Handover at COMIFAC Council of Ministers: His Excellency Ir NDUWAYO Jean Claude, Minister of Water, Environment, Territorial and Urban Planning of Burundi takes over as President of COMIFAC
January 16, 2015 - The eighth session of the Council of Ministers of the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) took place in Bujumbura, Republic of Burundi. The meeting was preceded from January 14 to 15, 2015 by the advisory experts´ meeting. Please download the documents of the Council of Ministers.
The Council´s deliberations were opened by His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The solemn opening ceremony was punctuated by five speeches, delivered by the Minister of Water, Environment, Territorial and Urban Planning of Burundi, the Deputy Secretary General of ECCAS, the U.S. CBFP Facilitator, the Minister of Agriculture and Environment of the Republic of Chad, the outgoing COMIFAC President and His Excellency the President of the Republic of Burundi.
Following the opening ceremony, the Presidency was officially handed over by the Minister of Agriculture and Environment of the Republic of Chad to her colleague, the Minister of Water, Environment, Territorial and Urban Planning of the Republic of Burundi.
After lively and fruitful exchanges held behind closed doors, the Council of Ministers noted the findings, made recommendations and resolutions which included the following key ones:
♦ The Ministers expressed concern over the attitude of some partners who were unwilling to provide the Executive Secretariat with financial and technical information on their initiatives. In this respect, they called on the partners to work more closely with the Executive Secretariat to provide technical and financial information on their activities in order to help maintain accounts of support provided to the sub region.
♦ The Ministers, as recommended by the July 2014 Council of Ministers on the launch of negotiations between COMIFAC and Germany, empowered the current President, the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife of Cameroon and Minister of Forest Economy and Sustainable Development of Congo to support the institution in negotiations with the German government aimed at reaching consensus on a cooperation framework.
♦ The Ministers instructed the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat to formalize, jointly with the ECCAS General Secretariat, a collaborative framework to implement the decision of the October 2007 Heads of State conference granting COMIFAC the status of specialized agency of ECCAS.
♦ The Ministers urged all Member States to integrate the CNCs into their national programming and budgeting systems so as to support the CNCs action plans and called on development partners to support the implementation of the CNCs 2015-2016 two-year action plans.
♦ The Ministers approved COMIFAC´s 2015-2016 two-year budget which amounts to 1,348,613,946 FCFA in income and expenditure for operations and 1,685 billion FCFA for the implementation of the two-year action plan. They urged all debtor countries to take the necessary measures to settle their arrears in addition to the payment of outstanding amounts. They further invited the President to enforce Article 20, paragraph 4 of the Treaty which provides that: "Any State that fails to meet its financial obligations shall forfeit its right to vote and to any form of support from the Organization pending payment of dues". The Ministers congratulated Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea for being current on their contributions; they then urged the technical and financial partners to ensure that a would-be recipient country is in good standing with its contributions to COMIFAC before any support is granted. The Ministers finally adopted the decision to change the annual contributions to forty-five million (45,000,000) CFA francs with effect from 2016 as recommended by the 2013 ministerial session.
♦ The Ministers adopted with amendments, the internal regulations of the Council of Ministers - Thus, they decided to revise certain provisions of the COMIFAC Internal Regulations to align them with those contained in the Treaty establishing COMIFAC.
♦ The Ministers adopted the sub regional strategy paper on the sustainable use of wildlife by indigenous and local communities in Central African countries, as suggested by the experts. They equally invited the Member States to use the Guide on creating transboundary protected areas in Central Africa in the future establishment of transboundary protected areas. The Ministers called on Member States to draw on the following planning guides "the Guide for integrated landscape management, the Planning Guide for the management of extractive resource zones, the Planning Guide for the management of community-based natural resources and the Planning Guide for protected area management "in developing and planning their national land use strategies in the different zones.
They instructed the Executive Secretariat to publish the above-mentioned planning guides and ensure wide circulation.
The Ministers instructed the Executive Secretariat to edit the "report of the study on the capitalization of experiences in the implementation of the Convergence Plan" and ensure wide circulation. They called on the member countries to take steps to implement the recommendations coming out of the study (Prospective Analysis of the Evolution of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa) in order to anticipate changes in their forest ecosystems in consultation with all sectors of economic growth (Mining, Agriculture, Infrastructure).
♦ Regarding the organization of the Third Summit of Central African Heads of State and Government on conservation and sustainable management of Central African forest ecosystems, the Ministers learned about actions undertaken by the outgoing President to implement the recommendation of the Council of Ministers to pay an official visit to the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea to obtain his response regarding the hosting of the Summit. In this regard, the President of the Republic of Chad said he agreed that this official mission should take place in January 2015. In light of progress made in this regard, the Ministers mandated the Minister of Agriculture and Environment of Chad to conduct the official mission to meet the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea
♦ Regarding the situation of the Central African Protected Areas Network: The Ministers were informed of RAPAC´s alarming situation. In this regard, they instructed the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat to cooperate with the RAPAC Executive Secretariat in clarifying the network´s Statutes by clearly defining the members´ legal status and membership conditions; The Ministers also called on Member States to pay their arrears in order to preserve the gains made by RAPAC; Lastly, the Ministers requested that a Board of Directors of RAPAC be promptly convened by the Chairman of same Board in order to deliberate on the Network´s troubling situation
♦ With respect to the process relating to the Summit of forest basins of the Amazon, Southeast Asia and the Congo and the signing of the Cooperation Agreement between the countries´ governments: The Ministers reiterated their congratulations to Congo for reviving the process with FAO facilitation; They took note of the conclusions of the side event on the draft cooperation agreement held alongside the fiftieth session of the International Tropical Timber Council in Yokohama, Japan; The Ministers urged the Minister of Forest Economy and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Congo to implement the conclusions of the Yokohama side event; Lastly, they invited the Ministers of Forests and Environment of the Central African countries to expedite any amendments to the Draft Cooperation Agreement upon official receipt of this document.
♦ Regarding the progress of the revitalization of the Organization for the Conservation of Wildlife in Africa (OCFSA): The Ministers took note of the progress status of the organization of the Conference of OCFSA Ministers; They reiterated their congratulations to the Republic of Cameroon for efforts made to date towards the revitalization of OCFSA; finally, the Ministers invited the OCFSA members to pay their arrears and called on development partners to support the organization of the Conference of Ministers.
♦ With respect to the China-COMIFAC dialogue on forests: The Ministers took note of the progress of this dialogue and called the current Presidency to continue the dialogue with a view to establishing a memorandum of understanding between COMIFAC and China.
For more information and details, please download the official documents of the 8th Council of COMIFAC Ministers
♦ Final Communiqué of the 8th Conference of COMIFAC Ministers
♦ Speech of the Deputy Secretary General, Representative of the ECCAS Secretary General
♦ Speech and Report by Her Excellency BAÏWONG DJIBERGUI AMANE Rosine, Minister of Agriculture and the Environment of the Republic of Chad
♦ Address by the CBFP Facilitator– Matthew Cassetta
♦ Report of the experts´ meeting held in preparation for the eighth Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of Forest and Environment of COMIFAC member countries
Please download the participants‘ documents before the Conference of Ministers