On day one of UN climate talks in Dubai, negotiators rubber-stamped plans to get the fund up and running. The arrangements had been hashed out by a transitional committee over five fraught meetings in the past year. The Cop28 president Sultan Al Jaber hailed the decision as “historic”, with a broad smile, after watching delegates burst into a round of applause.
All about Montreal COP15 Biodiversity
All about Montreal COP15 Biodiversity
From 7 to 19 December 2022, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) will start in Montreal. The aim of this conference is to enable international governments to take action to combat the biodiversity crisis. Ahead of the negotiations, we take a look at what is at stake at the summit. Why is this COP15 on biodiversity so important? Where do we stand on the subject of biodiversity and ecosystems? Why are the COPs on biodiversity making so little progress? What issues will be discussed at COP15?
At the Rio Summit in 1992, international governments established several international conventions to address environmental issues. Perhaps the best known is the UNFCCC, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which provides for the regular organisation of COPs (Conferences of the Parties) bringing together international leaders to discuss climate issues. But there is another fundamental convention signed in 1992: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
This convention acknowledges the crisis facing the world's ecosystems: degradation of natural environments, disappearance of biodiversity, loss of natural resources, etc. It sets up a system of COPs, like the COPs on climate change, which meet periodically to define targets and objectives and agree on strategies to better preserve ecosystems and biodiversity.
COP15, originally scheduled to take place in China in 2019, has been postponed several times due to the Covid-19 crisis. It will finally take place from 7 December in Montreal, to advance negotiations on global biodiversity issues.
Why is this COP15 on biodiversity fundamental?
This COP is probably one of the most important environmental summits in years. First of all, because biodiversity is a key issue that receives far less media attention than the climate crisis, even though the implications of the disappearance of biodiversity are enormous. The biodiversity crisis and the degradation of ecosystems have direct consequences for our health, our agricultural productivity, our economies and industries such as pharmaceuticals. Globally, these crises call into question the ability of our societies to survive and develop on Earth. The issue of biodiversity and ecosystems is also at the crossroads of all the other ecological crises: the biodiversity crisis is fuelling climate change, affecting water and air quality, and the resilience of our territories…
This COP is also fundamental because of its timing. It comes after the end of the negotiation cycle started in 2010 in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, which defined objectives and a strategy for the period 2010-2020. The Montreal negotiations must therefore establish a new roadmap for international action for biodiversity for the period 2020-2030. The negotiations should result in a framework agreement that will guide international action, similar to the Paris Climate Agreement signed in 2015.
Where do we stand on the subject of biodiversity and ecosystems?
This is a truly pivotal period: the latest IPBES reports (the IPCC on biodiversity) have shown that the crisis is accelerating and that the next few years will be decisive if we want to preserve the conditions for a sustainable life for humanity. The decisions taken at COP15 will therefore have major implications for environmental protection in the coming years.
During the cycle that is ending with the Aichi Accords, progress has been far too slow. The report published by the Convention in 2019 showed that none of the twenty Aichi Targets had been achieved: neither the halving of the loss of natural habitats, nor the end of subsidies for products that are harmful to biodiversity, nor the protection of 17% of terrestrial areas and 10% of marine areas... The situation is therefore catastrophic: every year, scientific reports show that more and more species are disappearing, that environmental contamination (particularly from pesticides) is becoming more widespread, and that ecosystems are eroding. The IPBES announced that by the end of the century, nearly one million living species could have disappeared.
Why are the COPs on biodiversity making so little progress?
Biodiversity is an extremely complex issue that affects all human activities. Unlike global warming, for which it is "enough" to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, action to preserve biodiversity involves working on multiple indicators, through actions whose effects are not always directly measurable. It is necessary to manage the conservation of environments, improve air, water and soil quality, fight global warming, act against soil artificialisation, change our agricultural and forestry management methods, our cultural practices, etc. It is therefore more difficult to find simple, identifiable action levers that can be agreed upon.
This complexity no doubt partly explains why biodiversity issues are given much less media coverage than climate issues, and why world leaders are less involved in these issues. In 2018, at COP14, which was held (like COP27 on climate) in Sharm-el-Sheikh, few heads of state made the trip: France was represented by its Minister of Ecological Transition at the time, Emmanuelle Wargon. On the other hand, the international context since 2019 has not really favoured dialogue on the subject of biodiversity: Covid-19, then the invasion of Ukraine or inflation, have pushed the COP negotiations into the background. The intermediate working sessions that took place in Geneva in 2022 received little media coverage and did not lead to much progress. The voluntary sector felt that the negotiations were progressing at a "glacial pace".
