Senior UN economists warned on Wednesday that intersecting crises are likely to add further damage to the global economy, with growth set to slow from three per cent in 2022 to 1.9 per cent this year. This will be one of the lowest growth rates in recent decades, apart from during the 2007-8 financial crisis and the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Current State, Barriers and Perspectives for REDD+ in the Congo Basin - CBFP
The report draws on a thorough review of the available literature. It is complemented by 21 semi-structured anonymous interviews with key REDD+ experts. The authors conducted the interviews between November 2020 and February 2021. Interview partners include representatives of Congo Basin countries, donor states, academia, NGOs and independent technical experts. Instead of going to lengths in elucidating the entire range of options for reducing deforestation and forest degradation, the study report lists concrete courses of action which might be pursued in the future.
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The Congo Basin is the second largest contiguous tropical forest area in the world. It is among the last large remaining forest carbon pools on the planet and currently remains a stable carbon sink. At the same time, the forests of the Congo Basin are under anthropogenic pressure from various drivers and underlying causes. Despite ongoing efforts toward conservation and sustainable forest management, the risks of losing the Congo Basin´s forest ecosystems and their natural capital are increasing. To counter this trend, many Congo Basin countries have engaged in efforts aimed at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation and sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and are committing to forest protection measures.
The Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) is a multi-stakeholder forum that brings together 119 members and forest stakeholders to improve natural resource management and human well-being in the Congo Basin. In 2020-2021, the CBFP is facilitated by the Government of Germany. The German Facilitation has commissioned a series of background studies on topics relevant to the future of the Congo rainforests. The study at hand focuses on the status quo of REDD+ in the Congo Basin and potential courses of action to overcome identified barriers to REDD+ implementation.
Globally, the progress of REDD+ (from “readiness” via “implementation” to “results-based payments”) varies from country to country. However, particularly for African countries, there is a wide consensus that REDD+ has not made the progress initially hoped for. This report summarizes the status quo and highlights barriers to the effective implementation of REDD+, with a specific view to the Congo Basin. The study focuses on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, and Cameroon, as exemplary case studies for the Basin. Where possible, the study presents conclusions at the regional level.
The report draws on a thorough review of the available literature. It is complemented by 21 semi-structured anonymous interviews with key REDD+ experts. The authors conducted the interviews between November 2020 and February 2021. Interview partners include representatives of Congo Basin countries, donor states, academia, NGOs and independent technical experts. Instead of going to lengths in elucidating the entire range of options for reducing deforestation and forest degradation, the study report lists concrete courses of action which might be pursued in the future. Key findings on barriers to REDD+ progress in the Congo Basin and ideas for overcoming these are outlined below.
Severe governance challenges persist. Political will to implement REDD+ varies amongst national governments and local stakeholders and merely increasing REDD+ funds will not necessarily increase political will. Incoherence between sectoral land-based policies (e.g., agriculture, forestry, and mining) is detrimental to the REDD+ agenda. In this context, highlighting win-win solutions for forests and other land-based sectors is crucial. This calls for sustainable agricultural intensification, which reduces pressure on natural forests. Also, land tenure should be strengthened, and proactive policies for land-use planning, infrastructure and family planning to reduce demographic pressure could be promoted. Cross-sectoral alignment and policy coherence can be achieved by anchoring the REDD+ agenda at a high political level.
Monitoring and MRV capabilities have been significantly improved in most Congo Basin countries. However, most systems to measure, report and verify (MRV) emissions in the region are still unable to reliably track more gradual and nuanced forest degradation, or the carbon sequestration function of standing forests. Regional off-the-shelf solutions with potential for national-scale adaptation provide a promising pathway toward more coherent forest monitoring. Forest inventories merit more attention from donors and might be facilitated by the advent of disruptive technologies. At the same time, it should be noted that improved MRV capacities per se will not solve the complex challenges of rising rates of deforestation and forest degradation.
Conceptual and technical challenges persist around the notion of reference levels. While the historical average over a reference period is the most commonly used approach under UNFCCC´s Warsaw Framework, upwards adjustments due to national circumstances are possible to potentially obtain higher levels of results-based payments (RBPs). In this context, environmental integrity and methodological soundness should be key criteria for assessing emission reductions to ensure a real mitigation impact.
There is growing scope to include “Plus activities” from REDD+ in RBP schemes. As opposed to avoided deforestation of threatened forests, these new models emphasize the important role of standing forests, including their role in the global carbon cycle and the ecosystem services they provide. Conceptual challenges persist concerning the notion of additionality and the scope of REDD+ under UNFCCC. More robust MRV systems and resulting data and information are needed to allow for an accurate appraisal of the role of stable forests. In parallel, effective lobbying with international funding mechanisms has the potential to increase funding streams that reward standing forests in high forest low deforestation countries in the Congo Basin for their role in the global climate system.
