Remaining ocean champions, not victims -IUCN

Cousin Island Special Reserve was the island famously bought for conservation by BirdLife International in 1968, and it is now managed by Nature Seychelles. I visited the island at the beginning of the year to inspect catastrophic coastal erosion that had occurred, and it was the first time I had seen anything like it since we took over management.

 

Everything was affected. Dozens of hawksbill turtle nests had been washed away, exposed or saturated with water during the nesting season. Infrastructure was also affected: from our photovoltaic array that powers the island, to wardens' houses, the visitor shelter, field station and the helipad. At that time, it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage our ecotourism program due to persistent bad weather. This affects revenue that not only runs the island, but is pumped back into conservation. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are facing a collapse in tourism and conservation efforts at Nature Seychelles. We have to act fast to adapt to these changes.

 

As an island nation, our livelihoods are intricately tied to the ocean. Two of our most important economic pillars - tourism and fisheries - depend on the ocean. Seychelles is famous for its environmental protection. The country recently committed 30% of its waters to marine protection way ahead of global targets. However, we are faced with enormous ocean-related challenges exacerbated by the financial ripple effects of COVID-19. Our Small Island State is bearing the brunt of climate change and all around Seychelles the impacts are being felt in all kinds of ways.

 

In the last 20 years, Nature Seychelles has risen to the task to adapt to the inevitability of changing times with innovative and norm-breaking projects. Our Reef Rescuers project moved a never-ending discussion as well as a long-running research agenda on coral bleaching into real action. This project in the marine protected area of Cousin Island began in 2010 with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and later the Global Environment Facility through the Government of Seychelles and UNDP, after corals in Seychelles suffered massive die-off from the devastating 1998 El Niño event in the Indian Ocean. This resulted in an average loss of 90% live coral cover in 1998 and a further 50% loss in 2016. Our project was a game changer for Seychelles and coastal communities in the region because it provided an opportunity to prove that we can innovate and adapt to climate change.

 

We have cultivated almost 50,000 coral fragments in underwater nurseries and transplanted 24,431 on about 5,500m2 of degraded reefs. This was the first ever large-scale coral reef restoration project using the coral gardening method in the world. There was no blueprint – we adopted techniques used in experimental settings but also pioneered many things in the field. The project acted as an active and dynamic underwater laboratory where research questions on coral reproduction and growth, animal behaviour and reef resilience could be addressed. We trained over 50 scientists and volunteer scientific divers from around the world who are now carrying out their own restoration projects in their countries. A toolkit has been published and widely shared to cascade the methodologies used and experiences collected around the world. It has been well received by coral restoration practitioners. We launched our Centre for Ocean Restoration Awareness and Learning (CORAL) to serve as a national and regional hub for knowledge-sharing on coral reef conservation and restoration, and to attract cutting-edge scientists to carry out further research on corals.

 

We also broke ground on a new project that will allow, for the very first time in Seychelles, local people to become stewards of coastal and marine areas to benefit the environment and secure their livelihoods. Through funding received from the German International Climate Initiative (IKI), and in partnership with IUCN, Nature Seychelles seeks to set up the first Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) in Seychelles. Although present elsewhere in the region, including in Madagascar, Kenya and Tanzania, and globally in larger countries such as Australia, the LMMA model is new to Seychelles. This four-year project will invest in policy-related activities as well as infrastructure, conservation and restoration actions, training and equipment, public awareness programs, and introduction of sustainable funding mechanisms. The LMMA in Seychelles is currently ongoing but delayed due to the impacts of COVID-19. This is a time in our history when it is even more important to focus on local livelihoods and ecosystem services.

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Partners News

African Development Bank President Adesina named a champion of Africa’s Great Green Wall climate-adaptation initiative -AFDB

African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina has been announced as a champion of Africa’s Great Green Wall (GGW) initiative. The appointment was made at a forum held in the margins of the One Planet Summit 2021 to mobilise support for the ambitious project to plant an 8,000 km swathe of trees and other vegetation across the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa.

Adaptation Fund Raises Nearly US$ 116 Million in New Pledges for Adaptation Action in Most Vulnerable Countries - Adaptation-Fund

Washington, D.C. (December 16, 2020) – Recognizing the Adaptation Fund’s tangible and effective adaptation actions on the ground for the most vulnerable and its growing portfolio of work, several contributor governments came forward with new pledges to the Fund totaling nearly US$ 116 million.