What issues will be discussed at COP15?
In 2018, COP14 made it possible to make progress on the voluntary commitments of States in terms of biodiversity protection, and emphasised the need to coordinate action on biodiversity with that on climate or the fight against desertification and deforestation. It also discussed the role of local communities, especially indigenous ones, in protecting ecosystems.
This year, four issues will be particularly important.
- The definition of more ambitious protection targets, around the 30/30 programme
The Aichi targets provided for the establishment of protected areas on 17% of land and 10% of marine areas. The texts discussed in Geneva set a more ambitious target: 30% on land and at sea. This is the idea behind the 30/30 programme: 30% protected areas by 2030. The issue is crucial because scientific data, particularly from the IPBES, confirms that the establishment of protected areas, managed sustainably and free from human disturbance, is one of the most effective levers for preserving ecosystems and biodiversity.
Recent studies argue for even higher figures, and estimate that we should aim for around 50% of the planet to be a protected area in order to take real action against the erosion of biodiversity and the crisis of ecosystems. However, these areas should not be chosen at random, and they should correspond to eco-regions rich in biodiversity or critical from an ecosystem point of view. Moreover, these regions are not evenly distributed across the planet, and the protection effort should therefore weigh more heavily on certain states. Costa Rica could be required to protect more than 70% of its territory, Brazil more than 50%... Russia, Canada, Australia, China and the United States would be among the countries required to make the greatest protection efforts.
Reaching an ambitious agreement on this subject will certainly be complex, as the protection of natural areas often conflicts with resource exploitation projects (forestry, mining, agriculture, marine, etc.), which are often an economic priority for these countries. Although many countries have good intentions on this subject, negotiations are likely to be difficult in reality, and it will be necessary to define what is meant by a protected area.
- Setting up an international financing plan for biodiversity protection
As in the case of climate change, financing is a key issue in the fight against the biodiversity crisis, and an issue that divides rich and poor countries. Indeed, most of the natural areas rich in biodiversity (sometimes called hotspots) are located in poor or developing countries, while most rich countries have already largely degraded their biodiversity and local ecosystems. According to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, rich countries should in theory contribute financially to protection efforts in poor countries. A fund should therefore be created and maintained to finance conservation, restoration or transition projects.
A group of countries including African, South American and Asian nations is pushing for the adoption of a specific fund, to be financed to the tune of 100 billion per year, rising to 700 billion by 2030. But who will pay? What will the funds be used for? With what kind of controls? All these questions must be formalised in the future agreement.
- The issue of ending subsidies for products that are harmful to biodiversity
Another fundamental issue is subsidies for harmful products. Today, most countries in the world continue to subsidise products or production models that degrade biodiversity and ecosystems: fossil fuels, pesticides and certain agricultural models, for example. The pre-discussions in Geneva called for a reduction of 500 billion per year in these subsidies at the international level. The voluntary sector, on the other hand, advocates an end to subsidies for these products.
Here again, it is not easy to reach a consensus, as domestic policies often depend on these subsidies. In France and Europe, we can cite the Common Agricultural Policy which, although the new CAP has made progress in environmental matters, continues to subsidise agricultural practices that are not always very virtuous. We could also mention the massive subsidies received by the fossil fuel industries, which continue despite the climate crisis.
- The issue of the framework for Digital Sequence Information (DSI), i.e. access to genetic resources of biodiversity
Finally, the issue of ISN will certainly be debated at COP15. Digital Sequence Information, a technical term for a subject that is just as technical, refers to questions relating to the DNA sequencing of living organisms and its possible regulation.
Who can sequence (and patent?) genetic resources from the world's biodiversity? Under what conditions should access to these essential resources be opened up? How should the profits generated by the industries that rely on this sequencing be redistributed? Behind this subject, there is the broader issue of the commodification of life and the privatisation of biological resources. The agreements that will be reached in Montreal could serve as a basis for the constitution of a body of regulations on this subject... A fundamental question for the future.
