9th CBFP Council Meeting – 16 July 2021
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The Facilitation of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) in collaboration with the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) and its Current Chair (MINFOF Cameroon) held its 9th Council Meeting in Douala on 16 July 2021. The Council Meeting came after an Expert Follow-up Meeting to the N’Djamena Conference on Zoonoses, Transhumance, the Fight Against Transboundary Transhumance, Security and Sustainable Development between the Sahel and the Congo Basin, held from 12 to 15 July 2021 on the same premises. Representatives of the following seven CBFP colleges took an active part in the meeting:
- The CBFP regional college: ECCAS, COMIFAC;
- The CBFP Civil Society College: CEFDHAC-CPR and ROSCEVAC along with representatives of the REFACOF, REFADD and RECEIAC networks;
- The CBFP International NGOs College: AWF, WCS;
- The CBFP Private Sector College: The ATIBT and Earthworm Foundations, Volcanoes
- The CBFP Donor College: the US, the United Kingdom, Germany;
- The CBFP Scientific and Academic College: CIFOR, IRET;
- The CBFP Multilateral College: FAO, UNESCO and GVTC, ITTO.
The CBFP Council Meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Dr Christian Ruck and the Acting President of COMIFAC, His Excellency Jules Doret Ndongo, Cameroon’s Minister of Forestry and Wildlife. The meeting was held with financial support from the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and technical support from the German Technical Cooperation (GIZ).
The agenda of the ninth CBFP Council Meeting was built around a first segment which featured the opening ceremony.
During the opening session of the 9th Council Meeting, the CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Christian Ruck recalled the following meeting objectives: i) - take stock of the status of the implementation of the Facilitation’s roadmap and prospects for the CBFP, ii) - present the report of the Expert meeting on monitoring of the implementation of the N'Djamena Declaration (transboundary transhumance), iii) - take time to discuss the organization of the 19th Meeting of CBFP Parties expected to take place between March and May 2022 either in Gabon or the Congo, iv) - take stock of the current situation and chart the way forward for the Joint Declaration of the ECCAS/COMIFAC countries for the Congo Basin forests and their vicinity in preparation for major future international meetings, and v) - follow the presentations of activity reports of the respective CBFP Colleges.
Commissioner Tabuna, speaking on behalf of the ECCAS Commission President, recalled the support ECCAS had provided to its specialized body COMIFAC, in the area of forest management and natural resource conservation. He pointed out that the initial achievements of the restructured ECCAS Commission would be presented to the ECCAS Heads of State on 23 July 2021. He also announced an upcoming workshop to be held in Brazzaville which would adopt a common definition for key terms such as “forest” and “deforestation”, notably as part of a strategic discussion on the forest economy and the role forests play in the sustainable development of territories.
In his opening statement, the Acting President of COMIFAC, H.E. Jules Doret NDONGO, Cameroon Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, thanked the German Facilitation for its efforts and reiterated the commitment of the COMIFAC member countries to getting aligned with the drive towards sustainable forest and natural resources management, but also helping to curb the impacts of climate change.
The Facilitator Dr Ruck then presented an overview of a host of activities supported by the German Facilitation, highlighting the drafting of the Joint Declaration of ECCAS / COMIFAC countries on the Congo Basin forests and their vicinity. The German Facilitation advocates for 5% of budgets derived from climate funds to be allocated to the sustainable management of Congo Basin forests. He announced that Germany had already decided to increase its contribution to the CAFI fund. He also mentioned the need to step up dialogue with China in order to strengthen the sustainability of the international tropical timber trade and Asian investments in sustainable management. The German Facilitation emphasizes preparation for upcoming international meetings in 2021 and 2022 such as COP 26 for Climate, COP 15 for Biodiversity, the World Conservation Congress, and the World Forestry Congress. It invites the COMIFAC member countries to attend the symposium on tropical forests from 07 to 08 September 2021 in Berlin to present and sign the Joint Declaration.
The presentation of the report of the Expert Follow-up Meeting on monitoring the N'Djamena Declaration on transhumance provided a forum for debate, particularly on the area covered by the countries concerned. It was agreed that in addition to the sub-regional organizations already involved (CILSS, CEBEVIRHA, IGAD; CCRS) in conducting and monitoring activities in the three blocs of countries, OCFSA can also be quickly revamped and strengthened to participate actively in this process based on its mandate which extends beyond the confines of COMIFAC.
Regarding the organization of the 19th Meeting of CBFP Parties, the CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Honourable Dr Christian Ruck handed out a policy paper of the German CBFP Facilitation providing guidelines for organizing the CBFP MOP 19. In addition to discussing the venue of the MOP, the aim was also to propose the objectives and structure of the MOP 19 agenda. Hence, for the MOP 19 segment, three major thematic axes/streams were proposed, namely Stream 1: Land use management - sustainable use (Sustainable land use), Stream 2: Conservation (including climate change, ecotourism, transhumance) and Stream 3: Landscape restoration (reforestation and restoration). He also announced a fair of ideas and projects in order to further stimulate exchanges and networking between partners ... The political segment will be structured around college meetings / college days, the Council meeting and a plenary day.
In her statement, the representative of the United Kingdom, whose country will host the next COP 26 in Glasgow, underscored the need for a condensed joint statement by COMIFAC to be presented at political level and to the general public. COP 26 will focus on forestry issues relating to policy actions, financing, sustainable production and marketing and the well-being of forest-dwelling populations.
Regarding the Joint Declaration, as the Honourable Dr Christian Ruck underscored during the meeting, the "long" version of the "Declaration of the ECCAS / COMIFAC countries on the Congo Basin forests and their vicinity" aligned with the ECCAS Revised Treaty, the COMIFAC Convergence Plan, and the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in Kinshasa in December 2020 and finalized with the inclusion of comments from the CBFP colleges and the Ministers of the COMIFAC countries (as per the recommendations of the Ministers gathered in the Kinshasa regional college), will be distributed to all the partners, after it has been circulated to the members of the CBFP Council. The Honourable Facilitator Dr Christian Ruck commended Cameroon on its pledge to produce an “abridged” version of the Declaration. In the interests of consistency and inclusiveness, the “abridged” version should reflect the contents of the long version of the Declaration. He recalled that this exercise falls squarely in line with what was proposed by England as part of preparations for COP 26 in Glasgow, England. Once the Executive Secretariat shares this "abridged" version of the Declaration with the countries, as was done during the Council meeting, the CBFP Facilitation of the Federal Republic of Germany would transfer it upon receipt to England, Germany and all the CBFP colleges.
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