Rwanda is set to host the regional headquarters of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) following a presidential order signed by President Paul Kagame and issued in the national gazette. Founded in 1895, Wildlife Conservation Society is an NGO with headquarters in New York with the aim to conserve the world's largest wildlife and wild places in 14 priority regions home to more than 50 percent of the world's biodiversity.
Statement on the situation of wildlife in the Congo Basin (and in Cameroon in particular) - Resolving Conservation Conflicts in West/Central African Protected Areas
This is a summary of the discussions held during the 2019 October workshop, “Resolving Conservation Conflicts in West/Central African Protected Areas” in Yaoundé, Cameroon
Wildlife populations are collapsing inside and outside protected areas throughout Western Equatorial Africa. In Cameroon, there has been a significant decline in large mammal populations in savannah and forest habitats. Top predators are disappearing even from national parks, which are supposed to receive the highest levels of protection. Some years ago, Cameroon lost its last cheetahs and likely its last African wild dogs.
The future of other large carnivores is hanging in the balance, and Cameroon could soon see the lion go extinct, a symbol of strength and power, and the symbol of sports teams in Cameroon, including the national soccer team. Forest primates, our closest relatives in the animal world, also face a looming risk, with over 50% of primate species threatened with extinction. Populations of Cross River gorillas, drills and Preuss’s red colobus monkeys, some of Africa’s most endangered primate species that are found primarily in Cameroon, have declined significantly over the last decade. African forest elephants have undergone dramatic declines of up to 90%, and some populations are locally extinct. These declines are not limited to large mammals but have also been reported for several bird species.
We are a group of scientists, including faculty members from respected universities in Cameroon and abroad, representatives of protected areas management units, law enforcement organisations, and international organisations. In October 2019, we met in Yaoundé to assess the current status of conservation in the country and discuss innovative, sustainable, and community-based ways forward to solve what we consider to be a conservation crisis. Based on our combined experience, which encompasses both the social and the ecological sciences, and the data presented at this workshop and in the literature, it is clear that, in many ways, conservation in Cameroon is failing. But many opportunities exist for a more positive future.
Some of the threats to nature and wildlife in Cameroon include poaching of protected species and unsustainable hunting, illegal wildlife trade, and the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of habitat. Increased bushmeat hunting to meet rampant demands of a growing urban population has become unsustainable and is currently a major force driving the decline of a large number of species, most notably arboreal primates and duiker antelopes. The illegal trade of wildlife as pets or for body parts (including ivory and pangolin scales) also directly threaten populations. Mining, dam construction, unsustainable logging, and the expansion of large-scale agriculture such as oil palm plantations are reducing the extent of wildlife habitat, converting them into isolated fragments. All these different threats act synergistically, aggravating wildlife population declines and disrupting the free ecological services that these natural areas provide to millions of people.
These threats are affecting the local people as well as all the areas where we work in Cameroon. From our research, experience, and observations, it is difficult to believe that there is currently even a single area of forest, including protected areas, that is untouched by poaching with cable snares or guns, or other forms of habitat degradation. This does not only imperil ecological integrity but is also a threat to the wellbeing of Cameroonians through the disruption and loss of environmental services. Conservation is not a luxury. Wildlife and nature play an essential role in the livelihoods, cultures, and religions of the Cameroonian people living in rural areas. The current conservation crisis could lead to a food security crisis among vulnerable communities, including indigenous people. Local cultures and religions have formed complex relations with nature and wildlife. Thus, the loss of the Cameroonian natural heritage would in turn severely affect its rich cultural heritage. The country is also losing an important potential source of foreign income through ecotourism.
We conclude that the current crisis will not be solved unless there is political will and investment at multiple levels: legal, financial, educational, and social. We call for an increased commitment to developing a national legal framework based on scientific evidence, revising outdated laws, and speeding up legal processes for reviewing laws and legal procedures for conservation, and to change the current paradigm of conservation as a whole. For example, protected species catalogues must be updated to be in line with current scientific evidence. Science must also inform the design of conservation projects, decisions, and actions. We propose that the social, economic, and ecological outputs and impacts of conservation initiatives must be rigorously monitored and evaluated by an external body, and standardised monitoring and evaluation protocols must be developed and implemented within an adaptive management cycle. Such monitoring and scientific evidence could help using the limited resources available for conservation more wisely, but we also need strong prioritisation of the available resources to prevent critically endangered species from extinction.
