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.
The GIZ Support Project to the BSB YAMOUSSA complex, in collaboration with the Lamidat of Rey Bouba, proposes to organize a sub-regional forum of direct local actors of transboundary transhumance and traditional stakeholders from the grassroots communities, with a view to exchanging, sharing experiences and reflecting on the construction of dialogue in favour of a peaceful transhumance.
In this letter to the Slovenian and French Presidencies of the EU, 42 civil society networks and organisations from countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America call on the European Union (EU) to strengthen support to the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation and its Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), the EU’s key legal instruments to fight illegal logging, and the associated trade.
This is a second polite reminder to let you know we are conducting an anonymous evaluation funded by the World Resources Institute (WRI) of forest monitoring information and tools, and their usefulness, with a particular focus on Global Forest Watch (GFW), and stakeholder perspectives.
The German CBFP Facilitation has commissioned a package of 6 thematic studies on pertinent issues in Congo Basin forest politics (namely REDD+ in the Congo Basin, Land Use Planning, Transhumance, Ecotourism, Sustainable value chains, China´s role in Central African forestry) as well as an overarching synthesis study. Each study consists of a full study report as well as a short policy brief. Please download the CBFP Study Package…
...In addition to this effort at the global policy level, the facilitation commissioned six thematic studies related to specific opportunities and challenges for the forests of the Congo Basin and the people who depend directly on the products, biodiversity and ecosystem services the forests provide. The six studies and a policy brief for each study were prepared between December 2020 and August 2021. They focus on the following topics...
Over the last 10 to 15 years, China has increasingly taken note of the potential environmental and forest impacts of its overseas trade, investment and other economic activities. However, timber trade between China and Africa has so far not met the requirements of international legality and sustainability standards. Furthermore, China is highly involved in investment and construction of infrastructure projects that may have caused forest conversion due to a lack of comprehensive, effective management measures and a lack of environmental impact analyses.
This study was performed with the intent of understanding the challenges to developing eco-tourism in the Congo Basin, and of identifying actions and recommendations to overcome these challenges. A background study of the existing literature, research articles, reports and national strategies (where available) was performed to ascertain the political strategies and academic understanding of ecotourism in the region.
Conclusions and outlook: Adapted local LUP processes can serve as a foundation for securing tenure, reducing social conflicts between external and local actors, or even within forest adjacent communities meeting the SDGs, implementing REDD+ and operationalizing the many commitments to zero deforestation commodity production.
This study was carried out to shed light on issues related to this activity and provide basic knowledge of various aspects relating to livestock rearing, neo-pastoralism and unsustainable transhumance. The study area covers the Sudano-Sahelian region of Africa – specifically, the area stretching from the northern fringes of the Congo Basin (Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic) and the south-eastern part of the southern Lake Chad Basin, namely the Sudano-Guinean savanna mosaics. The methodology adopted was to collect data from various sources, including from key stake-holders and literature review.
The first case study is dedicated to the spectacular policy announcement by Gabon that it would make FSC timber certification mandatory from 2022 onwards for all concessionaires willing to keep operating in the country. Such certification is relatively advanced in Gabon and this unprecedented policy stands as an intriguing and promising example in the region. The second case study relates to a prominent approach that has emerged and grown over the last decade, namely corporate zero-deforestation commitments. This is complementary to the first case study as it refers to a process initiated by the private sector itself, and we apply it to the oil palm sector in Cameroon. For the third case study, we move to the importation side of things with the most advanced policy effort to take action in consuming countries, namely the French National Strategy against Imported Deforestation (SNDI).
The report draws on a thorough review of the available literature. It is complemented by 21 semi-structured anonymous interviews with key REDD+ experts. The authors conducted the interviews between November 2020 and February 2021. Interview partners include represent-atives of Congo Basin countries, donor states, academia, NGOs and independent technical experts. Instead of going to lengths in elucidating the entire range of options for reducing deforestation and forest degradation, the study report lists concrete courses of action which might be pursued in the future.
To read: Governments meet to consider ambitious GEF replenishment; GEF CEO statement for side event at UN General Assembly; GEF supports innovative Food Securities Fund; 'You cannot see forests in isolation'…
Africa's priorities within the African Group of Negotiators on Climate Change (AGN) were set out in July 2021 just after the Bonn Climate Conference (UNFCCC inter-sessional). These priorities are as follows...
UN Climate Change News, 17 September 2021 – UN Climate Change today published a synthesis of climate action plans as communicated in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The NDC Synthesis report indicates that while there is a clear trend that greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced over time, nations must urgently redouble their climate efforts if they are to prevent global temperature increases beyond the Paris Agreement’s goal of well below 2C – ideally 1.5C – by the end of the century.
