The minutes of the 8th meeting of the CBFP Governing Council are available for download!
Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) - 11 December 2020 – the CBFP Council held its eighth meeting. The gathering was chaired by the Honourable Dr Christian Ruck, CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, co-chaired by His Excellency Mr. Jules Doret Ndongo, Cameroon Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Acting Chairman of COMIFAC and hosted by: His Excellency Barrister Claude NYAMUGABO BAZIBUHE, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Please download here below the minutes of the 8th meeting of the CBFP Governing Council
The meeting was graced by the presence of politicians, Forestry/Environment Ministers from the Central African countries and the High Representatives of ECCAS, COMIFAC, OCFSA and GVTC.
Close to 150 delegates also participated, representing the seven colleges that make up the CBFP with about fifty participants joining online, namely:
CBFP Regional College: ECCAS, COMIFAC and Ministers accompanied by the National COMIFAC Coordinators of the COMIFAC member countries;
CBFP Civil Society College: CEFDHAC-CPR and ROSCEVAC accompanied by representatives of REJEFAC, REFADD, REPALEAC, REPAR networks, representatives of RECEIAC and local CSOs;
CBFP International NGO College: AWF, WCS accompanied by WWF, WRI, FERN, TI
CBFP Private Sector College: ATIBT and Earthworm Foundations represented by the DRC’s Timber Industry Federation;
CBFP Donor College: Norway accompanied by Germany, Belgium and France;
CBFP Scientific and Academic College: CIFOR;
CBFP Multilateral College: UNESCO and GVTC represented by ICCN.
The Eighth CBFP Council Meeting was structured around a first segment which was devoted to the opening ceremony. During the opening session of the 8th CBFP Council meeting, the Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Honourable Dr Christian Ruck, provided a brief overview of the objectives and activities conducted by the German Facilitation for close to a year, underscoring the need to quickly develop a common position for Central Africa on Climate and Biodiversity issues, in order to strengthen the sub-region’s voice at international negotiations coming up in 2021.
Coming after the Mayor of Kinshasa, the Ministers of Forestry of the Congo (Acting President of OCFSA), and of Cameroon (Acting President of COMIFAC), the ECCAS Commissioner for Forests and the DRC Minister of Forestry took turns making statements. They all thanked the German Facilitation for all its efforts and especially for holding the meeting in Kinshasa amidst the turmoil of the COVID crisis. Furthermore, they were unanimous in acknowledging the need to quickly reach a common position for Central Africa through a Declaration that could be put forward at international Climate and Biodiversity negotiations. They pledged to work actively to help finalize the text speedily, noting that there was significant room to increase the funding granted to date for forest and biodiversity preservation in the Congo Basin, to compensate the countries for the efforts they are making both individually and collectively.
The Commissioner representing ECCAS, while recalling that the ongoing reform of the sub-regional organization envisages the centralization of various existing institutions, reiterated his wish that the Declaration on the common position would be taken to the international scene by the President of ECCAS, thereby expanding the political reach of the commitment made by COMIFAC, the specialized sub-regional institution dedicated to forests.
The moderator of the thematic workshop that gathered all the 7 CBFP colleges that had worked on the draft Joint Declaration of the Central African States, presented a summary of the text submitted for review to the Ministers of Forestry and the partners. He underscored the need to hammer out a “deal” outlining payments for ecosystem services of global importance. Such a deal would entail a commitment of the States to do more to preserve the Congo Basin forests and their biodiversity, on the one hand, and a commitment of funding partners to increase their contributions to match the magnitude of challenges facing the climate, biodiversity and forests in the Central Africa sub-region, on the other hand. The German Facilitation will continue to assist the States in finalizing the Declaration, by collecting inputs from the States and funding partners, in order to come up with a document that reflects both the common position of the States and the consensus among the partners.
The presentation of the transhumance workshop report stressed the importance of this issue for the countries concerned across the Sudano-Sahelian fringe and the increasing pressure from livestock movements in transit areas and the northern edge of the Congo Basin forests. The experts recommend awareness raising at the highest level in the States, to ensure better institutional integration, greater cooperation between countries, especially in cross-border areas, including on issues of security, taxation and related levies, which will require bilateral agreements that clarify the laws applicable to transhumants and communication actions on the rules established.
