Partners of N’Djamena follow-up process and Douala Action Plan gather around Facilitator of Federal Republic of Germany, Honourable Dr Christian Ruck

 

Berlin, 5 May 2020 – An online conference was held by the partners in the implementation of the N’Djamena Declaration (January 2019) and the Douala Action Plan (December 2019) on security, the fight against poaching, monitoring of transhumance and armed groups circulating between the Sahel and Equatorial Africa.

The meeting was chaired by Honourable Dr Christian Ruck, the Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany and moderated by Dr Dany Pokem, the Technical Coordinator of the CBFP’s communications, meetings and members.

 

36 participants representing the Leaders and Co-Leaders of the West, Centre and East blocs of the N’Djamena process, resource persons and the CBFP Facilitation team of the Federal Republic of Germany attended the meeting.

 

After housekeeping rules for the online conference were announced, the meeting agenda was presented. It included the following items:

 

  • An overview of the German CBFP Facilitation’s roadmap 2020-2021 presented by the CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • OFAC’s contribution on the status of mapping of the blocs: status and programming;
  • Contributions in the following order; from the leaders of the West, Centre and East Blocs: current situation, some ideas, guidelines, intervention axes for the implementation of the N’Djamena Declaration and the Douala Action Plan
  • Discussions

 

An overview of the German CBFP Facilitator’s speech on the Roadmap 2020-2021 of the CBFP Facilitation of the Federal Republic of Germany.

 

In his speech, Honourable Dr Christian Ruck began by welcoming all thirty participants, whose strong turnout was proof of their commitment to the continued implementation of the N’Djamena Declaration and the Douala Action Plan.

 

He then presented an overview of the roadmap of the CBFP Facilitation of the Federal Republic of Germany. After providing context for the online conference, he pointed out that the roadmap would build on the work done by the Belgian CBFP Facilitation in monitoring transhumance and fighting transboundary poaching as well as developing dialogue with China. He recalled that a number of key international meetings were set to take place during the German Facilitation’s tenure, including the EU-Africa Summit, the EU-China and the CDB and UNFCCC Conferences which represent great opportunities for the CBFP partners who should take part as a united front with a clear common position that can help shape these processes, an exceptional opportunity which the CBFP partners must not miss.

 

OFAC’s contribution on the status of mapping of the blocs: status and programming;

 

Speaking on behalf of OFAC, Florence Palla and Quentin Ungers from the Observatory of Central African Forests made a presentation entitled “An overview of the geographical blocs of the CBFP - where the Sahel meets Equatorial Africa”. Their presentation was centred around the following points:

 

  • Justification for geographic blocs;
  • Rationale for chosen approach;
  • A summary of issues and stakeholders: Regional perspectives; West Blocs; Central Blocs; East Blocs.

 

In conclusion, the presenters tabled the following elements for consideration during the discussions, namely:

 

  • The geographical blocs are not timebound nor spatially: yet they mirror the priority areas of intervention of the Action Plan.
  • The lessons learned underscore the need for a multisectoral transboundary approach
  • The action plan should help to catalyse transboundary collaboration in implementing anti-poaching strategies and managing transboundary transhumance.
  • Transhumance is an ancestral income-generating activity with potential benefits for conservation in a stable environment.
  • The urgent need to restore a strong State presence (or, failing that, a Delegation of territorial administration) in transboundary areas that have been identified as critical zones.

 

Available for download: Presentation of Florence Palla and Quentin Jungers from the Observatory of Central African Forests (OFAC)

 

OFAC has responded by establishing a regional follow-up mechanism and a regional observatory on transhumance...implementing this transboundary initiative will require mobilizing the Partners to share/exchange data and the resulting analysis. The priority for this kind of cross-cutting initiative would be to ensure efficient data collection and sharing as well acknowledging individual efforts in developing and/or disseminating the data produced.  OFAC could play a technical role, working hand in hand with field players (heads of blocs, FAO, ACF, IGAD) under COMIFAC’s mandate in collaboration with other authorized regional institutions in Africa.