UN Climate Change News, 30 September 2021 – Africa Climate Week 2021 wrapped up this week with Virtual Thematic Sessions helping to set the scene for more ambitious regional action to tackle climate change ahead of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow in November.
UN Climate Change News, 5 October 2021 – Faith leaders representing the world’s major religions yesterday joined scientists at the Vatican to call on the international community to raise their ambition and step up their climate action ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November in Glasgow. Almost 40 faith leaders signed a joint Appeal, which was presented by Pope Francis to COP26 President-Designate, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma, and the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Luigi Di Maio.
Dear Stakeholder. We are conducting an anonymous evaluation funded by the World Resources Institute (WRI) of forest monitoring information and tools, and their usefulness, with a particular focus on Global Forest Watch (GFW), and stakeholder perspectives.
Bonn, 28 September 2021 – The winners of prestigious 2021 Land for Life Award of the United Nations have been honored at an international forum for their innovation in land restoration and conservation methods that promote the well-being of communities and improve their relationship with nature.
Bonn, 29 September 2021 – Two new guidance documents have been released today: a revised and upgraded version of Good Practice Guidance for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 15.3.1 and new Good Practice Guidance for national reporting on UNCCD strategic objective 3.
The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has published a report providing a global assessment of transboundary climate risks in agricultural commodity flows. Its authors explain that the material risk posed to food security, particularly in low-income, import-dependent countries, is such that adaptation to transboundary climate risk becomes a matter of public policy.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has released its annual Goalkeepers Report, which tracks progress on 18 SDG indicators and reflects on trends influencing the Goals. In the introduction to the 2021 Goalkeepers report, titled ‘Innovation and Inequity,’ Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates write that the past year has shown that “progress is possible but not inevitable. The effort we put in matters a great deal.” The report aims to highlight learnings from the successes and failures of the pandemic so far.
A new study conducted by scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), and partner organizations shows that charcoal producers have little or no support to engage in the replanting of trees, which could lead to a lower rate of deforestation in the already tree-scarce areas where most charcoal is produced.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and UN partners have published a compendium of 500 actions to reduce death and diseases driven by environmental risk factors. The publication states that almost 25% of deaths worldwide could be prevented by fully implementing these actions.
The vast forests of the world’s largest tropical island are populated by exotic birds of paradise, kingfishers, parrots, raptors and pigeons – these species representing just a handful of almost 750 that have so far been identified.
Governments, companies and other organizations offered more than 200 commitments at the world’s first food systems summit aimed at addressing unequal access to food in a more sustainable, healthier and equitable way.
The latest ‘Still Only One Earth’ policy brief from IISD looks back at when “the world was struck with fear” in 1985 after scientists discovered a massive hole in the ozone that forms a protective layer over the Earth. The brief reviews the steps taken to heal the ozone layer through two intergovernmental agreements – the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer – and what else must be done. It also highlights lessons for addressing climate change.
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.
In a world emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress successfully highlighted the dual existential crises the planet faces: climate change and biodiversity collapse.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) summit ended in Marseille on Friday, September 10, 7 days after its inauguration. A number of ATIBT members participated, sometimes with a stand. It was above all a return to direct meetings between many people who had only seen each other through screens for many months!
Dubai WoodShow has been the leading trade show for the wood and woodworking machinery sectors since 2005. The show has established its position in the Middle East region as the most dynamic platform for the wood and woodworking professionals.
Deforestation continues at a worrying pace worldwide, except in temperate and boreal countries. It is caused by the race for land, underpinned by population growth and rising global demand for “deforestation-prone” products. Moreover, with climate change, mega-fires are now posing unprecedented threats to forests.
The Marseille Manifesto aims to capture a limited number of key messages that are globally and currently relevant and which relate to the Congress proceedings, including any notable and important commitments and announcements that emerged from Congress events. The focus is on the post-Covid recovery, the biodiversity crisis and climate emergency.
Jointly organized by COMIFAC, the CBFP, GIZ, CAFI and the IUCN, as part of the Congo Basin Special Day at the World Conservation Congress, a second high-level session on the preservation of the Congo Basin’s ecosystems took place on 05/09/2021 at 6:00 p.m. local time at the PAVILLON NATURE BASE SOLUTION, Exhibition HALL 3.
Following four busy and inspirational days of work, the Forum concluded its deliberations. During another bustling day, participants attended thematic sessions and high-level dialogues during the morning. In the afternoon, seven thematic plenaries outlined the main take-home messages from the Forum’s discussions, followed by the official Forum closing plenary.