PEFOGRN-BC: Season's greetings
Dear Friends and Partners of the PEFOGRN-BC (Project to Support the Expanded Natural Resource Management Training Program in the Congo Basin),
The PEFOGRN-BC project
The first phase of the PEFOGRN-BC project with the overall objective of strengthening the training and research activities in COMIFAC countries to reduce deforestation and degradation of natural resources officially ended on 31 December 2014, but some activities continued in 2016. The project is implemented by the Network of Environmental and Forest Training Institutions of Central Africa (RIFFEAC), with funding from the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF), administered by the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the technical assistance from Université Laval and the Teaching and Forestry Research Centre of Sainte-Foy Inc. (CERFO) for the university and technical trainings, respectively. The sub-regional centers of excellence: University of Dschang, ENEF-Gabon, ERAIFT-Kinshasa, University of Kinshasa, continued their mission of higher education in their respective fields of specialization. At Université Laval, student Jean Bosco Mbagou from ENEF-Gabon publicly defended his doctoral thesis on Intra-tree Variability of the Physico-mechanical and Chemical Properties of Tessmania africana from Gabon, on April 20, 2017, under the direction of Professor Tatjana Stevanovic Janezic and the co-direction of Professors Yves Fortin and Prosper Edou Engonga. Student Boris Merlain Djousse Kanouo from University of Dschang also publicly defended his Ph.D. thesis on Biochar Production and Utilization for Restoration of Red Leached Soils, on November 14, 2017, under the direction of Professor Alison D Munson and the co-direction of Professor Suzanne Allaire. The two new PhD graduates returned to their home institutions to take up a position of research assistant professor. Congratulations to our two graduates from Université Laval. The last cohort of six doctoral students at Laval is expected to complete their studies in 2018.
The second phase of the PEFOGRN-BC project under negotiation is based on the consolidation of the achievements of Phase I by strengthening the capacities of the technical and academic institutions to train a sufficient number of highly qualified personnel (HQP) at the professional, technical and academic levels, capable of deploying innovative approaches for smart management of multiple forest and environmental resources, with the aim to reducing deforestation, degradation of natural resources and poverty in the Congo Basin. This second phase has not yet received final approval. We hope that with the determination and goodwill of all stakeholders involved in the approval process, this second phase could start in 2018.
2) New partnerships and projects
Université Laval is a member ofthe Academic Consortium for the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (ACCBFP) created in 2014 and a member of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) since August 15, 2012. As such, Laval, as in the past, participated in the 17th CBFP Meeting of the Parties held from October 24 to 27, 2017 in Douala-Cameroon, with the presence of Professor Khasa. Laval as a member of the ACCBFP actively participated with the University of California in Los Angeles (Dr. Virginia Zaunbrecher) in the discussions of the College of Training and Research Institutions of the CBFP, aimed at capacity building and the use of scientific data in the development of conservation strategies for species most threatened by poaching, such as pangolin. It was also the occasion of the concertation meeting for stakeholders involved in phase II of the PEFOGRN-BC project (COMIFAC, Congo Basin Forest Fund, GIZ, Laval, Cerfo), held on 27 October, in the Manengouba room of the SAWA Hotel (Douala-Cameroon), and co-chaired by the Executive Secretary of COMIFAC, Mr. Raymond NDOMBA NGOYE and the coordinator of the Congo Basin Forest Fund, administered by the AfDB, Ms. Clotilde Louisette MOLLO NGOMBA.
3) Coordination and Project Management
The management team for international training projects in natural resource management in the Congo Basin at Laval University is chaired by the Dean of the Faculty of Forestry, Geography and Geomatics, Professor Guy Mercier, with the support from the Director of the International Office, Professor Richard Poulin. At RIFFEAC, Professor Claude Kachaka, has continued his work as Regional Coordinator of RIFFEAC in Yaoundé since July 2015. Elsewhere, heads of partner institutions including in the poles of excellence remained the same with the exception of ENEF-Gabon, where the new Director Dr. Bruno NKOUMAKALI took office in summer 2017.
4) Communication strategy and project visibility
The project websites (http://www.projetfogrn-bc.ulaval.ca/ and www.riffeac.org) are regularly revised and updated to serve as virtual media. They are constantly subjected to continued update by the support unit of the project at Laval and RIFFEAC, respectively. The Congo Basin Forest and Environment scientific and technical journal published the 9th issue in October 2017 thanks to the tireless work of the editorial team and the Scientific and Technical Committee. This biannual journal is an important communication vehicle of the RIFFEAC for the publication of original scientific articles, technical notes, project progress reports, essay and theses summaries, and news / actions affecting the Congo basin forests in particular and all tropical forests in general. As a result, it is a communication and exchange tool for researchers, economic operators in the Forest-Environment sector, and the civil society to address the complex issues of sustainable management of forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin.
We hope that Phase II of PEFOGRN-BC will be approved by the AfDB in 2018 for the continuation and consolidation of our joint mission aimed at capacity building and training of highly qualified scientific and technical personnel in natural resource management in the Congo Basin. On behalf of the entire team of international training projects in natural resource management in the Congo Basin at Laval University, CERFO, the coordination of RIFFEAC and all our partners, we thank those who continue to support us to reach the results of this year and in the future. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and all your loved ones, my best wishes for peace, health, happiness and prosperity for the new year 2018.
Professor and Director of International Training Projects in Natural Resource Management in the Congo Basin
Faculty of Forestry, Geography and Geomatics