Charles Balogoun: « Over 70% of arable land is already degraded -environnementales
Oyéoussi Charles Balogoun is the Africa Representative of the NGO Panel under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The Civil Society Panel (CSO Panel) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) represents nearly 500 organisations accredited to the Convention. Charles Balogoun is also the Global President and Chairman of the Board of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Afrique Espérance. He answers ENVIRONNEMENTALES’s questions on the state of desertification in Africa.
What is your panel’s assessment of the advancing desert in Africa?
First of all, I would like to say a big thank you to your media organisation, which makes enormous efforts to support endogenous initiatives to combat the effects of climate change. You were with us from the start in 2020 after the Institut de la Francophonie pour le développement durable (IFDD), a subsidiary body of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), awarded us a grant for the implementation of the project « organic waste recovery to increase the income of women’s groups in the council of Zè in southern Benin ». And so to answer your question, before the COP15 UNCCD held from 9 to 20 May 2022 in Abidjan in Ivory Coast, the 2nd Review of the Global Land Outlook, Second Edition was launched. The conclusions of this report are alarming and worrying for our survival on earth. According to the experts involved in this scientific and research activity, more than 70% of the arable land is already degraded and therefore unusable and infertile; only 30% is left to feed more than 7 billion people on the globe. This state of affairs also affects the ability of our environment to absorb the influence of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, causing damage to the ozone layer and in turn reflecting the high level of global warming. Urgent and appropriate measures are therefore needed to address this. Hence the interest of the strong resolutions and recommendations of the « Abidjan Declaration ».
At the COP15 on desertification from 9 to 20 May 2022 in Ivory Coast, many delegates from the African continent wanted to see the adoption of an additional protocol on drought, inspired by the Kyoto Protocol on climate. What is your panel doing to support the adoption of such a protocol at COP16, which will take place in 2024 in Saudi Arabia?
The highlights of the UNCCD COP15 in Abidjan include planting one billion trees by 2030, restoring more than 30% of degraded land by 2030, building resilience to drought by identifying the expansion of drylands, creating an Intergovernmental Working Group on Drought for 2022-2024, improving women’s involvement in land management as stakeholders, combating sand and dust storms, and other increasing disaster risks, as well as promoting decent land-related jobs for youth and youth entrepreneurship, but also supporting their participation in the Convention process. To these various strong resolutions, the CSO Panel Africa branch in good understanding with the UNCCD CSO Panel (global) has already validated its two-year work plan. The first step is to take stock of the existing situation, i.e. the accredited organisations and what they are doing on the ground. This will allow us to have a reliable data base to make decisions and implement consequent projects. To support the adoption of such a protocol, and I must remind you that it is the « Parties » (delegates from the 195 States that have ratified the Convention, editor’s note) that have the right to vote, but the CSOs, also called « observers », can make proposals and are only taken into account if the General Assembly finds them very relevant as a proposal. This is why we are already preparing a call for contributions and ideas through a Google form to collect contributions from our peers. This long-term work will certainly result in what could be called « Africa’s contribution to the additional protocol ».
An intergovernmental working group on drought was created at COP 15. How does your panel relate to this group?
This thematic summary and Compendium serve to compile the discussions, recommendations and conclusions reached over 4 intensive days of work in thematic ateliers (Streams), plenary, side events and political discussions.
Mr Christophe Guilhou, Director of Sustainable Development, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, France, and Mr Ghislain Moussavou, Director General of Forests, Ministry of Water, Forests, the Sea and the Environment, in charge of the Climate Plan and the Land Use Plan, Gabon, were officially installed as CBFP Facilitators on 12 July 2023 during a ceremony to hand over the CBFP Facilitation from Germany to Gabon and France, presided over by Prof. Sanctus Niragira, Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, Burundi, and current Chairman of COMIFAC.
At the 11th Meeting of the Governing Council of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) on 12 July 2023, the Honourable Dr. Christian Ruck presented to the members of the said Council an 11 point summary of the activities carried out by the CBFP Facilitation of the Federal Republic of Germany during its mandate....
The French-Gabonese facilitation is part of this unprecedented framework. Firstly, because this is the first time since the creation of the Partnership that this work has been carried out jointly by a donor country, France, and a Congo Basin forest country, Gabon. In addition, the One Forest Summit, held in Libreville in March 2023, reiterated the importance of Central Africa's forests, promoting greater scientific cooperation, sustainable value chains and the development of innovative financing mechanisms.
