Building a road to recovery for subtle racism in conservation (commentary) – Mongabay
In almost equal measure, discussions and actions around racism in 2020 have been extremely painful, and extremely hopeful. The following scenarios came from a wider discussion around race and privilege that began in February at the Pathways 2020 Human Dimensions Conference held in Nairobi.
The group involved in the discussion that’s continued since the conference includes CEOs and leaders of organizations, conservation biologists, ecologists, conservation practitioners, researchers and community conservation managers.
Promisingly, in a few short months, people who historically haven’t been staunch allies have spoken up about issues surrounding race and put their support behind the global movement against racism. While we may comprise a vista of Black bodies, the African continent has been the scene of vile racist subjugation for hundreds of years. Most would believe that at least on our own soil in the 21st century it would show up less and less.
It is not yet so, at least for the conservation world.
The conservation sphere in Africa has its foundation in the fortress model of conservation by exclusion, separating African people from nature as a rule. While it has evolved, much of the ideology behind it has remained. In many parts of Africa, conservation is still elitist, centered on non-African “heroes,” and run in nongovernment organization (NGO) styles that offer limited leadership opportunities to people from within the countries.
While this article centers on race, we recognize that issues of diversity and inclusion go much further, especially on a continent with 2,000 languages and an abundance of cultural contexts. And although the article is a rallying cry to look inward, we do recognize that there are some external forces at play. Donors to conservation work, who are often from the Global North, play a vital role, but the obvious power skew can muzzle conservationists who often jump through hoops to get funded, rather than prompt difficult discussions about some attitudes and mindsets that need to be addressed.
For a just conservation space in Africa, care should be taken to consider varying African cultures and systems put in place to ensure results are met, and people should feel cared for, seen, and respected in the spirit of equality. Ultimately, however, there should be a recognition, not just to create equality in organizations, but to ensure that the destination is to have African conservation have African leadership, and specifically leadership from those living closest to the resource — those whose cultures, history, land and all that lives upon it are inextricably linked.
Much has been written about the fundamental need for change, but not enough has been done to describe everyday situations in the workplace that lay bare microaggressions. Less has been written to help organizations and people recognize themselves in the illustrations, and provide a road to recovery.
The following examples are centered on Africans suffering microaggressions in the workplace which they take as a given. For us, this is a shared experience between people working in very diverse contexts. The schema is a compilation of stories — sometimes comical, sometimes tragic — based on very real events across the conservation world in Africa.
Each scenario is prefaced with a call to action, and closes with questions that we believe those working in the conservation field should consider, from those who contributed.
The Multi-stakeholder Dialogue of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) between representatives of donor countries, civil society, the private sector, INGOs and multilaterals in dialogue with representatives of Central African countries will take place on Friday 8 December 2023, 14:00-15:30 at the COMIFAC Initiatives Pavilion, Blue Zone. Theme of the event:“The Central African Forests, vital global biodiversity and carbon reserves: a major challenge for domestic and international mobilisation”.
On day one of UN climate talks in Dubai, negotiators rubber-stamped plans to get the fund up and running. The arrangements had been hashed out by a transitional committee over five fraught meetings in the past year. The Cop28 president Sultan Al Jaber hailed the decision as “historic”, with a broad smile, after watching delegates burst into a round of applause.
As a main operating entity under the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), GCF takes guidance from the Conference of Parties (COP) on its policies, programming priorities, and eligibility criteria. The GCF delegation will be observing the official negotiations, and hosting and taking part in various events.
UN Climate Change News, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 29 November 2023 – The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 will open tomorrow with a resounding call to accelerate collective climate action. The conference takes place in what is already known to be the hottest year ever recorded in human history and as the impacts of the climate crisis wreak unprecedented havoc on human life and livelihoods around the world.
On Saturday 28 October 2023, partners of the CBFP attending the Summit of the Three World Tropical Basins of Amazonia, Congo and Borneo-Mekong in the Republic of Congo met at the Kintele Conference Centre in Brazzaville. The meeting provided an opportunity for the partners present at the summit to discuss the implementation of the CBFP Roadmap for the next two years and to prepare for forthcoming international and regional events, with a view to strengthening synergies between the partners and building coalitions in a spirit of partnership in order to create an active dynamic between the partners and colleges of the CBFP.
The Three Basins Summit took place in Brazzaville from 26 to 28 October 2023. At least ten Heads of State from the continent (Congo, DRCongo, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Sao Tome and Principe) attended the event. In a press briefing held on his arrival at Melchior Ndadaye International Airport on Sunday 30 October, the President of the Republic of Burundi, His Excellency Evariste Ndayishimiye, stated that in his report presented in his capacity as Chairman of the Central African Forests Commission, COMIFAC, 208 public areas covering 800 hectares were protected and 800 million forests had been preserved. However, he stressed the need for industrialised countries to join Africa in the fight against atmospheric pollution.