Other subjects such as awareness raising, the role of indigenous populations or minorities in the protection of biodiversity or the measurement of impact on biodiversity will certainly be discussed. In any case, this COP promises to be a pivotal summit. With only a few days to go, it is difficult to say whether it will be as successful as the Paris Agreement, or whether it will have the same fate as COP15 on climate change, which was held in Copenhagen in 2009 and is remembered as one of the biggest disappointments of international environmental negotiations.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) will be at COP28, which runs from 30 November to 12 December in Dubai, UAE
As a main operating entity under the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), GCF takes guidance from the Conference of Parties (COP) on its policies, programming priorities, and eligibility criteria. The GCF delegation will be observing the official negotiations, and hosting and taking part in various events.
COP28 Opens in Dubai with Calls for Accelerated Action, Higher Ambition Against the Escalating Climate Crisis - UNFCCC
UN Climate Change News, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 29 November 2023 – The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 will open tomorrow with a resounding call to accelerate collective climate action. The conference takes place in what is already known to be the hottest year ever recorded in human history and as the impacts of the climate crisis wreak unprecedented havoc on human life and livelihoods around the world.
On Saturday 28 October 2023, partners of the CBFP attending the Summit of the Three World Tropical Basins of Amazonia, Congo and Borneo-Mekong in the Republic of Congo met at the Kintele Conference Centre in Brazzaville. The meeting provided an opportunity for the partners present at the summit to discuss the implementation of the CBFP Roadmap for the next two years and to prepare for forthcoming international and regional events, with a view to strengthening synergies between the partners and building coalitions in a spirit of partnership in order to create an active dynamic between the partners and colleges of the CBFP.
The Three Basins Summit After the summit in Brazzaville, Burundi's President presents guidelines for protecting the forests of the Congo Basin
The Three Basins Summit took place in Brazzaville from 26 to 28 October 2023. At least ten Heads of State from the continent (Congo, DRCongo, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Sao Tome and Principe) attended the event. In a press briefing held on his arrival at Melchior Ndadaye International Airport on Sunday 30 October, the President of the Republic of Burundi, His Excellency Evariste Ndayishimiye, stated that in his report presented in his capacity as Chairman of the Central African Forests Commission, COMIFAC, 208 public areas covering 800 hectares were protected and 800 million forests had been preserved. However, he stressed the need for industrialised countries to join Africa in the fight against atmospheric pollution.
Brazzaville, 30 October 2023. The official launch of the activities of the France - Gabon Co-Facilitation of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) took place on Thursday 26 October 2023 in Room 6 of the Kintele Conference Centre in Congo Brazzaville. Please download the roadmap of the Co-Facilitation..
Bangui, Central African Republic, 06 November 2023 - The Executive Secretary, Hervé MAIDOU, and the Administrative and Financial Director, François DAYANG, took part in the funeral of the late Idriss AMIT, Minister of Water, Forests, Hunting and Fishing, who died on 3 November 2023 in Douala, Cameroon.
To read: West African producers - generally dull international demand; Slump in Malaysia’s exports; Indonesian industry ready to intensify presence in Asian markets; Peeler logs now more readily available in Northern India; Incentives for Peruvian companies obtaining voluntary forest certification; Japanese importers confused over new government requirement; Action required now by tropical wood suppliers to meet EUDR requirements; US wooden furniture imports at lowest since March..
We are pleased to inform you about the launch of the call for nominations for the Migrants4Climate Award (M4C), an initiative of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) in partnership with the GFMD France 2022-2023 Chair and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
High-level dialogue between COMIFAC forestry ministers and representatives of the CBFP private sector college
On Friday 27 October 2023, the High-Level Dialogue between the Forest Ministers of the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) and the private sector of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) took place in Brazzaville on the sidelines of the Summit of the Three Global Tropical Basins of Amazonia, Congo and Borneo-Mekong.
The fifty-ninth session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC), the governing body of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), opened in Pattaya, Thailand, with a call from the host country for ITTO to continue promoting legal trade in tropical timber and encouraging the use of wood derived from sustainable forest management (SFM). To fulfil their mandate, ITTC member countries took some crucial decisions to navigate the challenging financial and organizational conditions that have buffeted their organization in recent years.
The opening session highlighted the role of crop diversity for food security, environmental sustainability, and resilience of food systems, including for future generations. The need to ensure close collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity was one of the key messages of the day.