The 11th meeting of the CBFP Governing Council was held on July 12, 2023 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. This "statutory" meeting in the organised by the CBFP, of which the objective was to present the Roadmap of the Franco-Gabonese Facilitation to the members of the CBFP Governing Council, took place just after the handover of the CBFP Facilitation from Germany to France and Gabon.
M. Christophe GUILHOU was recently appointed Co-Facilitator of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) by the Government of the French Republic for the period July 2023 to 2025. Please download his biography...
The presentations of the CBFP geographical blocks at the Second International Conference of Ministers on Transboundary Transhumance Nexus: transhumance, protected areas and natural resources, development, peace and security from 10 to 12 July in Yaoundé Cameroon are available. Please download the presentations of the Country Investment Plans (PIP) of the different blocks....
The Congo Basin, sometimes referred to as the “heart of Africa” and “lungs of the world,” absorbs more carbon than the tropical forests of the Amazon and Southeast Asia combined. It's home to 75 million people and species found nowhere else on Earth. Yet these forests are disappearing at alarming rates.
We hereby cordially invite you to our regional launch of the German cooperation project "Peaceful and inclusive transhumance in Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad" at the Second International Conference of Ministers on Transboundary Transhumance.
Dear Panelists, dear Guests, You are invited to take part in the sharing and reflection workshop that IOM Cameroon and KAS are organizing on the theme: "Practical solutions to migration, security and climate change: Initiatives and commitments by civil society and the United Nations to address and resolve challenges". As part of the Second International Ministerial Conference on Transboundary Transhumance - Nexus.
Yaoundé, July 4, 2023 - From July 10 to 12, 2023, under the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Cameroon, His Excellency Paul Biya, Cameroon will host the Second International Conference of Ministers on Transboundary Transhumance Nexus: transhumance, protected areas and natural resources, development, peace and security. Please download the Document...
The Global Environment Facility’s governing board has approved plans to establish a “game-changing” new fund to finance the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which aims to put nature on a recovery path by the end of this decade. The GEF Council decision, taken during a meeting in Brazil, clears the way for the launch of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund at the Seventh GEF Assembly, to take place in Vancouver, Canada, in August.
The purpose of the visit on Friday June 23, 2023 was for the team from the Ministry of External Relations of Cameroon (MIREX) to make sure that the Hilton's facilities are adequate to welcome the ministers and participants expected to attend the Ministers' Conference on transborder Transhumance from July 10 to 12, 2023.
This is the objective of the virtual meeting held this Monday, June 19, 2023, between the CBFP Facilitation of the Federal Republic of Germany, headed by the Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck, and some fifteen networks and forums that are members of the CBFP Civil Society College.
"I've already attended the COP in France, in Egypt, and everyone kept talking about the Amazon. So I said to myself: why not hold the conference here, so that everyone knows about the Amazon?", justified Lula. A climate summit in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced on Friday May 26 that the UN had chosen the Amazonian town of Belem to host the COP30 climate conference in 2025. "It will be an honor for Brazil to receive representatives from all over the world in our Amazon," Lula wrote on social networks.
The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) will deploy $63 million in urgent funding for countries on the frontlines of climate change following a meeting of the Global Environment Facility-managed funds in Brazil.
Douala, Cameroon, May 24-26, 2023. As part of the implementation of the recommendations of the first high-level concertation for peaceful transborder transhumance in the Lake Chad Basin, held in Ndjamena in September 2019, ECCAS and ECOWAS have undertaken a mapping study of actions and initiatives contributing to the prevention and resolution of conflicts linked to competition for access to resources in the Lake Chad Basin, CAR and DRC. This study was financed by the ECCAS Border Program Support Project (APF-CEEAC).
This workshop took place from June 13 to 15, 2023 in the conference room of the ZION BEACH hotel in Bujumbura, Burundi. The aim of the sub-regional meeting was to develop a RECEIAC action strategy to reinforce the promotion and ownership of the revised COMIFAC convergence plan by stakeholders.
The online training course in Botanical Garden management was created and financed as part of the SEP2D Program (Sud-Expert Plantes - Développement Durable/ Sud-Expert Plants - Sustainable development). The SEP2D program is part of the international drive to support and accompany scientific communities in the South, reaffirmed at the 10th Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya in 2010. It aims to strengthen interactions and partnerships in plant biodiversity between research, teaching and the demands of society.
Yaoundé, Cameroon, June 9, 2023- The COMIFAC Gender Committee, created by a memorandum dated January 11, 2023, held its first meeting at the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat Head Office. The meeting was attended by some twenty members representing the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat, technical partners and civil society organizations, including FAO, FTNS, GIZ, Rain Forest Alliance, REFADD, RIFFEAC and IUCN.
