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.
CBFP Facilitation at Work: The Federal Republic of Germany CBFP Facilitation Roadmap is available….
The Facilitation´s overarching objective for 2020 and 2021 is to contribute to the preservation and sustainable use of Central Africa´s incredibly rich forest landscapes. Safeguarding their threatened integrity is crucial for the sustainable development of states and populations in the Basin as well as for the fight against global challenges like a declining biodiversity or a changing climate. In doing so, the Facilitation aims to add value to and build on the important work of the Partnership´s members and preceding Facilitations.
By means of an official ceremony in Douala in December 2019, the Facilitation of Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) was handed over from the Kingdom of Belgium, represented by Minister of State François–Xavier De Donnea, to the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the new CBFP Facilitator Dr. Christian Ruck. Marked by a launch in Berlin on 14 February 2020 under the auspices of Dr. Gerd Müller, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development in the presence of various representatives from COMIFAC member countries, the work of German Facilitation has undoubtedly begun.
The Road Map at hand indicates several key topics which the German Facilitation intends to emphasize together with the whole Partnership. An overall objective of the Facilitation effort in 2020 and 2021 will be to promote and strengthen intensive cooperation for transparent as well as concerted multi-stakeholder leadership. Addressing the ever more pressing threats for Central Africa´s forest ecosystems, their biodiversity, and their populations will require a strong and equal Partnership as well as consistency with the work of preceding Facilitations. Hence, the Facilitation intends to bring together CBFP partners in the Congo Basin and beyond. It proposes to the Partnership to put particular focus on a number of governance subjects and wants to trigger broad discussions on different thematic matters. These key subjects are closely aligned with the strategic areas of the COMIFAC Convergence Plan, the medium-term priorities of the CBFP, the Rio Conventions, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
I. Consolidation of achievements to date: To begin with, the Partnership should stay committed to consolidating its achievements under the preceding Belgian Facilitation on cross-border anti-poaching efforts, security concerns and management of transhumance issues in the region. The Facilitation encourages the Partnership to follow up on the commitments laid out in the N´Djamena declaration and to encourage practical measures on the ground.
II. Governance within the partnership: We remain convinced that the Partnership is of decisive importance for safeguarding the Central African forests, the various ecosystem services they provide and the rich possibilities they harbor for sustainable development within the region. Thus, the Facilitation aims to strengthen CBFP´s governance, broaden its membership network and bolster interactions and cooperation within the Partnership in order to safeguard its relevance and increase its impact. Besides the regular holding of meetings of and between the Colleges, meetings of the Governing Council and as well as the organization of the annual Meeting of Parties of the CBFP, a key objective will be to make greater use of the vast expertise assembled in the Colleges and to proactively tap into this knowledge resource by assigning the Colleges a stronger role in the Partnership´s thematic work.
III. Biodiversity, wildlife & protected area management: Furthermore, the incoming Facilitation urges the Partnership to underline the Congo Basin forests´ relevance in global efforts to conserve biodiversity and will work to identify possibilities for long-term financing of conservation efforts. It intends to promote increased coordination and synergies between policies and various existing conservation instruments. It aims to move CBFP members to seek a way forward for managing transboundary protected areas and to reduce gaps in the conservation – development – security nexus. A prioritized aim is to facilitate a common perspective from the Congo Basin to be brought to the table at this year´s landmark CBD Conference of Parties in Kunming. In order to protect the forests´ rich biodiversity, the Facilitation also wants to accentuate the need for an improved management of protected areas along guiding principles for human rights and participation of local and indigenous groups. Conservation of vulnerable landscapes and wildlife can only succeed if resident populations are participating substantively in management approaches like parks or nature reserves. Resident communities should receive the tangible benefits – economic and beyond – protected areas can provide for them if they are to support conservation efforts.
IV. Forests and climate: Calling attention to the Congo Basin forests´ outstanding role as stock for carbon sequestration in global efforts to curb climate change, the Partnership should stay committed to raising the profile of the region in current and upcoming international climate negotiations which are at a decisive state for future environmental politics. The Facilitation intends to act as neutral intermediary within the Partnership and to work towards a shared position of Congo Basin countries at UNFCCC COPs 26 and 27. It also aims to activate the Partnership´s network in order to identify ways for enabling REDD+ in Central Africa, to discuss additional mechanisms for valuing the forests´ vital ecosystem services and to appropriately consider Central African forests and the ecosystem services they provide in finance flows of international climate politics. A further ambition will be to encourage restoration of degraded landscapes as well as conserving peatlands within the Congo Basin. By revitalizing degraded landscapes, pressure on vulnerable virgin forests might be decreased.