The CEFDHAC report summarized the actions conducted by the organization, particularly by civil society throughout the Congo Basin. The President underscored the need to prepare well for international meetings coming up in 2021 and reiterated the availability of CEFDHAC and civil society to contribute to the preparatory work.
Each CBFP college was given the floor to present the state of affairs within the College (news), and prospects or activities planned by the College. The focus was on the Regional College, with a special interest in news from the regional organizations (ECCAS; COMIFAC; OCFSA; the Congo Basin Climate Commission).
In their statements, the representatives of the respective CBFP colleges were unanimous in affirming the need to urgently come up with a common position for Central Africa at upcoming international meetings. They further insisted
Regional college) on the need to settle COMIFAC’s arrears to allow the transition towards a new Executive Secretariat for the organization and the launch of the mid-term evaluation of the implementation of the Convergence Plan;
-NGO College) on human rights compliance and the need to promote economic and social development in the periphery of protected areas;
-Private Sector College) on the crucial need to help the private timber industry become truly lucrative again by improving logistical connections, reducing taxes and related charges, reimbursing VAT to exporters without delay, stepping up the fight against illegal logging, facilitating the mobilization of new investments in order to quickly ramp up local processing capacities in preparation for the ban on log exports coming into force on 1 January 2022, providing professional training in the timber processing trades, formalizing and legalizing domestic timber markets, in accordance with FLEGT commitments, and renewing land use plans for forest concessions as part of a secure long-term land zoning framework, taking into account emerging international issues ;
-Research) on the development of a new issue of the State of the Forests report due in 2021 with contributions from over 150 researchers and the release of a new information platform on the Congo Basin forests on the OFAC website
-Donors College) on the donors’ commitment to continue and especially increase their contribution to the financing of forest preservation in the context of climate change, and conservation of biodiversity in the second tropical green lung of the planet, and also renewing their commitment to support efforts to curb the negative impacts of transhumance, and support dialogue on a sustainable timber value chain, particularly dialogue with China
- Multilateral College) on supporting protected area authorities, on the need to make more resources available for conservation and improve the livelihoods of communities; on the need to equip protected area authorities to manage man-wildlife conflicts, and help develop a “Zero poaching” strategy; on the need to improve governance in sharing benefits from natural resources; and combat climate change by better understanding the drivers of change and mitigation measures that need to be put in place. The Colleges’ statements are here attached.
The FONAREDD representative from the DRC shared her organization’s experience in REDD financing in the country, stressing the importance of strengthening cooperation between the respective financing tools to ensure greater consistency of actions taken, the need to focus on direct and indirect causes and to strengthen territorial governance for better territorial planning across all sub-sectors. She further underscored the need for a fund that would allow building on a foundation of trust where the responsibilities for implementation lie with the States and their implementing partners on the ground, hence reducing the scope of conditions and prerequisites.
During the closing session, the CBFP Facilitator recalled the calendar of major events coming up in 2021, including the Symposium on Tropical Forests in Berlin, the World Conservation Congress in Marseille, the World Forestry Congress in Seoul, the China-Africa Forum in Dakar, COP 15 on Biological Diversity in Kunming and COP 26 on Climate in Glasgow. With these in mind, and based on the report of the CBFP Regional College and the Ministers’ consultations, Honourable Dr Christian Ruck made it clear that the Joint Declaration of the Central Africa States needed to be finalized speedily in the COMIFAC countries (the ball is now in the Ministers' court), especially in view of the upcoming symposium in Berlin, and reiterated the availability of the German Facilitation to assist the States and their CBFP partners in this endeavour.
The Acting Chairman of COMIFAC renewed his commitment to ensuring that a common position is finalized as soon as possible so that the Joint Declaration can be taken to the top international bodies, particularly in climate and biodiversity negotiations.
Taking the floor on behalf of the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to close the proceedings, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development recalled that the DRC would be taking over the presidency of the African Union in the month of January 2021. He reiterated his country's commitment to the sub-regional process of concerted forest management, and announced his government's decision to host the 3rd Summit of COMIFAC Heads of State in Kinshasa in the first half of 2021.
