The Minister of State François-Xavier de Donnea, Facilitator of the Kingdom of Belgium of the CBFP, visits the CBFP authorities and partners in Yaoundé (Cameroon)

 

 

 

The Minister of State François-Xavier de Donnea, Facilitator of the Kingdom of Belgium of the CBFP, took stock with the various interlocutors on several subjects, including: (1) The operationalization of the N'Djamena Declaration - considering the extent of uncontrolled transhumance between the Sahel and Equatorial Africa... (2) The need for a summit of Heads of State concerned by this phenomenon... (3) The state of preparation and the holding of the meeting of experts for the follow-up of the Ndjamena conference in Douala in December 2019 (from 16 to 19); as well as the meetings of the CBFP Civil Society, and that of the CBFP Governing Board- which will mark the end of the Kingdom of Belgium facilitation of the CBFP and the handing over to the Federal Republic of Germany at the end of this year.

 

 

The Kingdom of Belgium has facilitated the Congo Basin Forest Partnership during the 2018-2019 period. www.pfbc-cbfp.org 

 

 

The mission of the Minister of State of the Kingdom of Belgium, Facilitator of the CBFP, was part of the implementation of the roadmap between the Facilitation provided by the Kingdom of Belgium with the various parties of the said partnership, in particular COMIFAC and the governments of Central Africa, as well as ECCAS for the sustainable management of the Congo Basin ecosystems. One of the main points of this roadmap concerns the illegal nexus traffic of protected species, the control of transhumance in the invasion of protected areas and growing conflicts between communities, and finally the circulation of armed gangs affiliated with large-scale poaching between the Sahel and Equatorial Africa.  In January 2019, the Minister of State and COMIFAC had discussions with President Idriss Deby ITNO of the Republic of Chad, and an international conference on this issue was organized as a result.

 

 

The mission to Yaoundé is participating in the preparation of the technical and political meetings scheduled to take place in Douala from 16 to 19 December 2019, which aim in particular to operationalize the commitments made by the parties in Ndjamena in January 2019.

 

 

In Yaoundé (Cameroon), from 19 to 20 November 2019, Minister of State François-Xavier de Donnea, Facilitator of the Kingdom of Belgium of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, carried out a working mission to Cameroon's authorities and technical and financial partners of the Congo Basin. The objective of this tour was to take stock of the preparation of the meeting of experts to follow up the N'Djamena international conference with the CBFP partners, to present CBFP actions and perspectives and much more to inform on a number of important issues in the context of the end of the mandate of the Facilitation of the Kingdom of Belgium of the CBFP (2018-2019). Minister of State François-Xavier de Donnea was assisted during his mission by Maxime Nzita Nganga, Co-Facilitator of the CBFP and Dany Pokem, Technical Coordinator in charge of communications, members and meetings of the CBFP. The Belgian Ambassador to Yaoundé, His Excellency Mr Stéphane Doppagne, visited the Mission, as well as the 1st Secretary, Mr Arthur D'Anethan.

 

 

The delegation consecutively met H.E. Joseph Beti Assomo, Minister of Defence, the Secretary of State to the Minister of Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie, His Excellency Mr. ETOGA Galax Yves Landry, the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife of Cameroon, H.E. Mr. Jules Ndoret Ndongo, Ms. Galega Prudence, Secretary General of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development of Cameroon and COMIFAC Executive Secretary, Mr. Ndomba Ngoye Raymond.

 

 

The Minister of State François-Xavier de Donnea, Facilitator of the Kingdom of Belgium of the CBFP, took stock with the various interlocutors on several subjects, including:

 

 

    The operationalization of the N'Djamena Declaration - considering the extent of uncontrolled transhumance between the Sahel and Equatorial Africa, particularly with cases in Bas-Uélé in the DRC and to the east of CAR, in Chinko

    The need for a summit of Heads of State concerned by this phenomenon,

    The state of preparation and the holding of the meeting of experts for the follow-up of the Ndjamena conference in Douala in December 2019 (from 16 to 19); as well as the meetings of the CBFP Civil Society, and that of the CBFP Governing Board- which will mark the end of the Kingdom of Belgium facilitation of the CBFP and the handing over to the Federal Republic of Germany at the end of this year.

 

 

    The dialogue between China and the Congo Basin. The Facilitator also provided an update on the International Forum on Green Supply Chains of forest industry products, entitled: “Together towards Global Green Supply Chains - A Forest Products Industry Initiative”, held in Shanghai, alongside of which the Board of Directors and General Assembly of the International Tropical Timber Technical Association (ITTA) and the NEED TO MAINTAIN A permanent DIALOGUE with China on sustainable and responsible trade in tropical timber held. The Facilitator would like the Chinese companies gathered under the Global Green Supply Chain (GSCC) to join the CBFP.

