The participants welcomed the inclusion of REDD+ in the future of climate regime currently under negotiation. However, there is a need to gather more information on the full costs (transaction, opportunity and operational) and the benefits of REDD and CDM schemes. The experiences under way in Central Africa tend to show that these schemes are not financially profitable without significant subsidies. It is critical to simplify the design and the implementation of these mechanisms, namely to reduce their costs, in order to turn them into incentives
• Implementation within existing frameworks: The scale of the climate change threat exposes the countries of the Congo Basin to a dispersion of efforts because of the multiple frameworks being proposed in a context where there is limited capacity. Therefore, in order to have more coherence and efficiency, it is desirable that the new processes be incorporated into the existing national action frameworks. It is also important to identify mechanisms for rapid translation and alignment of international regimes regarding climate change into domestic policies to ensure early implementation at national level.
• Participation of Vulnerable groups: Certain groups of stakeholders in the region are particularly vulnerable to climate change. They include: rural women; indigenous populations; the rural and the urban poor. These vulnerable or marginalized stakeholders should not be the ones to be negatively impacted by the implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. Every effort should be made to include them in decision making even if their participation could increase the complexity and the costs of projects and policies.
• Reinforcement of the role of science: It is necessary to reinforce the role of science in the fight against climate change, especially multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research, through increased funding and better communication of research results to a wider audience.
• Comprehensive information: More information on the impacts of climate change as well as on processes and initiatives pertaining to the subject, including mitigation and adaptation initiatives, should be produced and disseminated more adequately and in accessible languages in order to increase the awareness of all stakeholders.
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Abilogo, Edith (CIFOR-Cameroon)
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