IFAD and GCF scale-up action to improve life for millions of people and restore ecosystems in Africa’s Great Green Wall - Green Climate Fund

Millions of poor farmers living in the world’s most climate-impacted parts of the Sahel have cause for hope today because of their governments’ support for accelerating Africa’s Great Green Wall (GGW), an area covering 11 countries from Senegal and Mali in the West to Ethiopia and Djibouti in the East.  A new investment programme is planned to support Sahelian governments through a partnership between the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in order to boost climate finance for these rural populations.

Great Green Wall receives over $14 billion to regreen the Sahel – France, World Bank listed among donors – UNCCD

The ambitious Great Green Wall for the Sahel and Sahara Initiative has received at least 14.326 billion United States Dollars in new funding. The funding will fast track efforts to restore degrading land, save biological diversity as well as create green jobs and build resilience of the Sahelian people. Emmanuel Macron, President of France, made the announcement at the just concluded One Planet Summit for Biodiversity on 11 January 2021, co-organized by France, the United Nations and World Bank.

Canada to support land restoration in developing countries - UNCCD

Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification Ibrahim Thiaw welcomes the announcement that the Government of Canada is set to invest up to 55 million Canadian dollars in the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Fund. The Fund supports private sector projects in developing countries that use sustainable land management techniques to restore degraded ecosystems and adapt to green economies.

A new guide to sustainably manage wildlife in Central African production forests - Atibt

In collaboration with the Forest is life scientific team from the Faculty Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (University of Liège), Nature + published at the end of 2020 a book entitled "Development and implementation of a management plan de la fauna - Technical guide for managers of production forests in Central Africa ”.

Feedback on the Sino-African meeting organized by CTWPDA and ATIBT the 17th and 18th December on Sustainable Timber - ATIBT

The Sino-African Sustainable Timber Online B2B Meeting jointly organized by China Timber & Wood Products Distribution Association (CTWPDA) and the International Tropical Timber Association (ATIBT), was successfully held on 17-18th December.

CBFP Meeting - GIZ Side event: "Experiences of taking into account human rights in the processes of sustainable management of forests and protected areas in the COMIFAC area".

Organized on the sidelines of the 8th Meeting of the CBFP's Governing Council, the Side Event on "Experiences in taking into account human rights in the processes of sustainable management of forests and protected areas in the COMIFAC area" was an appropriate opportunity for the different programs, projects and non-governmental organizations involved in biodiversity conservation activities and protection of indigenous heritage, including REPALEAC, GIZ-BGF, GIZ-COMIFAC and GIZ-COMIFAC-BSB-Yamoussa to share success stories, key challenges and work sites they are facing.

The Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany of the CBFP, Honorable Dr Christian Ruck wishes you the best for the year 2021!

In this festive season at the end of the year 2020, we are pleased to get back to you to express our appreciation, because from our interactions during this year 2020 that is drawing to a close, we have benefited from your diverse and rich contributions and proactive engagements that have enriched and enhanced our joint partnership. Together, we have moved forward and the successful implementation of the CBFP meetings in Kinshasa has confirmed this conviction. This is our joint success! Together, we have moved forward! Together, we have raised the standard of the Congo Basin and its peripheries.

Side event ICCN-GIZ: Community conservation as a solution to the sustainability of conservation and local development actions: Standard-setting tools for PA management, the experience of ICCAs in the DRC

A side event was organized on Thursday 10 December, in room Panorama 3 of the Fleuve Congo Hotel in Kinshasa. Held on the sidelines of the 8th CBFP Council and its related meetings, the side event was entitled 'Community conservation as a possible solution to the sustainability of conservation and local development actions: Standard-setting tools for managing PAs, the experience of ICCAs in the DRC '. Moderated by Ms. Sarah Mam-bu, participants in the event discussed community conservation approaches that can help reconcile biodiversity conservation with local development.

Forestry and Environment Ministers of COMIFAC member countries resume hiring of COMIFAC statutory staff

Convened by the Cameroon Minister of Forests and Wildlife, Acting Chairman of the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC), with the support of the Federal Republic of Germany, Facilitator of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), an extraordinary session of the Council of Forestry and Environment Ministers of the COMIFAC member countries was held on 10 December 2020 in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the wings of the 8th CBFP Council meeting.