 

 

 The Facilitator reiterated the same concerns shared with Ministers, Ambassadors, Heads of Diplomatic Missions during a working lunch offered at the Belgian Residence, namely: Germany, Belgium, EU Delegations, France, UK and USA.

 

 

The Facilitator continued discussions with technical partners around a working diner at the Belgian Residence in Yaounde.  In attendance were GIZ, UICN, ZSL, WWF, TRAFFIC, CEFDHAC, UNESCO.

 

 

In addition, the CBFP Facilitator held a debriefing meeting with the Block Leaders on the status of preparations for the Douala meetings, including the development of the framework for the Programmatic Logical Framework for the Implementation of the N'Djamena Declaration.

 

 

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The CBFP Facilitator meets Block Leaders ahead of the expert meeting to follow up the N’Djamena conference

 

 

The mission began with a working session with the Block Leaders responsible for the preparation of the Ndjamena Conference Follow-up Meeting, namely, AWF, GIZ (BSB Project), UNESCO, and WWF.  After briefing the Facilitator on the status of preparations for the Douala meetings, including the development of the basic structure of the Programmatic Logical Framework for the Implementation of the N'Djamena Declaration, the leaders identified field experiences related to transhumance, armed groups, protected areas and wildlife.

 

 

The CBFP Facilitator examined with the leaders the issue of the large and growing number of livestock, as well as the of conflicts between the "transhumants" and sedentary populations and the urgency of high-level political action to address this situation.

The Belgian CBFP Facilitator was received in audience by the Minister of Defence and the Secretary of State to the Minister of Defence in charge of the Cameroon National Gendarmerie.

Subsequently, the CBFP Facilitator was received in audience by His Excellency Joseph Beti Assomo, Minister of Defence and the Secretary of State to the Minister of Defence in charge of the Cameroon National Gendarmerie, His Excellency ETOGA Galax Yves Landry.  The Minister of Defence expressed his gratitude to the CBFP Facilitator, who visits him on every mission to Cameroon. He noted the importance of the N'Djamena Declaration, the efforts of his Ministry to combat poaching, in particular the implementation of the MoU between MINFOF and MINDEF.

 

 

The CBFP Facilitator thanked the Minister for Cameroon's participation in the International Conference of Ministers in N'Djamena. He identified three topics of high importance from the Partnership's point of view, including: Transhumance, the urgency of investing in local and indigenous populations and the importance of dialogue with China in the quest for the sustainable management of forest resources.  More specifically with regard to transhumance, the Facilitator noted the increasingly worrying situation on the ground regarding the conflict between transhumants and sedentary farming and pastoralist populations, with an emphasis on the urgency for high-level political action to address the situation.

 

 

In addition, the Minister of Defence, His Excellency Joseph Beti Assomo, noted a problem of great importance relating to the increasingly difficult situation of navigation in Cameroon's waters, particularly the Benue, the Nyong, the Sanaga and the Wouri rivers due to invasive species... These are water hyacinth and other invasive grasses (other aquatic plants) that reduce the liquid surface area once exploited by local populations and also the greatly reduced navigation on their aquatic path in addition to siltation, danger to aquatic fauna, etc. …

 

 

The Minister sought the support of CBFP partners to address this situation.  After explaining to the Minister the purpose of his mission, MINDEF addressed the issue of transhumance and the increasing number of livestock and underlying conflicts.  Noting the conflicting issue between conservation and development, the Secretary of State to the Minister of Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie of Cameroon, His Excellency Mr. ETOGA Galax Yves Landry, called for more alternatives in favour of indigenous peoples.

 

 

Before closing the audience, the MINDEF thanked the Facilitator for his personal commitment to the Congo Basin and the invitation to the meetings in Douala. He wished good preparation and success at the CBFP meetings in Douala.

Minister of State François-Xavier de Donnea, Belgian CBFP Facilitator, was received by the Minister of Forests and Wildlife of Cameroon, H.E. Mr Jules Ndoret Ndongo

 

 

In the afternoon, the Minister of State, François-Xavier de Donnea, Belgian Facilitator of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), was received by the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife of Cameroon, H.E. Mr Jules Ndoret Ndongo  The Minister thanked the CBFP Facilitator for his personal commitment to Cameroon’s signing of the specific protocols, an initiative undertaken since their last meeting in Malabo alongside the high-level political dialogue.