The French delegation will be present during the two weeks of COP28 in Dubai (United Arab Emirates). As well as taking part in the climate negotiations, it will be running a France Pavilion throughout the international event, from 30 November to 12 December 2023. The Pavilion will provide a forum for meetings and discussions on key climate issues, and will offer a wide range of events, including themed sessions, presentations of public policies and press events.
WORLD BANK – DRC : The value of DRC's 143 million hectares a of standing forest is estimated at up to US$6.4 trillion, with an estimated annual rental value of US$383 billion
Improved management and conservation could, by 2030, increase the value of DRC's forest-based ecosystem services by US$1.76 billion/year8 over the BAU scenario, and by US$3.8 billion/year by 2050. A comparison of net present values of costs and benefits shows that for every $1 invested today in landscape and forest restoration, DRC stands to gain $15 in benefits by 2050…
David began his career in journalism in his homeland of Cameroon as a writer for The Post Newspaper, before transitioning to broadcasting. He then worked for Radio Reine, Radio Environment, and the Cameroon Radio Television Corporation, while freelancing for Reuters and RFI.
In 2023, Mongabay is officially expanding its coverage of environmental and conservation news in Africa by launching a news bureau dedicated to producing our renowned and award-winning brand of journalism in both French and English. The new bureau, Mongabay Africa, will create original reporting on issues relevant to the conservation of Africa’s wildlife and their habitats, development pressures and the activities of natural resource industries, and the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and communities across the continent.
Green Climate Fund 26 October: the GCF Board approved USD 736 million for new projects and readiness strategy to accelerate climate action
The Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) concluded its thirty-seventh meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia with major outcomes for climate action. During the three-day meeting, the Board approved 15 proposals totaling USD 736.4 million to fund new climate projects in developing countries. A total of USD 3.6 billion when co-financing is included.
The 14th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security (ADFNS) Commemoration and the 19thComprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Partnership Platform convened from October 30th to November 2nd, 2023, in Lusaka, Zambia. The event was structured under the theme, “Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement in the Context of CAADP Commitments for Safer and Healthier Diets.” This vital assembly sought to explore the strategic synergy between implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and fostering healthier, safer diets through the prism of CAADP commitments.
Canada – African Development Bank Climate Fund approves $36.3 million in support to climate adaptation on the continent –AFDB
The Canada–African Development Bank Climate Fund (CACF), established to support gender-affirmative climate change projects in Africa, has approved $36.3 million to two private sector operations to advance climate adaptation in the African continent.
Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security: Zambian Vice President underscores role of grey matter infrastructure development – AFDB
African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN), a platform for high-level political engagement to advance nutrition in Africa, has joined two crucial forums for advancing policy dialogue on agriculture and nutrition in Africa. ALN representatives attended the commemoration the 14th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security (ADFNS) and 19th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Partnership Platform (PP).
The Congo Basin, the world’s second-largest forest has distinct meteorological characteristics, and its ecosystem is controlled by complex interactions between many climatic phenomena that act across scales (Fig. 1). While it receives little attention compared to the Amazon Basin, due to its location, the Congo rainforest also contributes to processes responsible for interhemispheric climatic communications in Africa. At the larger scale, the basin regulates the global tropical circulation by serving as one of the world’s most convectively active regions. Therefore, the Basin offers a unique natural laboratory for climate science explorations and the implications for people and ecosystems. But, why has this green heart of Africa been neglected and what should we do about it?.
A regional retreat to revisit and revitalize the Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation in DR Congo and the region – ECCAS
Durban ( South Africa), October 31 to November 01, 2023– How can we breathe new life and energy into the Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Region? The issue was at the heart of the Regional Retreat on the review of the impact of the Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation on the Democratic Republic of Congo and the region, and recommendations for revitalization efforts, held in Durban, South Africa, from October 31 to 01.November 1, 2023.
To elevate women from the micro to macro status, the African Union Strategy for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) outlines the pathways to achieve the holistic empowerment of women. The GEWE strategy complements other policy frameworks by the African Union aimed at promoting the rights of women and girls and advocates for adequately resourced gender structures within formal and non-formal institutions and bodies to ensure that women at the grassroot and executive levels, have opportunities that to allow them to reach their full potential.