Brazzaville, 30 October 2023. The official launch of the activities of the France - Gabon Co-Facilitation of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) took place on Thursday 26 October 2023 in Room 6 of the Kintele Conference Centre in Congo Brazzaville. Please download the roadmap of the Co-Facilitation..
Bangui, Central African Republic, 06 November 2023 - The Executive Secretary, Hervé MAIDOU, and the Administrative and Financial Director, François DAYANG, took part in the funeral of the late Idriss AMIT, Minister of Water, Forests, Hunting and Fishing, who died on 3 November 2023 in Douala, Cameroon.
To read: West African producers - generally dull international demand; Slump in Malaysia’s exports; Indonesian industry ready to intensify presence in Asian markets; Peeler logs now more readily available in Northern India; Incentives for Peruvian companies obtaining voluntary forest certification; Japanese importers confused over new government requirement; Action required now by tropical wood suppliers to meet EUDR requirements; US wooden furniture imports at lowest since March..
We are pleased to inform you about the launch of the call for nominations for the Migrants4Climate Award (M4C), an initiative of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) in partnership with the GFMD France 2022-2023 Chair and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
On Friday 27 October 2023, the High-Level Dialogue between the Forest Ministers of the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) and the private sector of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) took place in Brazzaville on the sidelines of the Summit of the Three Global Tropical Basins of Amazonia, Congo and Borneo-Mekong.
The fifty-ninth session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC), the governing body of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), opened in Pattaya, Thailand, with a call from the host country for ITTO to continue promoting legal trade in tropical timber and encouraging the use of wood derived from sustainable forest management (SFM). To fulfil their mandate, ITTC member countries took some crucial decisions to navigate the challenging financial and organizational conditions that have buffeted their organization in recent years.
The opening session highlighted the role of crop diversity for food security, environmental sustainability, and resilience of food systems, including for future generations. The need to ensure close collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity was one of the key messages of the day.
The French delegation will be present during the two weeks of COP28 in Dubai (United Arab Emirates). As well as taking part in the climate negotiations, it will be running a France Pavilion throughout the international event, from 30 November to 12 December 2023. The Pavilion will provide a forum for meetings and discussions on key climate issues, and will offer a wide range of events, including themed sessions, presentations of public policies and press events.
Improved management and conservation could, by 2030, increase the value of DRC's forest-based ecosystem services by US$1.76 billion/year8 over the BAU scenario, and by US$3.8 billion/year by 2050. A comparison of net present values of costs and benefits shows that for every $1 invested today in landscape and forest restoration, DRC stands to gain $15 in benefits by 2050…
David began his career in journalism in his homeland of Cameroon as a writer for The Post Newspaper, before transitioning to broadcasting. He then worked for Radio Reine, Radio Environment, and the Cameroon Radio Television Corporation, while freelancing for Reuters and RFI.
In 2023, Mongabay is officially expanding its coverage of environmental and conservation news in Africa by launching a news bureau dedicated to producing our renowned and award-winning brand of journalism in both French and English. The new bureau, Mongabay Africa, will create original reporting on issues relevant to the conservation of Africa’s wildlife and their habitats, development pressures and the activities of natural resource industries, and the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and communities across the continent.
The Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) concluded its thirty-seventh meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia with major outcomes for climate action. During the three-day meeting, the Board approved 15 proposals totaling USD 736.4 million to fund new climate projects in developing countries. A total of USD 3.6 billion when co-financing is included.
The 14th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security (ADFNS) Commemoration and the 19thComprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Partnership Platform convened from October 30th to November 2nd, 2023, in Lusaka, Zambia. The event was structured under the theme, “Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement in the Context of CAADP Commitments for Safer and Healthier Diets.” This vital assembly sought to explore the strategic synergy between implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and fostering healthier, safer diets through the prism of CAADP commitments.
The Canada–African Development Bank Climate Fund (CACF), established to support gender-affirmative climate change projects in Africa, has approved $36.3 million to two private sector operations to advance climate adaptation in the African continent.
African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN), a platform for high-level political engagement to advance nutrition in Africa, has joined two crucial forums for advancing policy dialogue on agriculture and nutrition in Africa. ALN representatives attended the commemoration the 14th Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security (ADFNS) and 19th Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Partnership Platform (PP).
The Congo Basin, the world’s second-largest forest has distinct meteorological characteristics, and its ecosystem is controlled by complex interactions between many climatic phenomena that act across scales (Fig. 1). While it receives little attention compared to the Amazon Basin, due to its location, the Congo rainforest also contributes to processes responsible for interhemispheric climatic communications in Africa. At the larger scale, the basin regulates the global tropical circulation by serving as one of the world’s most convectively active regions. Therefore, the Basin offers a unique natural laboratory for climate science explorations and the implications for people and ecosystems. But, why has this green heart of Africa been neglected and what should we do about it?.