 

 

 Taking up the three key topics in terms of perspectives for the CBFP and with reference to its field visit to the Shinko Natural Reserve in the Central African Republic and the Garamba in the Democratic Republic of Congo, stressed the importance of political engagement to address the increasingly tense situation between transhumants and sedentary populations.  In addition, the Facilitator addressed strategic issues related to the organization of CBFP meetings in Douala. The Minister stressed that his administration will provide the necessary support for the full success of the CBFP meetings in Douala. In addition, the Facilitator congratulated the Minister of Forests on his assumption of the current COMIFAC chair and noted the support of the CBFP Facilitation in the implementation of its roadmap...

 

 

At the end of the day, the Facilitator shared a working dinner hosted by the Belgian Embassy to CBFP's Technical Partners. In attendance were GIZ, UICN, ZSL, WWF, TRAFFIC, CEFDHAC, UNESCO, etc.

The Facilitator was received in audience by COMIFAC Executive Secretary, the Secretary General of MINEPDED and the Heads of Diplomatic Missions to Yaoundé....

 

 

In Yaoundé, 20 November 2019, the Facilitator was received in audience by COMIFAC Executive Secretary, Mr. Ndomba Ngoye Raymond, and then by Mrs. Galega Prudence, Secretary General on behalf of His Excellency Mr. Hélé Pierre (outside Yaoundé), Minister of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development of Cameroon.

 

 

A working lunch organized by the Belgian Embassy was attended by the Heads of Diplomatic Missions of the former CBFP Facilitators countries plus England, namely the Ambassadors and Heads of Diplomatic Missions of:  Germany, Belgium, France, UK, USA.

The Facilitator highlights the main points of his interventions as CBFP Facilitator and his desire to see his successor advanced them.

 

 

These include, among others:

CBFP Governance

 Continue to strengthen CBFP governance, including the holding of the meeting of CBFP Parties, meetings of the CBFP Governing Board, CBFP colleges.

 

 

The biannual holding of CBFP Meeting of the Parties, instead of annual, during the Facilitation Mandate.  From the Facilitation perspective, this wise decision led to a better use of the resources of the Second Meeting of the Parties to strengthen thematic work within the CBFP.

 

 

 Thematic Work 

  1. Continue work on the theme of transhumance and the circulation of armed groups between the Sahel and north the Congo Basin: The transboundary approach for the conservation, security and development negus. A summit of Heads of State is needed

 

 

 If nothing is done to control transhumance, particularly the reduction in herd size (an alarming situation in terms of the number of herds), a major crisis could break out: in particular the destruction of herds and an armed struggle between the populations and the transhumants.  This situation could open a second major source of conflict added to the situation in the Sahel. A major action at the highest level of states is essential to address the crisis.

 

 

 For the follow-up of the implementation of the N'Djamena Declaration, in particular in accompanying the implementation of the Transhumance Programme, the armed groups of the Sahel towards natural protected areas, a major programme will be adopted at the Douala Experts' Meeting and a commitment to resource mobilization and the implementation of the said programme.

 

 

References:  (1) N'Djamena Conference, January 2019 and (2) Post N'Djamena Experts Meeting, December 2019 in Douala

  1. Investing in local/indigenous people in and around natural protected areas

 

 

 Continue to encourage donors to invest in local and indigenous communities: value chain, job creation and multisectoral investment. Projects that have a real impact on communities. Create alternatives and not focus exclusively on family planning policies that are sometimes ineffective.

 Reference: High Level Political Dialogue in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea (June 2019) 

  1. Continue Dialogue with China to encourage Chinese actors to join the CBFP

 

 

China imports nearly 70% of the wood from the Congo Basin.  More work should be done to encourage its membership in the CBFP.   At the Shanghai International Forum, it focused on "Together towards Global Green Supply Chains - A Forest Products Industry Initiative". The Forum Intends to promote the advancement of legal and sustainable supply chains which will incentivize good production practices, contribute to responsible purchasing practices while also leading to additional benefits of poverty alleviation, job creation, economic growth, income generation, etc. The Forum which was organized by ITTA and the Global Green Supply Chain (Chine) pointed out that Chinese operators are more and more aware of the importance of sustainability of the Congo Basin forests to maintain importations in the future.  The same is true of the China-Africa Political Dialogue held in September in Yaoundé between Chinese forest administrations and foresters in the Congo Basin.

 

 

References: (1) Silk Road Forum (April 2019, Beijing, China) - (2) China-Central Africa Dialogue (Yaoundé 2019) - (3) Shanghai Forum on Together towards Global Green Supply Chains - A Forest Products Industry Initiative"

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