COMIFAC and biodiversity conservation: where do we stand?
From 24 to 28 March 2014 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Biodiversity Working Group held its nineteenth session (GTBAC), organized by the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat with technical and financial support from GIZ’s “COMIFAC Support” project.
Held under the high patronage of the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the meeting drew representatives of various COMIFAC countries, as well as, subregional, international and civil society organizations like COMIFAC RAPAC, IUCN, GIZ, JICA, the REFADD, REPALEAC, REPAR and REJEFAC. The assigned objectives of the five-day workshop dealt with five key issues, namely: An assessment of progress in drafting the fifth national reports on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity; an overview of activities related to the review of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP); a report on activities related to the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) and the validation of the related project document for COMIFAC countries; and lastly feedback from discussions on the findings of sub-regional and international meetings.
At the end of the deliberations, participants joined GTBAC in taking stock of progress made in drafting the Fifth national reports, noting however that the reports, whose submission deadline was 31 March 2014, were yet to be submitted at the CBD Secretariat. GTBAC also took note of progress in the revision of the NBSAPs, and called for completion of the process in each country before the holding of COP12. It is also important to note that the countries, with the exception of Gabon and Rwanda, had not yet ratified the Nagoya Protocol on ABS and were urged to do so. The States were also commended for efforts made towards implementation of COP11 decisions, while GTBAC reiterated its support for the execution of the decision of the COMIFAC Council of Ministers that a percentage of the budget devoted to projects coordinated by the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat be assigned to the Institution.
To lend more weight to these resolutions, the participants put recommendations to other institutions and partners of GTBAC, aimed at raising the profile of the latter’s activities. The highlight of the meeting was a visit to the Kisantu botanical garden, a province in Lower Congo, where participants witnessed the ex situ biodiversity conservation efforts undertaken by the DRC authorities.
For more information on the meeting and its proceedings, please consult the final meeting communiqué below:
Image credit: Libération 2014