The second edition of the report on the summary of forest and wildlife offences published by the Field Legality Advisory Group (FLAG) in 2021 analyses Cameroon's forest and wildlife litigation based on the summaries (a document presenting court cases and files monitored by the forest and wildlife administration over a given period) published by the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife and obtained by FLAG over the period 2019-2020.
The quality of a blue carbon ecosystem project, essential for investor appeal, must be judged by strong social outcomes, benefit sharing, and community support, all of which can ultimately determine the project’s sustainability and contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
When it meets this month in Brasilia, the Global Environment Facility’s governing body will consider a record $1.4 billion work program and set the contours of a new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, speeding up international efforts to confront species loss and related crises.
The Climate Chance Summit Africa 2023 will bring together on the 23rd, 24th and 2th of October 2023 at the Palais des Congrès in Yaounde 1,500 African actors from the "climate community": high-level personalities, experts, actors in the field, representatives of local governments, businesses and organised civil society.
Celebrations for World Environment Day 2023 kicked off in host-country Cote d’Ivoire, as millions of people prepare for similar activities across the world. Venues across the capital city, Abidjan – from its historic lagoon to its first modern art museum - shone the spotlight on this year’s theme #Beat Plastic Pollution.
Congo Basin Carbon brings together information on various research and education projects in the Yangambi and Luki MAB Reserves in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Through this website we hope to strengthen research networks and improve project visibility, specifically for carbon research. Tropical rainforests such as the forests of the Congo Basin comprise nearly half of the world’s vegetation carbon. Intact tropical forests represent a carbon sink at a level that is higher than other vegetation types. The issues of carbon stocks, sinks and sources in tropical forests are therefore a central topic in international policy debates on climate changes.
At last year’s United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), 141 leaders committed to halt and reverse forest loss and degradation by 2030. Forests, particularly tropical ones, are known to play a crucial role in removing carbon from the atmosphere, partially offsetting the effect of greenhouse gas emissions. This is a highly valuable service to the global climate, meaning the world should be willing to pay to ensure it happens. In this policy note, we look at just how valuable that service is, and put that in the context of aid efforts to protect forests.
During the process of photosynthesis, trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Rainforests act as important 'carbon sinks' stemming global heating. The Congo rainforest is the planet’s most important “lung,” new data has revealed. The world’s rainforests absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide, slowing down global warming.
The world is getting a better understanding of just how important forests are in the global fight against climate change. New research, published in Nature Climate Change and available on Global Forest Watch, found that the world’s forests sequestered about twice as much carbon dioxide as they emitted between 2001 and 2019. In other words, forests provide a “carbon sink” that absorbs a net 7.6 billion metric tonnes of CO2 per year, 1.5 times more carbon than the United States emits annually.
This brief describes the first efforts to integrate agroforestry with charcoal production in the Yangambi tropical forest landscape. Activities resulted in both increased food crop production and reforestation, as well as the establishment of producer-led local associations and greater collaboration between communities and local authorities.
The GEF Secretariat prepared this document to summarize the GEF’s potential role in a financial mechanism for the internationally legally binding instrument under negotiation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). The document is prepared to help inform deliberations. It also includes questions and answers to key issues raised thus far by countries. GEF’s role as Convention Financial Mechanism: The GEF serves as a/the financial mechanism for five Conventions, namely the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Minamata Convention on Mercury, Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Chemicals, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
On May 8, 2023, in the BOUN'S Hotel conference, in Yaoundé, a workshop was held to launch the process of drawing up the Cameroon Country Investment Plan (CIP) on the nexus of transboundary transhumance, protected areas, peace and security, and development. Please download the final communiqué of the workshop...
Geneva and Yaoundé, 26 May 2023. The Ministry of Economy, Planning and Land Planning of Cameroon (MINEPAT) and CAFI are launching two Calls for Expressions of Interest today to all relevant implementing organisations concerned, representing a maximum of 60 million US$.
WWF is supporting the Government of Cameroon in her effort to restore more than 12 million hectares of degraded landscapes in the country. In 2017, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife committed, on behalf of the Government of Cameroon, to restore 12,062,768 ha of degraded landscapes under AFR100 and the Bonn Challenge by 2030. Of these, 80% are in the three northern regions of Adamaoua, North and Far North; with the remainder in the high plateau, Centre region, vast forest and coastal areas (Mangroves).