Brazil says it should receive $10 billion a year in foreign aid, including $1 billion for forests, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, instead of 2060 as currently planned. What about the forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin?
As replacements for outgoing statutory executives, the Extraordinary Council of COMIFAC Ministers have tapped the following as the new statutory executives: Executive Secretary: Mr. Hervé Martial MAIDOU from the Central African Republic; Deputy Executive Secretary-Technical Coordinator: Mr. Chouaibou NCHOUTPOUEN from the Republic of Cameroon; Administrative and Financial Director: Mr. François DAYANG from the Republic of Chad.
The Congo Basin’s forests and peatlands are a major component of Earth’s life-support systems, and it is a key supplier of vital minerals needed to build a low carbon economy. The case for the people of the Congo to benefit from not exploiting these resources is irrefutable.
As part of the ECOFAC 6 capitalization program, and in order to help improve the sharing of information between researchers, policy makers and protected area managers in central Africa, we propose that you answer a questionnaire on the usefulness of research for conservation.
The JRS Biodiversity Foundation is pleased to announce Matthew Cassetta as its new Executive Director. Cassetta brings over two decades of diverse experience in international diplomacy and project management, much of it focused in Africa on capacity-building and development partnerships.
Wildlife: during the month of March, the UICN publicly announced two decisions concerning forest elephants. The first one was declaring the forest elephant (Loxodonta Cyclotis) an altogether different species, as until recently it was merely considered a subspecies. The second decision was declaring this species critically endangered.
The EU is the world’s largest aid donor and a major political actor with a strong influence over global policies. The EU recognises civil society as an essential actor in policy making and implementation, specifically in the development sector.
To read: The German CBFP Facilitation and COMIFAC are preparing for the 2021 Climate and Biodiversity Conferences of the Parties; Report on landmark deforestation events in 2019; The 2021-2025 Operational Plan of COMIFAC Convergence Plan validated...
March 2021 Highlights: Rescued 1 Black-bellied pangolin; Released 1 Black-bellied pangolin back into the wild; Released 19 African grey parrots into the wild; Finished maintenance of Gorilla group 1 night den; Completed phase 1 of the Gorilla re-enrichment project…
Read: Position of European Partners on SIGIF 2 in Cameroon; Only few days left to register for the webinars "The Role of Forest Certification in the EUTR"; ATIBT technical data sheet : quality of plantation species for timber use; "Choosing tropical woods to fight climate change" says Timber Trade Federation...
Read: FLEGT ‘Fitness Check’: Abandoning FLEGT licenses would harm forest governance and the legal timber trade; EU Law on deforestation: Key land rights risk being ignored in DG Environment’s proposal; Could the palm oil arrangement between Indonesia and Switzerland offer lessons for EU and Indonesia free trade agreement negotiations?
The co-facilitators for the negotiated outcome of the 2021 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development have issued an outline for consideration. The proposed structure includes sections on: the impact of COVID-19 on the 2030 Agenda; progress towards the SDGs under review in 2021; and accelerated actions to achieve the SDGs.
The International Renewable Energy (IRENA) has published a preview of its publication, ‘World Energy Transitions Outlook.’ The report reviews technology choices, investment needs, and socio-economic contexts necessary to set the world on a trajectory towards a sustainable, resilient and inclusive energy future.
From 9 to 13 March the COMIFAC Working Group meetings of the Central African Climate and Biodiversity Negotiators took place in Douala, Cameroon. These two meetings were held at the same time and place, with financial support provided by the German cooperation.
This publication adds to ongoing work by the World Bank Group on how to better design and incorporate fiscal policy within the climate and sustainable development policy mix. The publication shows how various fiscal reforms can positively influence forest conservation while freeing up resources that can be used for national development.
Environmental issues affect us all. As is it, the planet is moving towards a global warming of 3°C by 2100. This is not the future we want. Forests, our first carbon sink within submerged land, are however in critical danger, with the possible savannahisation of the Amazon and tropical forests that could eventually turn into proper CO2 emitters. Faced with these projections, that involve unimaginable socio-economic consequences, our absolute priority can be summed up in a single word: reduction. Reducing our carbon footprint. Reducing deforestation. Reducing the degradation of forests. Reducing them increasingly and continuously.
