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.
The aim of the meeting, held during the final phase of the German CBFP Facilitation, was also to get comments, criticisms and suggestions on the work of the CBFP Facilitation, and on the organisation and operation of the CBFP in general, with a view to better preparing the future of the CBFP and its transfer to France-Gabon.
For around two hours, tongues were wagging, words were exchanged and the long-guarded time bomb exploded.
It all began as usual with the traditional introduction of participants, moderated by Dr Dany Pokem of the CBFP Facilitation.
This was followed by a word of welcome from Cécile Ndjebet, winner of the United Nations "Champions of the Earth" 2022 award in the "Inspiration and Action" category, and Forest Champion 2022, (Wangari Maathai), who acted as co-leader of the CBFP's civil society college. In this capacity, Ms. Ndjebet continued and moderated the college meeting.
Taking the floor to welcome the members of the college, the CBFP Facilitator, the Honorable Dr Christian Ruck, before getting into the program, emphasized that the German CBFP Facilitation had contributed to consolidating the CBFP CSO college and facilitating its influence at sub-regional and international level.
As such, he warmly congratulated the nominations and distinctions that honour and enhance the visibility of the Congo Basin, namely:
- The torchbearer, Ms Cécile Bibiane Ndjebet Co Leader of the CBFP CSO College, Champion of the Earth 2022 and Forest Champions' Award 2022 (Wangari Maathai) (World Forestry Congress)
- Marie Tamoifo as spokesperson for Central African civil society at the United Nations Security Council under the presidency of the United Arab Emirates.
REPALEAC's speeches to Heads of State at COP 27 climate and at the One Planet Summit were likewise commended.
Other distinctions that have not enjoyed as much visibility in favor of the commitment and dedication of all network leaders were also noted and hailed by the Facilitator.
Through their charisma, these CBFP College network leaders have demonstrated the importance of protecting Central Africa's forests for the planet.
He expressed his thanks for the various contributions of the CSO college to the implementation of the roadmap of the German CBFP Facilitation.
As planned in the program, there was a brief update on the results of the implementation of the German CBFP Facilitation roadmap, a focus on major regional and international events including the 2022 and 1st half 2023 conferences (MoP, Cop27, CoP15, etc.), a review of previous years of German CBFP Facilitation among other successes and expectations of the college, and an update on the transborder transhumance conference from July 10 to 12, 2023.
Things got tougher in the question and answer session. The words that had been held back for so long flew out.
The Facilitation received comments:
- The need for Civil Society to speak with one voice and not be divided as is the case within the college with one SC CEFDHAC and one non CEFDHAC.
- The repositioning of REPAR in CBFP governance in view of its role, which should not be seen as civil society.
- Need to improve support for civil society beyond facilitating their participation in meetings, but rather for actions that would have an impact on the ground, in the lives of populations and communities.
- Increase the number of CSO participants at CBFP meetings, notably including national forums. Strike a balance between thematic networks and national forums;
- CS needs to assess these needs and approach partners in a coherent manner,
- Ensure continuity between two Facilitations, so that benefits are maintained and built on.
- Confusion on the part of the Facilitation in its approach to civil society, which has helped to create a division among members and a network-based approach;
- CEFDHAC should be considered a platform, so civil society is part of it;
- Request for an evaluation of the CBFP and its impact in relation to its mandate.
Making amends, the CBFP Facilitator listened and provided some clarifications. The Honorable Dr Christian Ruck nevertheless pointed out that the CBFP Facilitation's mandate is not to impose dates, content or give directives to Civil Society. CS is a free entity, and the CBFP only plays the role of Facilitator.
In its role as Facilitator, the CBFP has taken steps to better position civil society at national and international level.
The Facilitator recalled the civil society days organized on the sidelines of major CBFP meetings. The pavilions organized jointly with civil society at COPs and other major international meetings.
As part of it’s commitment to SC, the CBFP Facilitator announced that, despite the in-camera nature of the July 10-12 conference on transborder Transhumance, a discussion forum in the form of a side event would be organized for CBFP Civil Society on July 10, the first day of the conference.
The CBFP Facilitator concluded by noting the great diversity of the CBFP's CS, which he sees as a strength that should enable it to be more autonomous and stable.
There is a need to take note of the restructuring of Civil Society, to bring back the dispersed entities and to define Civil Society's vision and action plans.
The meeting ended on the note that Civil Society must take its destiny into its own hands.
The members of the CBFP's Civil Society met privately to analyse this heart-to-heart meeting with the CBFP's Facilitation of the Federal Republic of Germany, to agree on new directions to take and action plans to be implemented during the next France-Gabon Facilitation.
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