 

Please refer to the documents on the observation, follow-up and organisation of transhumance in Central Africa, comprising 4 products: policy briefs, a news watch bulletin, a report on the state of transhumance. They also include a set of recommendations from the logical frameworks and discussions held with the bloc heads.  Equally available is a poster depicting the role a regional observatory could play in situation analysis and in supporting follow-up and transboundary land allocation, etc

 

Contributions in the following order; from the leaders of the West, Centre and East Blocs: current situation, some ideas, guidelines, intervention axes for the implementation of the N’Djamena Declaration and the Douala Action Plan

 

Contributions in the following order; from the leaders of the West, Centre and East Blocs: current situation, some ideas, guidelines, intervention axes for the implementation of the N’Djamena Declaration and the Douala Action Plan

 

West Bloc: Leader Bertille Mayen, GIZ BSB

 

Speaking on behalf of the West Bloc, Bertille Mayen from the GIZ reported on the progress of ongoing efforts to finalize the West Bloc’s logical framework, with a special focus on improving transboundary collaboration in order to curb transboundary wildlife crime, monitor transhumance and address the issue of armed groups circulating between the Sahel and Equatorial Africa. She advised against trying to re-invent the wheel in an effort to develop efficient anti-poaching responses (LAB), and rather advocated for: i) reliance on existing legislation and cooperation frameworks; ii) the revamping of existing cooperation agreements; strengthening ongoing negotiations on framework agreements and cooperation agreements.  She noted that experts at the Expert Technical Meeting in Douala, had strongly recommended integrating human rights into the logical framework, based on experience in the field.  They recommended drawing inspiration from field experience and modules developed by the Cameroon Human Rights Commission in collaboration with conservation partners in Central Africa. The aim would be to produce a training module on human rights tailored specifically to the fight against poaching and biodiversity conservation. She also underscored the need for an awareness raising module on the following points (adapted to the needs of each region) on eco-security, transboundary anti-poaching (LAB), monitoring of transhumance and the circulation of armed groups between the Sahel and Equatorial Africa. She further stressed the need to identify existing platforms to support transboundary cooperation in the interests of Transboundary LAB. Creating new bodies would only complicate things further given that the existing ones are still struggling to be financially self-sufficient and stay sustainable. We cannot address the issues of protected area protection and conservation and monitoring of transhumance without highlighting aspects relating to the development of local and indigenous communities as they face the threat of insecurity posed by armed groups operating between the Sahel and Equatorial Africa.  

 

- Regarding transhumance, she mentioned the fact that the GIZ had commissioned a study on transhumance in the BSB transboundary complex. It emerged from the GIZ’s deliberations, that it is important to take the traditional and local knowledge of indigenous people into account in transhumance management. Indeed, there are agreements that have been established between the traditional chiefdoms of the transhumant herders’ communities of origin and recipient communities. These informal habits, customs and agreements appear to have a major influence on transhumant herders’ movements in the sub-region. In light of the foregoing, there is an urgent need to review existing formal cooperation agreements (between States parties to the agreements) and informal agreements (between the communities on one hand and the borders of the countries in the West bloc on the other hand). Knowledge of these agreements would be one of the key elements in developing measures for efficient and sustainable monitoring of transhumance.  She ended her presentation by reaffirming the need to use coordinated remote sensing and monitoring tools in Central Africa to better monitor and protect natural resources. Still along the same lines, she added that capitalizing on the collaboration between the Gabonese Spatial Studies and Observation Agency (AGEOS) and COMIFAC could prove to be an asset for efficient resource management in the area covered by the N’Djamena Declaration.

 

Centre Bloc - Leader Florent Zowoya, WCS

 

Centre Bloc - Leader Florent Zowoya, WCS

 

Speaking on behalf of the Centre bloc, Florent Zowoya from WCS recalled the importance of the multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral approach, notably getting the Ministry of Livestock and Agriculture and other ministries (such as Foreign Affairs) involved in following up on the recommendations of the N’Djamena Conference. He also remarked on the notable absence of conservation actors at three important meetings dealing with the issue of transhumance-related insecurity, held between December 2019 and January 2020 in N’Djamena, including the meeting hosted by the FAO.  The speaker underscored the need to work with all actors to regulate/monitor transhumance in the region.

 

Given the prevailing insecurity in the region on the one hand and on the other hand concerns relating to the dynamics of mainstream transhumance, transboundary poaching originating in Sudan and other ongoing transboundary criminal activities, he advocated for the establishment of a regional warning system to allow a proactive approach to tackling these threats. Establishing a WhatsApp group as part of the WCS-RCA programme to enable information-sharing among actors was one of the suggested approaches which could be adapted and used within a network covering all protected area managers in the sub-region.

 

Touching on the issue of transboundary memoranda of agreement on the fight against poaching, Florent ZOWOYA stressed the need to incorporate aspects relating to transhumance, given its potential impact on habitats and wildlife within protected areas and their functional landscapes. Training related aspects are key to the Centre Bloc in terms of the importance of developing and implementing local land use allocation plans that take local development and transhumance dynamics into account, he continued. Establishing a multi-stakeholder transboundary monitoring Platform is key, the Bloc 2 Leader added. He recalled the need for the N’Djamena Follow-up Committee to include other sectors and ministries whose inputs are believed to be a crucial factor in achieving the expected results.  The speaker assured the audience that the Consolidated Logical Framework of the Centre Bloc would be available soon.