The Sahel G5 takes part in the 39th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) - sahel g5

The Executive Secretary of the Sahel G5 took part in the 39th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA), held on 1 December 2020 in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and chaired by Mr. M. Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

Sustainable forest management in the DRC: participatory approaches for resilient development of local communities

A side event entitled “Sustainable forest management in the DRC”, was held on 10 December 2020 within the framework of the 8th CBFP Council and its related meetings, with a view to exploring specific themes with stakeholders active in the field of biodiversity conservation and sustainable forest management.

Community forestry in Cameroon to test other non-logging models – CIFOR

In 1994, Cameroon became the first Congo Basin country to adopt the concept of "community forestry" in its legal framework, allowing rural populations to secure land as a non-permanent forest domain for income-generating activities, based on a simple management plan validated by the administration. In conducting these activities, most of the community forests have opted for timber production, which is often favored by rural populations as the fastest route to significant income.

Blue economy/CCBC-F2BC: Ministers validate final report of the Blue Fund's preliminary study - Afriquenvironnementplus

From 1 to 2 December, the city of Brazzaville hosted an in-person and video conference, the 4th Steering Committee meeting of the Congo Basin Blue Fund’s preliminary study (F2BC) and ministerial segment during which the results of the study and the roadmap for the operation of the Blue Fund were presented for validation by the Environment ministers of the CCBC-F2BC countries.

Second edition of the special CBFP Civil Society College Day: sharing of success stories and looking forward to upcoming climate and biodiversity events

On 8 December 2020, the second edition of the special Civil Society College Day of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) was held at the Pullman Hotel in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Press release and minutes of the second session of the Tripartite Supervision and Arbitration Committee (CTSA) on the Ndjamena Anti-poaching tripartite agreement between Cameroon, CAR and CHAD

At the invitation of Mr. Jules Doret NDONGO, Minister of Forestry and Wildlife of Cameroon, Acting Chairman of the N’Djamena Anti-poaching Tripartite Agreement of (N'Djamena AT6LAB of 2013) between Cameroon, CAR and Chad, the expert meeting in view of the second session of the Tripartite Supervision and Arbitration Committee (CTSA) of the N’Djamena AT-LAB between Cameroon, CAR and Chad took place on 8 December 2020 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

Climate: Civil society organizations from five Congo Basin member countries to speak with one voice at COP 26 - Environews-rdc

Members of civil society organizations in the Congo Basin sub-region met Wednesday 09 December in Kinshasa to discuss relevant strategies and resolutions that will go into their common position during the Conference of the Parties on the Climate next year in Glasgow, England.

Cameroon - MINFOF: First country in the sub-region to make the use of legal origin wood mandatory for its public contracts

ARTICLE 1. - (1) This decree shall lay down the terms and conditions for the use of wood of legal origin in public procurement. (2) It shall apply to public procurement initiated by the State and other legal persons governed by public law.

Fourth ordinary session of the Tri National Supervisory and Arbitration Committee (CTSA) of the Sangha Tri-National (TNS)

The fourth ordinary session of the Tri-national Supervisory and Arbitration Committee (CTSA) was organized on December 9 in Kinshasa, on the sidelines of the 8th Council meeting of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP).  Please download the Final press release of the meeting…

Minutes of High-Level Political Dialogue between members of the CBFP Regional and the members of the Donor College

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo – 10 December 2020: A High-level dialogue was held between the members of the CBFP Regional College (member States, COMIFAC and ECCAS) and the Technical and Financial partners who belong to the CBFP Donor College.

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.

TRANSHUMANCE DAY SIDE-EVENT: Multidisciplinary approach to pacific management of cross-border transhumance aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence

The "Transhumance Day" side event was held on 9 December 2020, in the Kinshasa meeting room of the Congo River hotel. The day was devoted to strategic reflection on the topic of peaceful transhumance and gathered experts from the different geographical blocs established as part of the implementation of the N’DJAMENA Declaration. During the meeting, participants were presented a roadmap and a logical framework, which had been developed during previous working sessions.

Poor governance fuels ‘horrible dynamic’ of deforestation in DRC - Mongabay

There’s a saying in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that refers to “Article 15,” a nonexistent paragraph of the country’s constitution during the Mobutu Sese Seko dictatorship in the 1970s. It stands for “figure it out yourself” and acknowledges the wide spread of corruption, implying that people cannot rely on the state to survive.