Appeal made for international commitment to protecting the Congo Basin ecosystems and their vicinity at the IUCN World Conservation Congress

Jointly organized by COMIFAC, CBFP, GIZ, CAFI and IUCN, as part of the Congo Basin Special Day at the World Conservation Congress, a high-level session on the Congo Basin, was held from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m on 05/09/2021., at the SPACE CENTER, Exhibition HALL 3.

A high-level political dialogue, the session brought together H.E. Dr Aurelie Flore KOUMBA PAMBO, Deputy Ambassador of Gabon to the United Nations, representative of the governments of the Central African countries, the Honourable Dr Christian Ruck, CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr Claude Gascon PhD, Director of the Programs Unit of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Mr Yannick GLEMAREC, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and, Mr Aliou FAYE, Regional Director of the Central and West Africa Program (PACO) of IUCN. The session was moderated by Dr Dany POKEM, Technical Advisor at the CBFP.

 

Fifty delegates also attended, including representatives of intergovernmental institutions and civil society organizations, from the countries of the Congo Basin and West Africa, international institutions of the forest-environment sector operating in the Congo Basin (IUCN, WWF, FFI, CIRAD, etc.) and representatives of IUCN member organizations.

 

The high-level session was entitled: “Climate and biodiversity finance for the Congo Basin’s tropical forests, peatlands and peripheral areas: a cost-effective nature-based solution”.

 

Following welcome remarks delivered by Mr Aliou FAYE, Regional Director of IUCN PACO, the panel members took turns highlighting the crucial importance of tropical forests, especially those of the Congo Basin not only because of the services and goods they provide but also their contribution to the socio-economic development of the Central Africa States and their populations, but also and foremost, for the planet by virtue of their role as a major carbon sink for the fight against climate change.

 

They thus appealed for a new “climate / biodiversity agreement” for the preservation of tropical forests and peatlands in the Congo Basin, which would ensure that a fair share of funding for climate protection and global biodiversity is earmarked for tropical forests and peatlands in the Congo Basin. The panel members thus advocated for urgent action to save this lung of the planet. Also, considering its share of global tropical forest area, the Congo Basin ought to receive at least 5% of all climate finance. Should the USD 100 billion per year grant announced for the GCF become available, this would correspond to USD 5 billion per year in climate finance for the Congo Basin.

 

Mr Yannick GLEMAREC of the GCF, recalled the procedures that are inherent to the Fund’s access mechanisms, and reiterated the need to coordinate interventions between all multilateral and bilateral donors active in the Congo Basin, in order to curb various threats (deforestation and land degradation, poaching and international trade in endangered endemic species, etc.) and promote the smooth functioning of the ecosystems of this important Basin, the planet’s green lung. In his view, the Green Climate Fund is set to grow even more.

 

“There is a need to strengthen collaboration and coordination of interventions between the GEF and GCF in order to meaningfully support the preservation of the Congo Basin.” Mr Claude Gascon PhD underscored.… Small-scale projects have shown their limits, their days are over…”, he continued.

 

Dr Christian Ruck, CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, for his part, encouraged the Congo Basin countries to speak with one voice, within the framework of the CoP 15 international negotiations, Kumning in China and CoP26, Glasgow-UK, about this new agreement which has his full support, for the preservation of the Congo Basin. He therefore hoped that the countries would jointly develop large-scale and coordinated intervention programs and projects, with clear and measurable commitments, because "these are win-win agreements". He went on to announce the upcoming Symposium on tropical forests in Berlin, due to hold on 07 and 08 September 2021, during which, an important declaration would be signed between the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and relevant ministers of the Congo Basin countries, under the aegis of COMIFAC.

 

During a question-and-answer session, the audience appealed for easier and faster procedures for Congo Basin countries to access funds.

The session ended with closing remarks from the Regional Director of IUCN-PACO.

 

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