Multiple financing sources exist for REDD+ which, to date, have focused on readiness and the RBP phase. Several funders and multi-donor partnerships are discussing stronger provisions for countries with historically low deforestation rates, so-called high forest low deforestation (HFLD) countries, some of which can be found in the Congo Basin. The year 2021 represents a window of opportunity to influence reforms of existing REDD+ financial incentive structures in favor of HFLD countries and sub-national regions. More attention should be directed towards alternative and complementary set-ups such as local schemes of payments for ecosystem services funded by small domestic taxes on consumables, nature swaps and conservation offsetting.
Given limited available public funding, the private sector plays a critical role in future efforts to preserve Central African forests. The industrial forest sector manages immense forest areas in the countries’ national forest domains through the concession system. While concessions hold strong provisions for halting deforestation, the sector is under pressure. The Concessions 2.0 concept integrates multiple land uses within the boundaries of existing forest concessions and may represent a much-needed new business model for sustainable forestry. Changes in the fiscal system of the industrial logging sector may incentivize more sustainable production. Cocoa is one of the few agricultural products from the region with a substantial role in international markets. In Cameroon, the cocoa sector is elaborating policies to free the supply chain of deforestation. Such efforts offer a valuable entry point for support via the CBFP as well as by Germany and other invested parties. The High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) approach to “earmark” the most valuable forests for preservation is an important framework for the private sector.
The ‘business as usual’ outlook for the Congo Basin forests is dire. For REDD+ to be implemented more effectively, the following measures are recommended and necessary: (i) stronger political commitment to REDD+, (ii) increased policy coherence across different land use sectors, (iii) stronger financial incentive provisions for HFLD countries in REDD+, and (iv) lobbying for alter-native funding sources for forest ecosystems within and in addition to REDD+.
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African Development Bank Group team meet Swiss envoys from West Africa to discuss Africa’s development agenda
Swiss ambassadors meeting in the Ivorian commercial capital Abidjan invited a senior management team from the African Development Bank Group to exchange views on development and cooperation.The envoys held a working luncheon, hosted by the Swiss assistant state secretary for Sub-Saharan Africa, Siri Walt, on Friday 20 January. Ambassador Walt is the head of the Africa Division at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.
The African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank Group have a concluded a technical session on how to conduct an upcoming joint study on driving development in Africa. The goal of the study, titled Key Actions to Drive Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa, is to identify key actions that will allow Africa to rise and remain at a growth level of 7% GDP.
2022 AEC: Accessing clean, affordable energy in Africa is key as the world moves towards energy transition: panelists - AFDB
As the world moves toward energy transition, it is important that Africa’s ongoing challenges with access to clean, affordable and inclusive energy be addressed for the continent to achieve a fair and just energy transition, panelists said during the 2022 African Economic Conference (AEC).
Abu Dhabi, 16 January 2023 – As the Earth warms at a dangerous pace, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)-led Cool Coalition, with the United Arab Emirates’ incoming presidency of COP28, announced the development of a Global Cooling Pledge and a “Cool COP Menu of Actions” that will feature prominently at COP28. The Menu will be defined over the coming months in close collaboration with partners including the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL).
A new law will ensure that a set of key goods placed on the EU market, such as cattle, beef or soya, will no longer contribute to deforestation and forest degradation in the EU and elsewhere in the world. Since the EU is a major economy and consumer of these commodities, this step will help stop a significant share of global deforestation and forest degradation, in turn reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and biodiversity loss, according to the commission. This major agreement comes just before the start of the Conference on Biodiversity (COP15) which is set to define protection goals for nature for decades to come.
Forest Trends was founded with the mission of putting an economic engine behind nature conservation – the idea being that our economy, our society, and our wellbeing all depend in very real and material ways on healthy natural ecosystems. That idea’s time has come. The world is looking to “nature-based solutions” to combat climate change, mitigate water risks, prevent pandemics, protect biodiversity, support food insecurity, and so on. Forest Trends is fielding many new opportunities at a totally different scale than in the past, and at a much more systemic level.
Fern - New report outlining options for partnerships to accompany the new EU regulation on deforestation-free products
23 January 2023, Fern is launching a report which outlines options for partnerships to accompany the new EU Regulation on deforestation-free products. Partnerships will be an essential part of maximising the Regulation’s impact in decreasing deforestation on the ground. They will also help mitigate risks linked to the Regulation: that it would cause “leakage” of unsustainable production to other consumer markets, or that smallholders would bear the cost of implementation.