V. Sustainable land use: Being aware of the relevance of the Congo Basin forests and their resources for local livelihoods and regional economies, the Facilitation aims to stimulate a debate on ways to utilize forests, natural resources and lands in Central Africa in a sustainable way. Inducing discussions on how to move towards an integrated land use planning within the region and developing ideas on how to strengthen approaches such as – amongst others – certification, ecotourism, adding value to forest-related products or deforestation-free supply chains are key aspirations for the next two years. The long-term objective is to move towards regulative harmonization and minimum standards within the region for the sustainable optimization of all resource and land use in order to support conservation, biodiversity and sustainable management and – above all – the economic development of the populations of Central Africa.
VI. Dialogue with China: Again with reference to the preceding achievements, the Facilitation aims to deepen the dialogue of the CBFP and its members with partners from China. A focus will be to link actors from the private sector with the political level in order to render cooperation and investment beneficial and sustainable in the long term.
The Facilitation wants to affirm that the upcoming two years 2020 – 2021 represent a crucial window of opportunity for protecting the rainforests in the Congo Basin and for enabling them to continue providing ecosystem services which are vital on local, regional and global levels. With a CBD COP 15 as a milestone biodiversity conference, UNFCCC COPs 26 and 27 as turning points for global climate politics and the EU - China Summit as a key moment in taking stock of China´s growing engagement in the Congo Basin, it is essential for the Partnership to speak with a common voice. The Facilitation firmly believes that a coordinated and harmonized stance will benefit the Partnership as well as the Congo Basin and its forests in impinging on these crucial negotiations. To this end, it aims to make use of the moment in creating synergies with Germany´s current simultaneous presidency of the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI).
In close alignment with the Convergence Plan of the COMIFAC, the German Facilitation proposes the Road Map outlined above to its partners from Central Africa and beyond. It invites the members of the Partnership to come together and to move forward in the protection and sustainable management of the rainforests of the Congo Basin as well as the sustainable development of its Population. It stays open for suggestions and ideas from its partners and welcomes new initiatives and ideas from all sides.
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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.
To benefit people, biodiversity and the climate, EU development programmes must heed local voices – Fern
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...
Forest Watch The latest forest news April 2021: Discarding a decade of effort developing FLEGT licenses or ignoring key land rights in EC proposals to fight deforestation won't keep forests standing
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.
The German CBFP Facilitation and COMIFAC are preparing for the 2021 Climate and Biodiversity Conferences of the Parties
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 price of deforestation and degradation is enormous, said Robert Nasi, director general of CIFOR and managing director of CIFOR-ICRAF, speaking at the Global Forest Summit.
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.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) and its partners have signed implementation agreements for two new climate finance projects only hours after they were approved by the GCF Board.
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).
Not Too Late to Undo Forest Damage, Secretary-General Says, in Message for International Day, while Warning ‘We Risk a Point of No Return - UN
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.
February saw the 13th session of our Advisory Board meeting, held in Brazzaville, where our workplan and budget for 2021 were finalised and approved. This year will see a whole host of developments from the park - from new construction, including schools, markets and clean-water pumps, to new projects, such as the Makao community pharmacy, due to be launched in March 2021. We here at the park look forward to getting stuck into these challenges.
28 Green Climate Fund Board meeting approves 15 new projects, USD 1.2 billion for climate action: The Congo Basin named among the beneficiaries which include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic
The following projects are relevant to the Congo Basin: (1)USD 29 million for PREFOREST CONGO - Project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forests in five departments in the Republic of Congo with the FAO (FP159) – (2) USD 280 million for Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI) Facility with World Bank in Botswana, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Uzbekistan (FP163) – (3) - USD 82.8 million for The Africa Integrated Climate Risk Management Programme: Building resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change impacts in 7 Sahelian Countries of the Great Green Wall (GGW) with IFAD in Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal (FP162).
large numbers of elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas, as well as numerous other species and habitats. The area covers some 178,000 square kilometres, 97 percent of which is forest, making it a large and productive carbon sink. Illegal logging, large-scale mining, poaching, and forest conversion for commodity crops has made the area vulnerable and is threatening its ecosystem. A comprehensive effort is underway to combat wildlife crime, designate protected areas and institute sustainable forest management. The World Bank Carbon Fund has earmarked $280 million in climate finance to reduce forest emissions in the area.
The African Adaptation Initiative and GCA consolidated their partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to support African leadership to accelerate climate change adaptation across the continent.
RFUK supports civil society call for the immediate cancellation of three million hectares of illegal logging concessions in DRC
RFUK, Greenpeace and Congolese civil society groups are calling on the DRC Government to revoke three million hectares of illegal logging concessions or risk wrecking its image on the international climate stage.