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 - COMIFAC Congo Basin Initiatives Pavilion, 04 November 2021

The fifth day of the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, which runs until 12 November, was marked by a high-level meeting on the pledge by the main donor countries of 1.5 billion dollars to the Congo Basin to support and promote the protection and sustainable management of these forest ecosystems. Gathered to exchange on the topic: "Accelerating “Fair Deal”: Implementation of the COMIFAC Declaration and the COP26 Joint Declaration of the Congo Basin Donors" - High-level representatives from donor countries in dialogue with ministers from Central African countries.

This High-Level Round Table was co-chaired by Jules Doret Ndongo, current President of COMIFAC and the Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, Minister for Pacific and the Environment at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom and its main objective was to agree on the next steps. Representatives of the following donor countries also took part in the meeting: Belgium, Norway, the United States, France, Germany, the German CBFP Facilitator, the Ministers in charge of environment and forests from Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Chad, Rwanda, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This high-level event advocates for a new "fair deal on climate and biodiversity", calling for a fair share of funding and political commitment to the Congo Basin ecosystems, equal to their overall value in terms of biodiversity and carbon sinks. The dialogue initiated at the roundtable served as a catalyst for longer-term dialogue and partnerships across the region, as well as for increased ambition from donor countries and Central African forest countries.

During the high-level exchanges, the Congo Basin states first presented the process that led to the Berlin Declaration. Then, they expressed their gratitude to donor countries for this historic support. Finally, they called on these industrialised countries to significantly increase their support for protection and sustainable management of the Congo Basin forests, the earth’s second green lung and the last bastion of humanity. They also highlighted the characteristics of this aid to be effective.

With regard to the mechanisms for accessing this funding, Great Britain was asked to set up a working group on this issue.  Furthermore, an official request will also be made so that the countries know the mechanisms that will be put in place to really access this funding, apart from Rainforest and CAFI, which were mentioned during the meeting. This will make it possible to plan actions to preserve the Congo Basin ecosystems, said Jules Doret Ndongo.

As a reminder, in the Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Land Use of 2 November 2021 and its commitment "to work collectively to stop and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, while ensuring sustainable development and promoting inclusive rural transformation", ministers and representatives of countries and organisations recognise the value of ecosystem goods and services derived from the Congo Basin forests in Central Africa. Maintaining and improving protection, sustainable management and restoration requires increased funding from public and private sources. They also welcome the political leadership of Central African countries which have maintained forest cover in the face of increasing pressure.

"We recognised that more effective, efficient and accessible forms of support will be needed to help countries in this region implement development strategies rooted in the conservation of these precious forests. Today we are demonstrating our commitment to this important region by announcing an initial collective commitment of at least $1.5 billion in funding between 2021-2025 to support ambitious efforts and results in the region to protect and maintain forests, peatlands and other carbon stores," they said. They also called on other donors to significantly increase their support for the protection and sustainable management of Congo Basin forests.

The 12 donors who will finance the fund are: the European Commission on behalf of the European Union, the Federal Republic of Germany, the French Republic, Japan, the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America and the Bezos Earth Fund.

The topics that were discussed by the participants included:

  • The different roles that the international community can play in supporting the ambitions of Central African forest nations as donors, consumer markets, and using both political and financial levers.
  • The different roles that Central African countries can play in attracting more forest finance, and how they plan to take a leading role in the protection and sustainable management of their tropical forests and natural resources, integrating forest and biodiversity conservation issues into all sectors while ensuring the preservation of the livelihoods of local communities.
  • How the joint announcement by donor countries at COP26 for the Congo Basin can be used to catalyse greater funding and improve the funding environment, including from the private sector, and how effective use of this investment can be ensured.
  • Ensure that we learn from and strengthen the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in forest governance.

CO-CHAIRS:

  • His Excellency Mr. Jules Doret NDONGO, Minister of Forests and Wildlife of Cameroon, current President of the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC).
  • The Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, Minister for Pacific and the Environment at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

 

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