Call for inputs for the global Stocktake in 2023 In the run-up to the conclusion of the first global stocktake in COP 28, submissions on views on the approach to the consideration of the outputs component of the first global Stocktake are open until 15 February 2023. Also, submissions for the third technical dialogue, scheduled to be held during the June SB session, are open until 6 March.
At COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, President Emmanuel Macron and President Ali Bongo announced that a One Forest Summit would be held in Libreville, Gabon, on 1st and 2nd of March, 2023. Tropical forests provide an invaluable service both to local populations and to humanity by offering many resources but also by sequestering carbon and hosting biodiversity hotspots.
Of previous editions, the Global Synthesis Report is composed of stand-alone analyses that can be read independently, for a more thematic or sectoral reading. Discover in the report: infographics on the evolution indicators of emissions and activities, the existing and emerging trends in the strategies of actors, signals of change in the various sectors, and case studies of exemplary initiatives.
Protect the Campo Ma’an national park and stop Cameroun Vert SARL (Camvert) from destroying Indigenious Bagyeli people’s and ancestral lands! More than 28 communities call the Campo Ma’an area home. Now, a palm oil company, Cameroun Vert SARL (Camvert), has started clear-cutting these ancestral lands about seven times the size of Dakar illegally.
In the aftermath of COP27, where global leaders have gathered for over two weeks in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, those of us who regularly engage directly with developing countries know that the path forward is clear. Developing countries are committed to climate-compatible development and ready to implement. However, driving climate action on the ground requires unprecedented finance.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced he will convene a Climate Ambition Summit in September 2023, to generate “new, tangible and credible climate action” to “accelerate action at the mid-way point” of the SDGs. Going forward, he said he will push for a Climate Solidarity Pact, for all big emitters to “make an extra effort” to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with the 1.5°C goal and provide support for those who need it.
The Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI), a capacity-building programme established by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010, provides support, advice, and guidance to countries in their efforts to achieve global biodiversity targets in marine and coastal areas. The Initiative, the subject of an event held during the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15), achieves these aims through such activities as the SOI Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fishery Bodies and the SOI Training of Trainers programme.
The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) convened a three-day summit to take stock of the progress in implementing the Principles of Effective Development Co-operation since their endorsement in 2011, and to discuss the future of work. Stakeholders agreed to build on past commitments, achievements, and experiences and to address the “unfinished business of the aid effectiveness agenda.”
Seven safeguard principles for REDD+ were adopted at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Cancun in 2010. Two of these principles address participation and respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPs and LCs) directly. These principles are meant to be “interpreted” by REDD+ countries using their national legal frameworks, to decide, for example, who is recognized as an IP or LC, and what is meant by “respect” or their “participation”.
Indonesia’s forests are home to 10-15 percent of the world’s known plants, mammals, and birds, as well as vast carbon stocks. As such, any degradation or deforestation of these ecosystems will have important local, national, and international implications.
Partners call on CBD negotiations to commit to increasing agroecological food production practices. As environmental ministers at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (UNCBD COP15) negotiate an agreement to tackle catastrophic degradation of our planet, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) have announced a partnership to accelerate implementation of food-based actions that will help restore nature and limit climate change. The two organisations will partner on major initiatives that support farmers in utilizing the power of natural ecosystems to build healthy and productive food systems that provide enough healthy and nutritious food within planetary boundaries.
Aligning Chad’s Nationally Determined Contribution and National Action Plan to Advance Climate Action – NDCPARTNERSHIP
Chad is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the effects of climate change. Because its economy is based mainly on the primary sector, Chad’s reliance on natural resources makes it particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events. Take for example the case of Lake Chad, where the water volume has decreased by 90% since the 1960s due to climate change and over-exploitation. Chad’s vulnerability to climate change is further exacerbated by the country’s relatively low level of preparedness when it comes to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.
In December 2022, the European Union (EU) finally agreed on the text of its long-awaited Regulation on deforestation-free products (EUDR). For the first time companies selling certain products on the EU market will be punished if they are found to have contributed towards deforestation. This was the final stage in a long and often tortuous journey, in which forests were thrust centre-stage of EU policymaking. 2023 will be another crucial year for the EU and forests, especially since it will be followed by the EU’s ‘cooling off’ period, when no new policies are initiated, in the run-up to the 2024 European elections.
New research by the University of East Anglia (UEA) highlights the risks of countries relying on nature-based solutions to achieve net zero. The article summarizes the findings of the study. For example, the study found that once the bulk of emissions have been reduced, countries plan to "cancel out" the leftover difficult-to-decarbonize emissions, such as those from agriculture, by using forests and soils to remove carbon from the atmosphere. However, this may prove risky because forests and soils are also threatened by a range of impacts, such as fire, disease, changes in farming practices, and deforestation.