The world is facing unprecedented economic and environmental challenges. While climate change increasingly poses risks to macroeconomic and fiscal stability, deforestation and forest degradation impair the ability of forests to act as carbon sinks and reduce the resiliency of local communities to climate damages. The loss and decay of forests also threaten global biodiversity, the provision of ecosystem services, and other core ecological functions that economies worldwide rely on.
Fern’s report Beyond commitments: How can Nationally Determined Contributions contribute to forest governance and resilient local communities? looks at progress, challenges, and opportunities in six African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Liberia, and Republic of the Congo.
The undeniable connection between nature, human health, and economic well-being has become more evident than ever during this time of crisis. Resilience is in our nature: IUCN and its Members are working to ensure a nature-based recovery that can deliver sustainable solutions, providing a foundation for a healthier relationship between humanity and the planet.
As indicated on the Fordaq website, Hans Fahrni, CEO of FACO Construction, is pleased with the effects of the log export ban on the timber industry in Gabon, where the majority of the forest area is FSC-certified (the government's goal is to certify all of them within 4 years).
The ATIBT and the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) have recently held several online meetings to clarify their common issues for the development of a responsible tropical timber sector. These meetings have been preceded in recent years by annual meetings.
REN21’s Renewables in Cities Global Status Report (REC) series provides an overview of the status, trends and developments of renewable energy in cities, using the most up-to-date information and data available. The REC’s neutral, fact-based approach documents in detail the annual developments in policies, markets, investments and citizen action, with a particular focus on renewables in public, residential and commercial buildings as well as public and private urban transport. This report aims to inform decision makers and to create an active exchange of views and information around urban renewable energy.
The crisis provoked by the coronavirus pandemic offers a chance to shift from a fossil-fuel based economy to a nature-based circular bioeconomy, said Britain’s heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles on Friday.
The UK and Norway launched an initiative on sustainable finance that will serve as a platform for British and Norwegian financial institutions to share knowledge and best practices focused on actionable climate solutions in the financial sector and explore the regulatory frameworks and investment decisions that would be necessary to achieve a zero-emissions economy.
The post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) took center stage at the informal meeting in preparation for the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3), convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
UN-Water convened a three-day event to discuss accelerating progress towards water and sanitation for all by 2030, and a report that indicates ambitions for 2030 remain off-track. Participants were briefed on the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, upcoming high-level events on water, and the preparatory process for the 2023 UN conference for the midterm review of the Water Action Decade.
The pandemic has tragically claimed millions of lives and placed countries in complete economic and social lockdown, with the threat of a global recession looming. But the pandemic is not just an immediate human health crisis; it also poses a long-term socio-economic ramifications for people who depend on natural resources such as timber, fisheries and wildlife.
This Sunday, 21 March, is the United Nations International Day of Forests (IDF), intended to celebrate and raise global awareness of the importance of forests. The theme is "Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being", a cause that Fern championed in our recent report looking at how rights-based forest restoration can empower communities, recover biodiversity, and tackle the climate crisis. It also explained that forest restoration must never be used to greenwash other sectors' lack of action towards climate objectives.
Elon Musk tweeted earlier this year that he would be "donating $100 million towards a prize for best carbon capture technology”. Out of 600 thousand likes and retweets, twenty thousand corresponded to a brilliant solution: “A tree”. The Tesla boss responded that trees were, indeed, part of the solution, but that we may require something that is “ultra-large-scale industrial in 10 to 20 years”. The sense of acting ‘urgently’ and at ‘scale’ are clearly central to the concepts of innovations announced in his offer.
19. February 2020 | In the past, Germany has been among the more ambitious providers of financial assistance to developing countries’ efforts to adapt to a changing climate and cut or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.
The findings and recommendations in this Toolkit were identified based on a meta-review of program evaluations and scholarly research in French and English, supplemented by a series of key informant interviews with program implementers. The Toolkit was validated through review by an Advisory Council of external civil society practitioners and researchers as well as practitioners from Search for Common Ground’s field offices across the Sudano-Sahel (Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, South Sudan, Sudan).
Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Forests, observed on 21 March: Humanity’s well-being is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. Forests play a crucial role.