19th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) - IISD
Government policymakers, mining sector leaders, and civil society will convene to focus on the many issues connected to “Sharing Mining Benefits in the Energy Transition. Setting the tone during the opening of the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF), Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Interim Co-President and Co-CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), noted that critical minerals are the backbone of the clean energy transition. She urged mining countries seeking to tap the booming demand for these minerals to take “immediate and bold action” to ensure they expand their share of benefits while doing so in an equitable and environmentally and socially responsible manner.
7 November 2023 Compliance issues were in the spotlight throughout the day, escalating into a vote: two votes were held in the afternoon to help the Standing Committee reach a decision on recommendations related to compliance in the EU and the UK.
The second Summit of the world's three tropical forest basins was held from October 26 to 28, 2023 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. It brought together leaders from the Amazon, the Congo and the Borneo-Mekong-Southeast Asia region to form a global coalition. Its aim was to implement, within the framework of the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration, the first global coalition for the restoration of 350 million hectares of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) – Malabo Implementation Guidelines for National Level Design and Implementation of Bankable Agriculture and Food Systems Programmes, is a groundbreaking roadmap to revolutionise food systems across the African continent. Recognising the paramount importance of food systems in achieving human well-being, as highlighted in the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030, these guidelines provide a comprehensive roadmap for a resilient, sustainable, and inclusive food future.
October 27, 2023 (ENTEBBE, Uganda): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) yesterday wrapped-up its Blue Economy Project’s 2nd Steering Committee Meeting in Entebbe with field visits to Mahati Marine Transport Base and Kasenyi fishing landing site.
WCS and COMIFAC Commit to a New Partnership in the Congo Basin to Effectively and Equitably Conserve 30 Percent of Marine and Terrestrial Areas - WCS
BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo (Oct. 28, 2023) – The Executive Secretariat of the Central African Forest Commission (or Commission des Forêts d'Afrique Centrale - COMIFAC) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of Target 3 of Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
ATIBT is speeding up the process of revitalizing the UNIBOIS trade union to get its members more involved in the VPA FLEGT process. As part of the implementation of the Support of the Private Sector in the Republic of Congo (ASP Congo) project, and in particular the " UNIBOIS Support for change" activity, ATIBT organized a meeting on Tuesday April 24 October 2023 at the Mikael Hotel in Brazzaville, to take stock of the project's mid-term activities and assess the state of implementation of the roadmap defined and validated at the start of the project by both parties.
In a significant move towards enhanced partnerships and coordination, the United States has officially announced its intent to join the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) as an Executive Board member. The announcement was made during a side event of the Three Basins Summit attended by Prime Minister Anatole Collinet Makosso and Minister of the Environment of Congo-Brazzaville Arlette Soudan-Nonault. The Summit was held in Brazzaville from October 26-28, 2023,
CAFI is launching a call for Expressions of Interest today to all relevant implementing organisations interested in investing in private sector companies in our partner countries (the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, the Gabonese Republic, the Republic of Cameroon, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and the Central African Republic) to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the following sectors...
COMIFAC, the GIZ Regional Support Project for COMIFAC, the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) France – Gabon Facilitation, the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), the EU Funded Support Project to the Central African Forests Observatory (RIOFAC and The Sangha Tri-National Trust Fund (FTNS)hereby launch a call for proposals to host side events lasting no more than 60 minutes under the « COMIFAC – Central Africa Initiatives », at the COP28 venue from 30th November to 12th December 2023. Applications should be submitted before 31 October 2023.
In a declaration issued at the end of the Summit of the world's three great basins of the Amazon, the Congo and Borneo-Mekong on Saturday 28 October 2023 in Brazzaville, the Heads of State and Government undertook, among other things, to: to strengthen cooperation between the three basins, which are home to 80% of the world's tropical forests and two-thirds of terrestrial biodiversity; to recognise the unity of enhanced cooperation between the three basins; to recognise the sovereign management of biodiversity, forests and associated resources by the countries that make up the three basins; to pool and capitalise on the knowledge, experience, resources and achievements existing in each of the basins; and to introduce a sustainable system of remuneration for the ecosystem services provided by the three basins".
Wednesday 25 October 2023, 7pm, French Embassy, Brazzaville (By invitation only) Signing ceremony for a CBFP grant agreement to the UNDP for the organisation of the Summit of the Three Basins... Thursday 26 October 2023, 03:30PM – 04:30PM, Room 3 Kintele Conference Centre, Republic of Congo. Official launch activities of the French and Gabonese Republics Co-Facilitation of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP)...