Equally important will be to professionalise, diversify, and support protected area management. Protected areas are one of the cornerstones for conservation but currently suffer from inadequate infrastructure and equipment, unmotivated personnel and poor management, as well as a general lack of support from surrounding human populations who have been previously excluded from conservation processes. For this, all protected areas must have ratified management plans that are achievable. Local communities must be consulted and involved not only in developing such plans but also in their implementation. Currently, most managers find themselves trying to solve problems at the programmatic level, rather than focusing on small level changes suggested by local community members and supported by interested organisations. Management plans can be developed considering the site-specific characteristics rather than trying to follow globally implemented models. Consequently, novel methods and approaches to management must be explored and tested out. Management can become adaptive by including regular and independent monitoring to inform and adjust management actions.
This will not only help improve the success of protected area management and resource management but will also ensure its accountability and transparency. It is important to add that protected area management must be led by people with the required technical proficiency paired with government staff. This should also include innovative approaches to protected area management including delegated management models under public-private partnerships. There is already good in-country expertise that can be used. However, we believe that training in conservation science must continue being supported and improved. We call for curricula development of conservation science at the local academic institutions, with the inclusion of field courses and fostering interdisciplinary training for diverse students. Finally, we recommend the establishment of a Wildlife Research Institute to support this and all the above-proposed measures to improve conservation in Cameroon. Such an institution could become a hub of research, education, management and policy-development for conservation and be the seat of an independent body in charge of monitoring conservation initiatives in the country.
We urge the government and other relevant stakeholders to draw attention to this crisis and encourage them to jointly develop and commit to practical solutions that can help the nature and the people of Cameroon.
For more Information, please, download the Document here below:
Researchers consider the benefits of conservation retreat: smaller reserves and focused funding – Anthropocene magazine
Decades of declining herbivore populations in central African national parks have conservation scientists arguing that smaller reserves might be better for wildlife. As conservationists press for a major expansion of protected habitat around the world, scientists with years of experience in central Africa say new evidence calls for just the opposite in the region.
At the beginning of this year, we learn that Ben Gunneberg is leaving his position as CEO after 22 years at PEFC. ATIBT wishes him the best for the future.
ClientEarth launches this month a consultation on women's rights in the forestry sector in Gabon and the Republic of Congo
This mission will focus on the status of women's rights in the forestry sector legislation applicable in Gabon and support to Gabonese and Congolese civil society through capacity strenghting and gender inclusion.
ATIBT has conducted numerous press actions throughout 2021 mainly around Fair&Precious brand. A look back at these advocacy activities for a sustainable trade of tropical timber.
The year 2021 ended with excellent news for the Congo Basin PAFC project: the scheme is now recognized by the PEFC Council!
For decades, Fern and partners have campaigned to strengthen the rights of forest peoples and protect and restore forests. There have been locust years, when things went backwards, and harvest years, when plans come to fruition. Gratifyingly, 2021 was a year in which the forest movement achieved outstanding successes and we enter 2022 energised and ready to defend and build on them.
New paper Paul Scholte et al. : Conservation overstretch and the long term decline of wildlife and tourism in the Central African savannas
When in 2010 the world's governments pledged to increase protected area coverage to 17% of the world's land surface, several Central African countries had already set aside 25% of their northern savannas for conservation. To evaluate the effectiveness of this commitment, we analyzed the results of 68 multispecies surveys conducted in the 7 main savanna national parks in Central Africa (1960-2017).
ITTO appoints Executive Director, sets new priorities to increase economic contribution of tropical forest sector while reducing deforestation and increasing resilience
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN, 20 December 2021: The International Tropical Timber Council appointed Ms Sheam Satkuru as the new Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) at its virtual 57th session concluded in early December 2021 and also endorsed a strategic action plan to set the Organization’s path for the next five years.
The CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck, Goodwill Ambassador of the COMIFAC Declaration, wishes you a happy holiday season 2021 and all the best for 2022
in this holiday season marking the end of 2021, I wish to express my appreciation and gratitude to you. Your rich and various contributions and your proactive and dedicated involvement have enriched and enhanced the efficacy of our joint partnership. Our fruitful and close collaboration was an overwhelming success internationally and most tangibly during the CoP 26 in Glasgow, UK.
At this time of year, we find it instructive to look back at our most read stories for 2021. This look back reminds us how far we have come and helps to set our agenda for the following year.
The International Science Council convened a process to reorient funding for scientific research and institutional arrangements to support needed societal transformations. The resulting report sets out a roadmap for the production of actionable knowledge in five areas that pose the most risk to the Earth as a “safe operating space” within ten or 20 years.
The 2021 HLPF convened in a hybrid format from 6-15 July under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Leading up to the session, 42 governments had conducted VNRs, and they presented on these processes during the Forum. The DESA report notes that these governments recognized the second year of the pandemic as “a crucial time to conduct a VNR, in order to align their efforts towards a resilient recovery.”
For three scientists who have authored a new book titled Adaptive Collaborative Management in Forest Landscapes: Villagers, Bureaucrats and Civil Society (Routledge, 2022), it represents the conjoining of their disparate but likeminded visions and guiding strategic principles for Adaptive Collaborative Management (ACM) in forest landscapes and resource management.
Secure tenure and effective governance are central to the future of natural resources and agriculture. Although important on their own, tenure and governance are also embedded in the solutions to key global challenges: climate change; environmental management; poverty; gender equity and women’s empowerment; and nutrition and health.
Establishing standards for measuring, monitoring and assigning financial value to forest-related greenhouse gas emissions is a challenging process due to the wide range of variables at play, said delegates attending the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
VIENNA, 30 November 2021 – Gerd Müller, Germany’s acting Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, is set to take office as the new Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
A team of researchers led by the University of Sheffield has discovered that rates of deforestation and degradation in tropical forests are lower in Indigenous lands compared to other areas. The findings, published in Nature Sustainability, show that across the tropics, Indigenous lands had a fifth less deforestation on average compared to non-protected areas, and in Africa, Indigenous Lands reduce deforestation more effectively than protected areas.
The Congo Basin: Eight grants totaling $105.05 million were made to create more than 11 million hectares of new protected areas
The Congo Basin. The Congo Basin is home to 70% of Africa’s forests and is one of the most important places for biodiversity and carbon stocks on the planet—yet only 17% of the area is protected today. Each year, large areas are lost to deforestation, while remaining forests are degraded by logging, mining, agriculture, the building of new roads, fuelwood collection, hunting, and other pressures.
With this newsletter we would like to inform you about some of the current activities of FSC on behalf of the FSC Congo Basin team, and furthermore interest you with the actualities relevant to the tropical timber trade and our network partners.
The CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck co-hosts a press conference with the President of COMIFAC on the Congo Basin’s involvement to the COP26 Climate in Glasgow
A press conference was held on Friday 17 December 2021, at 10 a.m. at the Djeuga Palace Hotel to discuss the involvement of COMIFAC countries and partners in COP 26 in Glasgow, UK. This press conference was co-hosted by the CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, His Excellency Dr. Christian Ruck, and the current Chairman of the COMIFAC Council of Ministers, His Excellency Mr. Jules Doret NDONGO, Minister of Forests and Wildlife of Cameroon.
This report provides a technical analysis of pastoral dynamics in the region to support the development of adaptive management approaches. Rooted in genuine engagement, it presents a series of recommendations for regional actors and NGOs involved in pastoralism.
Cameroonian authorities say clashes between ranchers and fishers have left at least ten people dead and scores wounded Monday, forcing hundreds to flee into neighboring Chad. The clashes in Cameroon’s north broke out over water scarcity, a problem that authorities have struggled to address.
