The third General Assembly of the "Network of Indigenous and Local Populations for the Sustainable Management of Central African forest ecosystems” Strengthening REPALEAC
Brazzaville (Congo), 14-16 January 2013 - The third General Assembly of the “Network of Indigenous and Local Communities for the Sustainable Management of Central African forest ecosystems” was held in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. The General Assembly was jointly organized with the Republic of Congo, the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC), and with the technical and financial support of the German Cooperation (GIZ), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (UICN), REPALEAC Facilitation Agency. The meeting gathered REPALEAC national representatives from eight COMIFAC countries, representatives of the Ministry of Forest, Economy and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Congo, representatives of the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat, representatives of COMIFAC National Coordination in Congo, representatives of WWF, GIZ and UICN, as well as representatives of the Congolese civil society.
The overall objective of the General Assembly was to improve the REPALEAC governance system, in view of enhancing the participation and involvement of indigenous and local communities in the different stakes of biodiversity conservation and the sustainable management of forests and natural resources in the Congo Basin.
Following the opening ceremony chaired by the Representative of the Ministry of Forest, Economy and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Congo, Dr François Ntsiba, a bureau was elected for the General Assembly and an agenda adopted for the meeting. Participants then listened to two presentations, namely: (1) the REPALEAC Regional Coordinator’s report (2) a paper on legal texts governing the functioning of REPALEAC, REPALEAC action plan and road map. After intense discussions on the presentations, participants formulated recommendations including: “…to improve communication between regional coordination and national networks… ; ensure that REPALEAC is involved in the preparation and organization of FIPAC3…; to continue advocacy to promote involvement of local and indigenous communities in international negotiations or in processes such as REDD+, ABS, VPA/FLEGT…”
Furthermore, the General Assembly’s proceedings continued with the election of the members of the REPALEAC national coordination bureau. . A bureau was established in the wake of these elections. Venat Messe (Cameroon) was thus elected the new Regional Coordinator of REPEALEC while Honorable Liberate Nicayenzi (Burundi), got the post of Assistant Coordinator. On the behalf of the outgoing bureau and having expressed their willingness to fully support the proper functioning of the network and the achievement of its objectives, the outgoing REPALEAC Regional Coordinator, Mr. Kapupu Diwa, congratulated the new team and encouraged them to carry out their duties in order to meet the expectations of indigenous communities.
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