On Wednesday, February 8 at 15.00 CET (Berlin, Brussels, Kinshasa Time) on MS Team, the partners and co-leaders of the Eastern Block of the follow-up of the implementation of the N'Djaména Declaration on Transhumance held their first coordination meeting of the year 2023. This meeting followed the meeting of the Central block on Tuesday, January 31, 2023.
This major meeting aimed to prepare the holding of the technical workshop of the Eastern Block scheduled for March 21, 2023 in Kinshasa and to define the next steps, a roadmap in view of the holding of the said technical workshop of March 2023.
Took part in this meeting: the representatives of the countries concerned in the East Block, the partners and co-leaders of the Block and other actors of the East Block for the follow-up of the implementation of the N'Djamena Declaration, notably: Antwerp Zoo Foundation, AWF, FAO, FERN, DRC/ICCN, OFAC, German CBFP Facilitation, South Sudan, EU, UNESCO, USFWS, WCS, etc.
The meeting started with a brief introduction of the participants, followed by the welcome address by the Leader of the Eastern Block, Prof. Michel Baudouin, NPA Special Envoy, and the CBFP Facilitator Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck.
After the usual greetings, Dr. Christian Ruck mentioned the organization of the 2nd International Conference of Ministers on transhumance, which will allow to take stock of the progress of the implementation of the N'Djaména Declaration and to take appropriate measures to meet the challenges related to transboundary transhumance movements between the Sahel and the northern regions of equatorial Africa. The CBFP facilitator gave an update on the logistical organization of the June conference and emphasized the need to refine the concept note already available, and to finalize the country investment plans to enable him to fine-tune his advocacy to the CBFP's financial partners.
Following the CBFP Facilitator's intervention, it appeared from the presentations of the leaders and co-leaders of the Eastern Block that :
Concerning the South Sudan - DRC cross-border agreement
The technical document of the cross-border agreement was finalized by the experts and is now in the hands of relevant sectoral ministries in DRC and South Sudan. ICCN stressed that this draft MoU will be sent to the Ministry in the coming days.
It was recommended by the meeting not to modify the text too much so as not to delay the process and to ensure a follow up at the level of the ministries to facilitate the signature. This in order not to lengthen the process that has already taken for two and a half years.
Concerning the South Sudan-DRC cross-border agreement
The technical document of the cross-border agreement had been finalized at the expert level and is at the level of the ICCN, which has already endorsed it for transmission to the supervisory ministry in the DRC.
To the question of whether this MoU integrates the corollary challenges to the transhumance theme (security, cross-border movements, pastoral and agricultural economy, etc.), the leader of the Eastern block recommended not investing too much time in the modification of the text so as to not to lengthen the process that has been going on for two and a half years, and to avoid delaying the follow-up of the signature at the level of the ministries.
Regarding the state of preparation of the countries' investment plans
An inclusive approach of all stakeholders is required in the DRC. After the review of the draft plans prepared in Douala in July 2018, a document updated by the field actors will be available by March.
Considering the sub-regional dimension of ECCAS which has a strategy in this area, the need for technical involvement of ECCAS in the process and its participation in the March meeting to avoid duplication was underlined.
The investment plan for Southern Sudan is underway. The document prepared at the Douala meeting in 2021 will be sent to the parties concerned for inputs.
Beyond the country component, we should already be thinking about regional and local components to address transhumance. The FAO has expressed its readiness to contribute to the process and to actively participate in it. WCS and African Park will continue to discuss how to move forward with the development of investment plans at the South Sudan level.
OFAC reaffirmed its willingness to provide mapping data.
To this end, representatives from the three blocks will be asked to collect data to update the maps.
In the success story section of the meeting, participants were given a presentation on Chinko in CAR, which in less than 7 years has gone from a landscape overrun by thousands of cattle and without any wildlife, to a mecca for conservation and regional stability. A film on the approach will be made and shared if possible at the June conference.
The leader of the Eastern Block concluded the meeting by thanking the participants for their productivity and looking forward to March 21 in DRC.