This discussion document gathers the views and perspectives of timber-producing country stakeholders on the EU’s policies to protect tropical forests and forest communities. It highlights potential innovations and revisions to the VPA model, and options to ensure its full integration into and contribution towards global action against deforestation.
A lot has happened since we were last in touch. Most importantly, after a year’s delay, COP26 finally took place. Debate continues on whether it was a good COP or a bad COP, but we made sure voices from over 15 countries were heard as they made this demand: stop corruption from diluting climate action. Before finishing up with 2021, let’s take a glance at our activities around the world.
03.12.2021. INTERHOLCO is proud to present Lobi, the spearhead of its first collection made from FSC®* certified Sustainable Hardwood, Made in Africa according to the most demanding socio-environmental criteria. Lobi means 'tomorrow' and 'future' in the broadest sense; the name is derived from Lingala, the most widely used language in Congo Basin countries.
This report reinforces the "Fair Deal" and "Fair Share" for the protection of the Congo Basin Forests which is the largest net positive tropical carbon sink in the world...
...and at the same time to contribute to "Saving" the planet with those 80 billion tons of CO2 Stored and which could come from the emissions of the intense industrial period ... Joint the "Fair Deal" Alliance to protect the Congo Basin rainforest...
« Fair Deal, Fair Share » Congo Basin : The Congo Basin becomes the world’s first tropical carbon sink
Today, despite their comparatively smaller area, the undisturbed forests in Central African of the Congo Basin now absorb more carbon than in the Amazon and Southeast Asia combined, and is thus the most important tropical carbon sink to date.
COP 26 – GIZ-COMIFAC-PFBC: Ministers from Central African countries around Ms. Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Director General of the GIZ Presidium (Vorstand) - German GIZ Cooperation celebrated
COP 26, Glasgow, 8 November 2021, held a High-Level Side Event in the COMIFAC Congo Basin Initiative Pavilion on the theme: "Nature-based solutions as means of conservation and sustainable management of Congo Basin Forest landscapes for climate change mitigation.” This high-level event between ministers of the Congo Basin countries and representatives of development agencies was attended by Ms. Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven, Director General of the GIZ Presidium (Vorstand).
After the removal of the Salonga National Park from the list of World Heritage in Danger last July, another piece of good news has come to mark the life of the park in this year 2021. Indeed, a new partnership agreement on the Salonga National Park concluded between the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation and the WWF will bring the collaboration between the two institutions to the phase of the implementation of an even more effective management framework to better address the specific challenges of the largest park in Africa.
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 - Glasgow: Honorable Dr. Christian successfully drives landmark mobilization – Fair Deal movement bears fruit: US$ 1.5billion to protect Central African forests in the Congo Basin.
For the first time in the history of Conferences of the Parties, Central African countries are securing a financial commitment from donors within the framework of the "Fair Deal" to accelerate the implementation of the COMIFAC Declaration of September 2021. This is a major achievement for COMIFAC, Central African countries, and CBFP partners.
COMIFAC at CoP26: Private Sector – British Timber Federation, China Timber Association and Central African countries call for global governance of the world’s forests for greater equity.
Co-organised by COMIFAC, German Facilitation of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) and Timber Trade Federation of Great Britain (TTF UK), an important session on private sector took place on 6 November 2021, at the COMIFAC Pavilion at CoP26 in Glasgow, UK, on the theme: "Global Forests Need Global Governance".
Landmark International Mobilization for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities: US$ 1,7 Billion available – Central Africa Calls for a “Fair Share” – A Fair Share for its Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities
US$ 1.7 billion international financial commitment aims to promote support to indigenous peoples' and local communities' land rights and forest conservation - Glasgow COP26, November 2021...
COP 26 – High-level visit of H.E. Mr. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo to COMIFAC Congo Basin Initiatives Pavilion
COP 26 - Glasgow-Scotland, 3 November 2021: The CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck and His Excellency Jules Doret Ndongo, current President of COMIFAC welcome to the COMIFAC Congo Basin Initiatives Pavilion, H.E. Mr. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo, President of the Congo Basin Climate Commission.