Durban ( South Africa), October 31 to November 01, 2023– How can we breathe new life and energy into the Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Region? The issue was at the heart of the Regional Retreat on the review of the impact of the Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation on the Democratic Republic of Congo and the region, and recommendations for revitalization efforts, held in Durban, South Africa, from October 31 to 01.November 1, 2023.
To elevate women from the micro to macro status, the African Union Strategy for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) outlines the pathways to achieve the holistic empowerment of women. The GEWE strategy complements other policy frameworks by the African Union aimed at promoting the rights of women and girls and advocates for adequately resourced gender structures within formal and non-formal institutions and bodies to ensure that women at the grassroot and executive levels, have opportunities that to allow them to reach their full potential.
Government policymakers, mining sector leaders, and civil society will convene to focus on the many issues connected to “Sharing Mining Benefits in the Energy Transition. Setting the tone during the opening of the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF), Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Interim Co-President and Co-CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), noted that critical minerals are the backbone of the clean energy transition. She urged mining countries seeking to tap the booming demand for these minerals to take “immediate and bold action” to ensure they expand their share of benefits while doing so in an equitable and environmentally and socially responsible manner.
7 November 2023 Compliance issues were in the spotlight throughout the day, escalating into a vote: two votes were held in the afternoon to help the Standing Committee reach a decision on recommendations related to compliance in the EU and the UK.
The second Summit of the world's three tropical forest basins was held from October 26 to 28, 2023 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. It brought together leaders from the Amazon, the Congo and the Borneo-Mekong-Southeast Asia region to form a global coalition. Its aim was to implement, within the framework of the United Nations Decade for Ecosystem Restoration, the first global coalition for the restoration of 350 million hectares of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) – Malabo Implementation Guidelines for National Level Design and Implementation of Bankable Agriculture and Food Systems Programmes, is a groundbreaking roadmap to revolutionise food systems across the African continent. Recognising the paramount importance of food systems in achieving human well-being, as highlighted in the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030, these guidelines provide a comprehensive roadmap for a resilient, sustainable, and inclusive food future.
October 27, 2023 (ENTEBBE, Uganda): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) yesterday wrapped-up its Blue Economy Project’s 2nd Steering Committee Meeting in Entebbe with field visits to Mahati Marine Transport Base and Kasenyi fishing landing site.
BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo (Oct. 28, 2023) – The Executive Secretariat of the Central African Forest Commission (or Commission des Forêts d'Afrique Centrale - COMIFAC) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of Target 3 of Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
ATIBT is speeding up the process of revitalizing the UNIBOIS trade union to get its members more involved in the VPA FLEGT process. As part of the implementation of the Support of the Private Sector in the Republic of Congo (ASP Congo) project, and in particular the " UNIBOIS Support for change" activity, ATIBT organized a meeting on Tuesday April 24 October 2023 at the Mikael Hotel in Brazzaville, to take stock of the project's mid-term activities and assess the state of implementation of the roadmap defined and validated at the start of the project by both parties.
In a significant move towards enhanced partnerships and coordination, the United States has officially announced its intent to join the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) as an Executive Board member. The announcement was made during a side event of the Three Basins Summit attended by Prime Minister Anatole Collinet Makosso and Minister of the Environment of Congo-Brazzaville Arlette Soudan-Nonault. The Summit was held in Brazzaville from October 26-28, 2023,
CAFI is launching a call for Expressions of Interest today to all relevant implementing organisations interested in investing in private sector companies in our partner countries (the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, the Gabonese Republic, the Republic of Cameroon, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and the Central African Republic) to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the following sectors...
COMIFAC, the GIZ Regional Support Project for COMIFAC, the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) France – Gabon Facilitation, the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), the EU Funded Support Project to the Central African Forests Observatory (RIOFAC and The Sangha Tri-National Trust Fund (FTNS)hereby launch a call for proposals to host side events lasting no more than 60 minutes under the « COMIFAC – Central Africa Initiatives », at the COP28 venue from 30th November to 12th December 2023. Applications should be submitted before 31 October 2023.
In a declaration issued at the end of the Summit of the world's three great basins of the Amazon, the Congo and Borneo-Mekong on Saturday 28 October 2023 in Brazzaville, the Heads of State and Government undertook, among other things, to: to strengthen cooperation between the three basins, which are home to 80% of the world's tropical forests and two-thirds of terrestrial biodiversity; to recognise the unity of enhanced cooperation between the three basins; to recognise the sovereign management of biodiversity, forests and associated resources by the countries that make up the three basins; to pool and capitalise on the knowledge, experience, resources and achievements existing in each of the basins; and to introduce a sustainable system of remuneration for the ecosystem services provided by the three basins".