 

East Bloc Leader Michel Baudouin, African Parks

 

Michel Baudouin reported on the status of the East Bloc’s logical framework and thanked OFAC for their valuable contribution to its development. He welcomed the successful outcome of negotiations between the CAR and African Parks which had culminated in the signing of the contract to manage the Chinko Wildlife Reserve. It was an intense and successful process. He seized the opportunity to thank the diplomatic missions which were instrumental to the success of the process, notably the European Union Delegation and the United States Embassy in the Central African Republic.  Michel Baudouin further underscored the importance of continued negotiations with South Sudan, the authorities of the "Lantoto and Southerns National Parks" in order to secure a transboundary agreement between the DRC, South Sudan and CAR. The CBFP Facilitation would need to carry out political and diplomatic follow-up in this respect.

 

Discussion – exchanges

 

After the presentations, the participants discussed various issues, which are summarized below:

 

Pierre Proces, ECOFAC VI Regional Programme (former member of the Belgian CBFP Facilitation Team): It would be interesting to "map" out the actions that are politically and financially supported by the States and their PTFs and that fall in line with the activities of the logical framework developed during the N'Djamena follow-up. This would help to direct future political and financial efforts towards sites or activities that are currently not receiving any support.

 

Maxime Nzita, ECOFAC VI Programme (former CBFP Co-Facilitator), stressed the idea of the principle of subsidiarity. In this connection, he urged the leaders of the Geographical Blocs to focus their interventions on aspects that provide added value to the CBFP Facilitation, which means engaging the CBFP Facilitation involved in implementing initiatives in which it has unique leverage.  These include among other things, diplomatic, political actions and “Facility” support where necessary. In other words, the Facilitation should focus on political, diplomatic and lobbying activity to facilitate and lift hurdles to the implementation of the N’Djamena Declaration, the Douala Action Plan and the N’Djamena roadmap. Each Bloc leader should review the logical framework and highlight what has been done, and then supplement this information with the map of existing donors in these central areas. In addition, for each theme, they should determine political actions to be carried out, for example relating to transhumance, the “Scoping” work to be done by each State, beginning with the " pivot " which is Chad and identify actions aimed at addressing transhumance from countries of origin.  A question was raised as to how the CBFP Facilitation should handle the countries of origin, with Chad as its centrepiece. It was noted that there was a need to reconnect with the Chadian Ministry of the Environment and rally political support for security aspects as well. In addition, recipient countries must be involved in implementation efforts in order to curb their impact. The political aspect of transhumance should be a "package" to be discussed in terms of actions, sustainable economic models to be promoted through the countries of origin, with the promotion campaigns targeting Chad and Cameroon and, to a certain extent, the CAR through a regional project. For instance, if transhumance actions prove too difficult to operationalize in the West Bloc given the security threats they pose to livestock-intensive countries, the Facilitation’s political endeavours would logically be directed towards one of the States of origin. In such a case, coaching would be geared towards helping the bloc to forward all the operational technical scenarios that the Facilitator must submit to the States concerned. Thus, the different axes and other sub-themes would be easily implemented without increased involvement of the Facilitation. These notably include topics relating to cross-border agreements, promoting the PPP co-management model in the countries concerned and major safe steps the Facilitation can take towards the countries of origin with Chad as a centrepiece.

In a nutshell, the other partners must forward political action elements to the Facilitation to help develop a roadmap for conducting advocacy efforts with politicians, donors and regional institutions.

 

Denis Mahonghol from TRAFFIC, enlightened the participants on Africa Twix (from Central Africa), an important, functional tool which is already operational in 9 COMIFAC countries. The tool connects all LAB stakeholders and is therefore effective in addressing the urgent need for information and intelligence. He pointed out that the tool is a much more effective information-sharing platform than WhatsApp groups. He also recalled the need to go beyond mere communication, and steer discussions towards the trade in species harvested in and around the different blocs.

 

Noeline Raondry Rakotoarisoa from UNESCO stressed the need to map out interventions. What are the mandates and value ​​added by each one with a view to strengthening synergy and pooling actors together? Using the Lake Chad Biosphere and Heritage Project (BIOPALT) as an example, he stressed the need to consider cultural factors in discussions on transhumance. This is a key aspect of UNESCO’s interventions especially in biosphere reserves, in addition to striking the balance between development and conservation, establishing a link between biodiversity and man, reconnecting man with nature, etc. UNESCO’s response to the N'Djamena Declaration will be expressed through the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) which focuses, among other things, on simultaneously ensuring conservation and sustainable development.   The lessons from this programme, which marked its 50th year in 2012, are expected to inform the discussion. UNESCO’s approach is a landscape approach similar to the one implemented in BIOPALT in 5 countries of the Lake Chad Basin, which spans all the other blocs.  UNESCO has science included in its mandate.  It will therefore conduct a scientific study to highlight transhumance issues in all their forms and propose peaceful and sustainable management solutions.