Stop burning trees to make energy, say 650 scientists before Cop15 biodiversity summit - theguardian
More than 650 scientists are urging world leaders to stop burning trees to make energy because it destroys valuable habitats for wildlife. Bioenergy has “wrongly been deemed ‘carbon neutral’” and many countries are increasingly relying on forest biomass to meet net zero goals, according to the letter, addressed to world leaders including Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak and the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. “The best thing for the climate and biodiversity is to leave forests standing – and biomass energy does the opposite,” it says.
This article is giving an introduction to the paper "Has global deforestation accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic?". Analysis of tree cover loss over time was used to determine whether deforestation observed in 2020 deviated from expected trajectories after the first COVID-19 cases were reported; both at the regional level for the Americas, Africa and Asia and at the country level for Brazil, Colombia, Peru, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia.
A growing body of research shows that even forests located far away from urban centers provide tremendous benefits in regulating the global climate, water and biodiversity systems that are essential to people’s health and quality of life. New research led by WRI and Pilot Projects through the Cities4Forests initiative synthesizes the benefits that forests at three scales — inner, nearby and faraway — offer cities. The report provides the scientific imperative for city-led policies, incentives and investments that help conserve, restore and sustainably manage forests at each of these scales. The article outlines the many benefits across four categories that forests provide to cities from the report.
Nature is a vital resource, necessary for our health, livelihoods and well-being. It also accounts for $44 trillion of economic value generation. In addition, nature-based solutions can provide more than one third of the mitigation needed by 2030 to keep climate goals in reach. Nature tech will be vital in helping facilitate and accelerate these solutions, making them valuable tools in tackling climate change.
Controversy over the lifting of the moratorium in the DRC, when Bazaiba throws a spanner in the works
The statement made by the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Eve Bazaiba, at the press briefing on Monday 28 November, on the lifting of the moratorium has raised the roof. Like a shockwave, the affirmation of the lifting of the moratorium established by the DRC's sovereignty over its forests in 2002 has provoked strong reactions in public opinion.
SW4SW Dialogue - Timber Value Chains for Resilience and Carbon Neutrality, 1-2 December 2022 at NOUBOU International Hotel Douala, Cameroon
The SW4SW Dialogue - Timber Value Chains for Resilience and Carbon Neutrality seeks to identify effective approaches, concrete actions, and actors to be mobilised to make timber value chains, especially those focused on the domestic market, a lever for a forest sector with high environmental, economic and social added value.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) framework for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) refers to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). However, not all REDD+ countries have legal systems that build on UNDRIP and few, especially in Africa, have ratified other relevant agreements such as the International Labour Organization Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.
Logging affects many of the world's tropical forests, and such forests are often considered degraded because they have lost vegetation structure, biomass and carbon stocks. But there has rarely been analysis of whether the ecological health and functionality of these ecosystems are similarly degraded. A new study by researchers at the University of Oxford, finds that logged rainforests are treasure-troves of healthy ecological function and should not be written off for oil palm plantations. This article gives some insights into the newly published paper.
Most global consumers have heard of palm oil – and if not, they’ve probably tasted it. The versatile commodity is used in almost half of the packaged products found in supermarkets, from chocolate to deodorant or lipstick, as well as for animal feed and biofuel.
DRC: march in support of the first maritime conference of the Economic Community of Central African States "COMAR I" - NEWS
Kinshasa is hosting from 28 November to 02 December 2022 the thematic workshops of the First Maritime Conference of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) under the theme: "Governance and Security of the ECCAS maritime space for the development of a sustainable Blue Economy in Central Africa". These meetings are organised under the high patronage of Félix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, President in Office of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
Evaluation of the Forest Declaration in the Congo Basin: Interview with Monique Catherine Bisseck Epse Yigbedek, Regional Coordinator of the African Women's Network for Sustainable Development (AWNED) – FORESTDECLARATION
The African Women's Network for Sustainable Development (AWNSSD) is a network of mainly women's non-governmental organisations working in the field of sustainable natural resource management. It is also involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of conservation and development projects in the Central African region.
On October 27, 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya and online, a team of researchers launched a new tool that outlines how an integrated landscape approach can be adapted for displacement or refugee settings. Called ‘Guidance for a Landscape Approach in Displacement Settings’ (GLADS), the tool is an EU-funded initiative led by the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) in partnership with stakeholders.
Best Wishes for 2023, By the Honourable Dr. Christian Ruck, CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany
Dear CBFP Partners, In the aftermath of the World Forestry Congress held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, the first African Protected Areas Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, the COP 27 Climate Conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and the COP15 Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, Canada, it is safe to say that Central Africa’s tropical forests were once again prominently featured in global negotiations and that the voice of the sub-region was heard loud and clear during plenary sessions, high-level meetings and side events. Please download the message of greetings from the CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany the Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck...