Rwanda is set to host the regional headquarters of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) following a presidential order signed by President Paul Kagame and issued in the national gazette. Founded in 1895, Wildlife Conservation Society is an NGO with headquarters in New York with the aim to conserve the world's largest wildlife and wild places in 14 priority regions home to more than 50 percent of the world's biodiversity.
The College of International NGOs of the CBFP mobilized, in close line with the Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany of the CBFP, Dr. Christian Ruck
The Largest participation of the Members ever of the international NGOs CBFP College and revitalization of the process towards a common position of the Partnership CBFP and way forward, in the framework of this Important ‘year of biodiversity and forests, climate’ with major international conferences: EU/China summit ; EU/Africa summit ; CBD and UNFCCC process as Important opportunity to promote the profile of the Congo Basin and the CBFP and key /Important that the Congo Basin presents with a common voice at these conferences.
The participants exchanged intensively on the following different articulations of the agenda as below:
- Co Leaders Welcome Remarks
- Federal Republic of Germany CBFP Facilitator Remarks - Synthesis of the CBFP Facilitation Road Map; process for collecting ideas and statements from CBFP´s members; Agenda of CBFP
- Covid 19 and Conservation activities in Congo Basin
- Nature conservation and Human right in Congo Basin
- Next steps
Please find here below the Co-Leaders Notes from CBFP INGO College virtual Meeting with the facilitator
Thanks Andrea Athanas for taking the notes
There were 37 participants. Andrea Athanas, Achille Djeagou, Alistair Pole, Alliance GSAC, Kenneth Angu, Thomas Breuer, Catherine Long, Charles Barber, Charles Bracke, Charly Facheux*, Christian Asanga, Dany Pokem**, Duclaire Mbouna, Elie Hakizumwami, Emma Stoke*, Francois Awounkeu, Fred Kumah, Ilka Herbinger, Iven Schad, Jean-Baptiste Deffontaines, Joe Eisen, Manfred Epanda, Mangouende, Marie-Ange Kalenga, Maud Salber, Mbitikon, Nadege Nzoyem, Clotilde Ngomba, Olivia Rickenbach, Paul Elkan, Paul Kariuki Ndanganga, Roger Fotso, Roland Melisch, Christian Ruck**
Charly Facheux, co-Leader of the College: After the opening of meeting and overview of the agenda the following points were mentioned relating to the agenda:
- Kenneth suggested merging the way forward and technical response with the note from the Facilitator and Emma specified that the focus of that agenda point is to agree a process rather than discuss the details of the technical response in detail.
- Marie-Ange Kalenga suggested discussing the formal and information responses of the government as part of the Covid 19 discussion.
Dr. Christian Ruck, Facilitator
- The Covid 19 situation has prevented planned travel to the region and to the US.
- Dr. Ruck completed his PhD on the Economic effects of protected areas in developing countries, or how to make a national park a development project. He served as a member of the German Bundestag and headed the Working Group on Economic Cooperation and Development. In 2013 he took up a KfW role in the Congo Basin working on developing projects supporting protected areas.
- The handover from the Belgian Facilitator at the end of 2019, and the taking over of the Facilitation on 1 January 2020. The Road Map has been developed and approved by the COMIFAC President in Office. There is continuing support for the N’Djamena process that was launched by the previous Facilitator and the support to transhumance and transboundary anti-poaching effort, as well as the China dialogue which is more important than ever. The German facilitation is dominated by the EU Africa Summit, the EU China Summit and the CBD and UNFCCC conferences. These present important opportunities for the Congo Basin, and the Facilitator envisages the CBFP as a means of providing a clear and common voice from the Congo Basin at these global platforms. Coming together with one voice also presents the opportunity to create some discipline in coming together to create a shared declaration. The primary focus over next months is to prepare a declaration from the Partnership. In Douala many members expressed an interest to strengthen communication within, between and from the Colleges. It is therefore the purpose of the technical questionnaire is to gather structured input from the Colleges for input into the Declaration and backup information that will substantiate the points made in the Declaration. The normal agenda would have been to collect responses, convene the Council at the end of May and discuss the feedback through workshops and prepare the Declaration which would then be shared at the Member meeting at the end of the year. The German Ministry would then have invited the Congo Basin Ministers to Berlin to announce the Declaration to the world. But this timeline has now shifted with Covid 19. The EU summits with China and with Africa as well as other meetings (e.g. the IUCN World Conservation Congress) are postponed. Another effort that is being proposed is a donor mapping of the support going to protected areas and conservation throughout the region. There is a need to support biodiversity on one hand and the forests of the basin on the other. On biodiversity, there is an initiative of the German government to provide long term finance to protected areas and landscapes which would be particularly well suited to supporting the region. The Glasgow meeting input is targeting an effort to support payments to the region for ecosystem services from the Congo Basin forests. The International NGO college is particularly important for this road map. Dany Pokem is responsible as coach for the College during the facilitation. The Facilitator has received 7 declarations of interest from the College. The contributions can be submitted by 1 July so as to enable the Facilitator to prepare by summer holidays.
- Questions raised by the College members:
- Emma Stokes asked how the Facilitator would like the inputs from the College members and whether there is an expectation of how the College will compile inputs. Response – the points of interest in the questionnaire are indicative, and other thoughts are also welcome. The most important points are insights into what is needed to conserve the forests of the Congo Basin, to secure land use, and to finance conservation as well as pre-conditions of the Congo Basin countries. It is not sufficient to call for more protected areas, integration of local communities, or support in light of Covid, but really need to have the rationale behind the big points from International NGO perspective. There are many projects with success stories as well as failures and we need to know how we can do better…what is necessary administratively, and politically to get support for protected areas, to get financial flows (e.g. through payments for ecosystem services). Its not necessary for everyone to answer every question, but the Facilitation is looking for your experiences. We also need to discuss in the college and between the colleges.
- Marie Ange from Fern asked how the College will be able to consult with local CSO partners in the Basin to ensure inclusiveness of the CBFP membership. How will the Facilitation enable those who are left with no/limited connection to input into the process. Response: the Facilitator is struggling to have access to members of the CSO college given the Covid 19 situation. The initial idea was to discuss the issues in the College and then discuss across the other Colleges. CSO are an important College, and they are working in some difficulty at this point in time…and how to reach them. Raymond Mbitikon, the new CBFP Facilitator is coaching and supporting CSO inputs.
- Covid 19 situation and response: Fred Kumah provide a report of meeting with African Protected Area Directors and the impacts of Covid 19 and responses: The protected areas have been significantly impacted by the pandemic, with key issues including impacts on patrols, community engagement, and wildlife surveys. There are no standards and guidelines for protected area responses, there is a desire for a protected area network to come together share lessons and develop an emergency preparedness policy and guidelines and lobby governments to invest more in nature conservation at the center of crisis response. There is also a call to look across multiple sectors for a cohesive response. AWF will share the final report with the CBFP Membership. Paul Elkan of WCS pointed out that responses are different across the continent depending on different ecosystems, and that there is community awareness going on around different protected areas. Marie Ange pointed out that logging operations have been impacted, and independent forest monitoring work been affected. The impact of any crisis on logging activities and forest management needs further investigation. The European Parliament is discussing issues of disruptions of governance and management in the forest systems and how to sustain systems in times of crisis. Roland Melisch from TRAFFIC pointed out the continuation of trade, though at a reduced level, and the continued efforts to monitor trade through TWIX across the region. Field visits and capacity building have been impacted, but the web-based instruments are still working supported by webinars for capacity building. Kenneth Angu of IUCN clarified the connection between the protected area meeting and the Africa Protected Areas Congress.
- Human Rights: Marie Ange alerted the group to the statement that Fern and a group of other organizations made to the European Commission. The paper will be shared with the Membership. The College will come together to share approaches to addressing rights in the course of our work and to consolidating our response to those aspects of the technical questionnaire ( statement about the EU’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and déclaration sur la réponse mondiale de l’UE à la crise du COVID-19)
- Nadege asked what the role of the agro-industries in the Facilitation Plan. This is very much part of the plan of the Facilitation going forward.
- Way Forward: Iven Schad from BMZ expressed gratitude to the International NGO College for the discussion, and stressed the importance of substantive responses to the technical questionnaire to provide input into the Declaration but also to vitalize the council meetings and get a sense of where there is broader interest among the Colleges and stimulate future discussions. Regarding the level of ambitions in the Declarations, there is an aim to have honest Declarations that lead to meaningful contributions to agreements on what each stakeholder group can do to contribute to a solution.
- Closing remarks: Emma Stokes, Co Leader, thanked the Facilitator for his presentation and to the Members of the College for the largest participation ever of the College and revitalizes the process towards the Declaration and way forward. Please also keep us involved through virtual interactions in the absence of being able to meet in person.
Researchers consider the benefits of conservation retreat: smaller reserves and focused funding – Anthropocene magazine
Decades of declining herbivore populations in central African national parks have conservation scientists arguing that smaller reserves might be better for wildlife. As conservationists press for a major expansion of protected habitat around the world, scientists with years of experience in central Africa say new evidence calls for just the opposite in the region.
At the beginning of this year, we learn that Ben Gunneberg is leaving his position as CEO after 22 years at PEFC. ATIBT wishes him the best for the future.
ClientEarth launches this month a consultation on women's rights in the forestry sector in Gabon and the Republic of Congo
This mission will focus on the status of women's rights in the forestry sector legislation applicable in Gabon and support to Gabonese and Congolese civil society through capacity strenghting and gender inclusion.
ATIBT has conducted numerous press actions throughout 2021 mainly around Fair&Precious brand. A look back at these advocacy activities for a sustainable trade of tropical timber.
The year 2021 ended with excellent news for the Congo Basin PAFC project: the scheme is now recognized by the PEFC Council!
For decades, Fern and partners have campaigned to strengthen the rights of forest peoples and protect and restore forests. There have been locust years, when things went backwards, and harvest years, when plans come to fruition. Gratifyingly, 2021 was a year in which the forest movement achieved outstanding successes and we enter 2022 energised and ready to defend and build on them.
New paper Paul Scholte et al. : Conservation overstretch and the long term decline of wildlife and tourism in the Central African savannas
When in 2010 the world's governments pledged to increase protected area coverage to 17% of the world's land surface, several Central African countries had already set aside 25% of their northern savannas for conservation. To evaluate the effectiveness of this commitment, we analyzed the results of 68 multispecies surveys conducted in the 7 main savanna national parks in Central Africa (1960-2017).
ITTO appoints Executive Director, sets new priorities to increase economic contribution of tropical forest sector while reducing deforestation and increasing resilience
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN, 20 December 2021: The International Tropical Timber Council appointed Ms Sheam Satkuru as the new Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) at its virtual 57th session concluded in early December 2021 and also endorsed a strategic action plan to set the Organization’s path for the next five years.
The CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck, Goodwill Ambassador of the COMIFAC Declaration, wishes you a happy holiday season 2021 and all the best for 2022
in this holiday season marking the end of 2021, I wish to express my appreciation and gratitude to you. Your rich and various contributions and your proactive and dedicated involvement have enriched and enhanced the efficacy of our joint partnership. Our fruitful and close collaboration was an overwhelming success internationally and most tangibly during the CoP 26 in Glasgow, UK.
At this time of year, we find it instructive to look back at our most read stories for 2021. This look back reminds us how far we have come and helps to set our agenda for the following year.
The International Science Council convened a process to reorient funding for scientific research and institutional arrangements to support needed societal transformations. The resulting report sets out a roadmap for the production of actionable knowledge in five areas that pose the most risk to the Earth as a “safe operating space” within ten or 20 years.
The 2021 HLPF convened in a hybrid format from 6-15 July under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Leading up to the session, 42 governments had conducted VNRs, and they presented on these processes during the Forum. The DESA report notes that these governments recognized the second year of the pandemic as “a crucial time to conduct a VNR, in order to align their efforts towards a resilient recovery.”
For three scientists who have authored a new book titled Adaptive Collaborative Management in Forest Landscapes: Villagers, Bureaucrats and Civil Society (Routledge, 2022), it represents the conjoining of their disparate but likeminded visions and guiding strategic principles for Adaptive Collaborative Management (ACM) in forest landscapes and resource management.
Secure tenure and effective governance are central to the future of natural resources and agriculture. Although important on their own, tenure and governance are also embedded in the solutions to key global challenges: climate change; environmental management; poverty; gender equity and women’s empowerment; and nutrition and health.
Establishing standards for measuring, monitoring and assigning financial value to forest-related greenhouse gas emissions is a challenging process due to the wide range of variables at play, said delegates attending the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
VIENNA, 30 November 2021 – Gerd Müller, Germany’s acting Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, is set to take office as the new Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
A team of researchers led by the University of Sheffield has discovered that rates of deforestation and degradation in tropical forests are lower in Indigenous lands compared to other areas. The findings, published in Nature Sustainability, show that across the tropics, Indigenous lands had a fifth less deforestation on average compared to non-protected areas, and in Africa, Indigenous Lands reduce deforestation more effectively than protected areas.
The Congo Basin: Eight grants totaling $105.05 million were made to create more than 11 million hectares of new protected areas
The Congo Basin. The Congo Basin is home to 70% of Africa’s forests and is one of the most important places for biodiversity and carbon stocks on the planet—yet only 17% of the area is protected today. Each year, large areas are lost to deforestation, while remaining forests are degraded by logging, mining, agriculture, the building of new roads, fuelwood collection, hunting, and other pressures.
With this newsletter we would like to inform you about some of the current activities of FSC on behalf of the FSC Congo Basin team, and furthermore interest you with the actualities relevant to the tropical timber trade and our network partners.
The CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck co-hosts a press conference with the President of COMIFAC on the Congo Basin’s involvement to the COP26 Climate in Glasgow
A press conference was held on Friday 17 December 2021, at 10 a.m. at the Djeuga Palace Hotel to discuss the involvement of COMIFAC countries and partners in COP 26 in Glasgow, UK. This press conference was co-hosted by the CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, His Excellency Dr. Christian Ruck, and the current Chairman of the COMIFAC Council of Ministers, His Excellency Mr. Jules Doret NDONGO, Minister of Forests and Wildlife of Cameroon.
This report provides a technical analysis of pastoral dynamics in the region to support the development of adaptive management approaches. Rooted in genuine engagement, it presents a series of recommendations for regional actors and NGOs involved in pastoralism.
Cameroonian authorities say clashes between ranchers and fishers have left at least ten people dead and scores wounded Monday, forcing hundreds to flee into neighboring Chad. The clashes in Cameroon’s north broke out over water scarcity, a problem that authorities have struggled to address.
This discussion document gathers the views and perspectives of timber-producing country stakeholders on the EU’s policies to protect tropical forests and forest communities. It highlights potential innovations and revisions to the VPA model, and options to ensure its full integration into and contribution towards global action against deforestation.
A lot has happened since we were last in touch. Most importantly, after a year’s delay, COP26 finally took place. Debate continues on whether it was a good COP or a bad COP, but we made sure voices from over 15 countries were heard as they made this demand: stop corruption from diluting climate action. Before finishing up with 2021, let’s take a glance at our activities around the world.
03.12.2021. INTERHOLCO is proud to present Lobi, the spearhead of its first collection made from FSC®* certified Sustainable Hardwood, Made in Africa according to the most demanding socio-environmental criteria. Lobi means 'tomorrow' and 'future' in the broadest sense; the name is derived from Lingala, the most widely used language in Congo Basin countries.
This report reinforces the "Fair Deal" and "Fair Share" for the protection of the Congo Basin Forests which is the largest net positive tropical carbon sink in the world...
...and at the same time to contribute to "Saving" the planet with those 80 billion tons of CO2 Stored and which could come from the emissions of the intense industrial period ... Joint the "Fair Deal" Alliance to protect the Congo Basin rainforest...
« Fair Deal, Fair Share » Congo Basin : The Congo Basin becomes the world’s first tropical carbon sink
Today, despite their comparatively smaller area, the undisturbed forests in Central African of the Congo Basin now absorb more carbon than in the Amazon and Southeast Asia combined, and is thus the most important tropical carbon sink to date.
COP 26 – GIZ-COMIFAC-PFBC: Ministers from Central African countries around Ms. Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Director General of the GIZ Presidium (Vorstand) - German GIZ Cooperation celebrated
COP 26, Glasgow, 8 November 2021, held a High-Level Side Event in the COMIFAC Congo Basin Initiative Pavilion on the theme: "Nature-based solutions as means of conservation and sustainable management of Congo Basin Forest landscapes for climate change mitigation.” This high-level event between ministers of the Congo Basin countries and representatives of development agencies was attended by Ms. Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Director General of the GIZ Presidium (Vorstand).
After the removal of the Salonga National Park from the list of World Heritage in Danger last July, another piece of good news has come to mark the life of the park in this year 2021. Indeed, a new partnership agreement on the Salonga National Park concluded between the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation and the WWF will bring the collaboration between the two institutions to the phase of the implementation of an even more effective management framework to better address the specific challenges of the largest park in Africa.
COP 26 – A landmark event on financing: High Level Political Dialogue between COMIFAC countries and donor countries.
His Excellency Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck, Goodwill Ambassador and CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, testifies about the participation of technical and financial partners in the consultative process that led to the Declaration of Commitment by COMIFAC Member States for Central Africa Forests and call for equitable financing and "Fair Share" and "Fair Deal" to which he was made a Goodwill Ambassador in Berlin on the sidelines of the symposium on tropical forests by Germany and the Ministers of the COMIFAC countries.
COP 26 - Glasgow: Honorable Dr. Christian successfully drives landmark mobilization – Fair Deal movement bears fruit: US$ 1.5billion to protect Central African forests in the Congo Basin.
For the first time in the history of Conferences of the Parties, Central African countries are securing a financial commitment from donors within the framework of the "Fair Deal" to accelerate the implementation of the COMIFAC Declaration of September 2021. This is a major achievement for COMIFAC, Central African countries, and CBFP partners.
COMIFAC at CoP26: Private Sector – British Timber Federation, China Timber Association and Central African countries call for global governance of the world’s forests for greater equity.
Co-organised by COMIFAC, German Facilitation of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) and Timber Trade Federation of Great Britain (TTF UK), an important session on private sector took place on 6 November 2021, at the COMIFAC Pavilion at CoP26 in Glasgow, UK, on the theme: "Global Forests Need Global Governance".
Landmark International Mobilization for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities: US$ 1,7 Billion available – Central Africa Calls for a “Fair Share” – A Fair Share for its Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities
US$ 1.7 billion international financial commitment aims to promote support to indigenous peoples' and local communities' land rights and forest conservation - Glasgow COP26, November 2021...
COP 26 – High-level visit of H.E. Mr. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo to COMIFAC Congo Basin Initiatives Pavilion
COP 26 - Glasgow-Scotland, 3 November 2021: The CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck and His Excellency Jules Doret Ndongo, current President of COMIFAC welcome to the COMIFAC Congo Basin Initiatives Pavilion, H.E. Mr. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo, President of the Congo Basin Climate Commission.