 

Finally, it is important to consider income-generating activities for the local population...There is a need to incorporate cultural tools into education, notably mobile pastoral schools, programmes related to new technologies. For thousands of years, the Lake Chad Basin has been a melting pot for both North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa; UNESCO would therefore like to place its interventions within the framework of intercultural dialogue and its Programme against Violent Extremism (PVE) for peace and security in the region.

 

Paul Elkan from WCS, underlined concrete measures needed to promote education and health in the different blocs which should be included when finalizing the logical framework… Also, health checks should be conducted on the ecosystems of the respective blocs, to prevent the emergence of viruses and other diseases (incl. wild animal to domestic animal to human transmission interfaces). Regarding the West Bloc, greater involvement of Nigeria and in the East Bloc, greater engagement of South Sudan and Sudan is key.

 

Linjouom Ibrahim, the Permanent Secretary of OCFSA, reminded the participants of the need to strengthen regional and inter-regional cooperation by clarifying, among other things, the roles and responsibilities of national governments and respective specialized organizations identified within the Blocs. He especially emphasized need to consider compliance with governance principles with regards to the division of labour in positioning various stakeholders concerned. These principles differentiate on the one hand, between sovereign missions which can only be implemented by the CBFP Facilitation with the support of specialized intergovernmental organizations and the States concerned, and on the other hand, shareable missions which involve IGOs, States, NGOs and the private sector, and lastly, delegated missions which are the prerogative of NGOs and other civil society actors. The positioning of different actors must adhere to both the principles of subsidiarity (NGOs and the private sector) and institutional specialty (IGOs and United Nations Agencies in particular), pursuant to one of the resolutions adopted in Douala in December 2019. On the strength of its territorial reach which spans both Central Africa (Chad, Cameroon, CAR and DRC – a member with observer status) and the Sahel (Chad, Sudan and South Sudan), and building on collaboration agreements signed with COMIFAC and those currently under finalization with ECCAS, OCFSA intends to implement its mandate to ensure eco-security and conduct diplomacy for the  conservation of wildlife, protected areas and the fight against transboundary poaching, as part of the implementation of the Action Plan and Roadmap of the N'Djamena International Conference Initiative.

 

With regards to transhumance, there is a need to initiate joint border controls in order to monitor the flow of transhumant herds from the Sahel through the countries of Equatorial Africa (Cameroon, CAR, DRC and Chad), supposedly based on existing cooperation agreements. This should be done by encouraging the States concerned to optimally implement the One Health strategy recommended by WHO, which requires the presence of all administrations in charge of human health (Ministries of Public Health), animal health (Ministries of Livestock in charge of pastoralism), Wildlife conservation (Ministry of wildlife and protected areas) and the Environment (Ministries of Environment and Sustainable Development), and assist customs officers, for border controls recommended by universal health regulations and the issuing of documents required for the entry of transhumant herds from one country to another, and similarly for park rangers and magistrates. Also, capacity building for screening officers from the respective law enforcement agencies should be seriously considered.

 

Manfred Epanda from AWF reported on his organization’s efforts to strengthen collaboration at the territorial level with the Lamidos of Faro (Cameroon) and Gaschaka Gumti Park (Nigeria). Strengthening collaboration at the local level would be key to better monitoring transhumance and the fight against poaching. He recalled that the advent of the new ECONORCAM programme had increased the willingness of all the programmes to cooperate towards greater synergy and pooling of interventions in the area. However, he highlighted the need to include hunting areas. At the level of Faro, there are several initiatives aimed at integrating transhumance management as well as wildlife and security issues.

 

The Meeting was closed by the CBFP Facilitator, Honourable Dr Ruck who thanked the participants for their active and relevant contributions. He stressed the need for the bloc leaders to finalize their logical frameworks and highlight the main actions that would help him organize the monitoring of the implementation of the N’Djamena Declaration during his tenure. The Bloc Leaders are urged to forward their consolidated logical frameworks and corresponding roadmaps to the CBFP Facilitation within 10 days.

 

The CBFP Facilitation team thanks each partner who brought their input to the discussions during the meeting and also to the minutes of this important meeting.  

 

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The Climate Focus side event, entitled “The Forest Declaration Assessment - How to achieve the 2030 goals in the Congo Basin” took place on 5 July 2022 during the 19th Meeting of Parties of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership. Following a brief overview of the project, five regional experts took the floor in a string of presentations on a variety of forestry-related topics.