The Honourable Dr Christian Ruck, CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, speaks at Extraordinary Council of Ministers of COMIFAC member countries held from 28 to 30 September 2022 in Kintele, Republic of Congo

On 30 September 2022, the CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Honourable Dr Christian Ruck, spoke via videoconference at the "Extraordinary Meeting of the COMIFAC Council of Ministers in preparation for various Conferences of the Parties (CoPs) in 2022: Climate, Biodiversity and CITES. Please download the CBFP Facilitator’s speech...

 

Please download the COMIFAC ES’ statement

 

SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE Dr CHRISTIAN RUCK, FACILITATOR OF THE CONGO BASIN FOREST PARTNERSHIP (CBFP), Brazzaville, 30 September 22

 

Your Excellency, Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo

Your Excellency, Minister of Forests and Wildlife of Cameroon,

Current President of the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC)

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Commissioner representing the President of the ECCAS Commission

Executive Secretary of COMIFAC

Excellencies, Ambassadors and Representatives of regional, sub-regional and international organizations

Ladies and Gentlemen, all protocols observed,

It gives me great pleasure to have the chance to speak at the beginning of this extraordinary session of COMIFAC Ministers in my capacity as Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership. Firstly, allow me to convey the gratitude of the CBFP members for the positive cooperation between the Central African nations and the Federal Republic of Germany CBFP Facilitation.

This extraordinary session of the COMIFAC Council of Ministers is a high-stakes meeting given the items on its agenda pertaining to the Central African countries' preparations to take part in upcoming international meetings, which include: the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the 15th COP on Biodiversity and the 19th COP to CITES.

The experts of COMIFAC member countries will submit draft statements of common positions for your review and I would like to inform you that the CBFP Facilitation supported this work by participating in the meetings of the COMIFAC working groups and discussions of the CBFP thematic streams.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

It’s been several months since COP 26 took place in Glasgow and the 19th Meeting of CBFP Parties was held in Libreville. Since then, I have engaged in a number of activities and would like to give you a brief rundown of  these and some of the results achieved.

 

In fact, the Glasgow conference marked a major turning point in negotiations, particularly for the Congo Basin, when 12 donors announced funding of up to USD1.5 billion in support of protecting Congo Basin forests. Undoubtedly, the COMIFAC nations expected  a "free fund" to be available for mobilization. Allow me to point out that donors have little flexibility in the short term due to varying rules and procedural restrictions. As a result, they are limited to endorsing budgetary decisions that have already been made or are being planned for one or two years in advance.


Regarding the calls for transparency expressed in the three announcements of the financial commitments made by the Glasgow partners (Pledges), specifically on the "protection of Congo Basin forests," "local communities and indigenous peoples," and "forests and land use," I would like to inform you that a detailed report on these announcements to deliver this transparency is still in progress.

 

Indeed, excluding two donors who have not submitted their forms and have already been contacted in this regard, all the donors have completed and returned the pledge forms that were sent by the British and American Co-Chairs of the CBFP Donor College on Transparency. The British co-chairs will compile them as soon as the remaining donors send in their completed questionnaires.

 

Form collection will be delayed due to the London government reshuffle that was halted by Queen’s death. Hence the report's findings on the three pledges will only be released during COP 27. However, British Minister Alok Sharma will be presenting a status report next week on behalf of the CBFP Donor College.

 

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Sustainable and equitable financing for ecological services remains one of the top concerns of the CBFP Facilitation, which is working as requested by the CBFP general assembly in Libreville to establish a task force charged with developing the key arguments for the political debate on the issue of sustainable financing of ecological services between the international community and the Congo Basin. I'm certain that the only way to make forest protection competitive is to ensure fair compensation for ecological services.


In keeping with the COMIFAC Declaration's " Fair Deal, as we call it" more and more donors are prepared to offer the Congo Basin countries much more additional financial resources as compensation for providing ecological services. Nevertheless, this will not come as a "blank check." The donors seek an agreement they can rely on and defend in front of their tax payers.

This is why before making such a commitment over the medium and long term; we must first address crucial and unresolved issues. We have already begun to do so, and now want to link the respective centres of excellence working on these issues, including institutions in Africa, with the Taskforce as soon as it is established in accordance with the Libreville recommendation at the 19th Meeting of Parties of the CBFP, in order to come up with a basic proposal for a more comprehensive "Fair Deal" as soon as possible.

 

However, I must also kindly request our Central African partners to allow us enough time to achieve this. I must say that this project cannot be completed without you; all your inputs and thoughts are therefore welcome. This will enable us to present the donor community with a sustained, reliable framework  that is devoid of any governance bias and which would gladly welcome their pledges.

.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

The Central African nations have had a voice since Glasgow and continue to do so. Let's keep the momentum and work together to achieve our shared objective of securing the long-term funding required to enable the Congo Basin's forests to compete with other land uses. I have reason for optimism and my recent statements on this topic before the German Federal Parliament, the European Union Parliament, and other Western capitals, confirm that we are moving in the right direction.

In this connection, we suggest holding the next High Level Political Dialogue during the second week of COP 27. The dialogue will centre on crucial topics related to the Glasgow Pledge, the "Fair Deal" the Taskforce, etc…


In addition, I'm thrilled to share that Bezos Earth Fund recently joined the CBFP as its 125th member. The Republic of Korea has also joined, making all of the Glasgow Donor Group's members full members of the CBFP Donor College, where discussions are currently taking place. A second announcement I'd like to make is that the CBFP now includes the International Bamboo Organization (INBAR).
In regards to uneven financial distribution and unbalanced cooperation with Central African nations—many of which are still not included—I would like to let you know that I have brought up this issue during discussions with the Donor College, which has been made aware of the issue and agrees that more discussion is necessary.

 

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

The German CBFP Facilitation has begun organizing the second International Conference of Ministers on Transhumance, also known as "N'Djamena 2" in compliance with a recommendation from the 19th Meeting of Parties of the CBFP.


I am aware that the Congo Basin nations are now making their voice heard in important international discussions, and that the value of Central African forests and their contribution to climate regulation are being acknowledged. This is a step forward that the CBFP partners will continue to support together.

 

On this note, I wish you every success in your discussions.

Long live the Congo Basin Forest Partnership

Long live the Central African Forest Commission

Long live the Economic Community of Central African States

Thank you for your kind attention.

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