Brazil's civil society has proved a bulwark against President Bolsonaro's efforts to subvert the country’s democracy. As Brazil heads to the polls, Adriana Ramos outlines the social and environmental challenges ahead. Jair Bolsonaro’s reign as Brazil’s President has seen the greatest reversal of social and environmental protections in our nation’s history.
FLEGT saved in extremis – FERN
The European Union was about to get rid of its main tool in the fight against illegal logging. However, civil society organizations from all over the world have protested to change the situation.
Few months ago, the European Union (EU) seemed determined to abandon what constitutes its most innovative and ambitious initiative in the fight against illegal logging on a global scale.
In early 2021, the European Commission carried out a quality assessment of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation, a text that aims to improve the management of tropical forests and put an end to trade illegal timber. Achieving the objectives of this regulation could be decisive, because timber trafficking represents between 50 and 100 billion dollars a year and has devastating consequences on the environment and the daily life of a large part of the 1.6 billion people dependent on forests.
This quality assessment led to the idea that the ambitions of the FLEGT regulation should be revised downwards, in the same way as those of the voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs) that the EU has concluded with a large number of producer countries of wood in order to regulate trade.
In addition, the European Commission has considered abandoning FLEGT licenses, which certify the legality of timber harvesting, processing and exporting activities and allow exporters access to the EU market on favourable terms.
These projects have caused the consternation of many NGOs working around the world for the protection of forests and the rights of communities who depend on them. More than 40 of them signed a statement expressing their concerns about these proposals and the considerable regression they would represent in the fight against illegal logging.
These concerns were also shared by politicians from different timber-producing countries, such as Rosalie Matondo, the Minister of Forest Economy of the Republic of Congo, which concluded a VPA with the EU in 2010. Ms Matondo underlined that the EU would be taking a unilateral decision on a trade agreement that had been the subject of a real consultation and declared: "The VPA which binds us to the EU is a bipartite agreement: any decision which taken within this framework must be the subject of consultation and mutual consent. »
A biased analysis
On November 17, 2021, the European Commission made a landmark announcement by unveiling a proposal for a regulation on deforestation-free products, also taking the opportunity to distance itself from plans to abandon some essential elements of the FLEGT program.
This change of direction may be the result of the strong opposition of NGOs to the initial intentions of the European Commission, of internal political manoeuvres or of pressure from different sources, but it is good news which reflects the conclusions of the independent evaluation of the FLEGT Action Plan published by the European Commission in 2016 and study carried out in 2020 by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). These two publications show that VPAs have made a significant contribution to sustainable forest management and conservation as well as to improved governance, law enforcement and stakeholder compliance.
But in light of these important conclusions, why did you think of abandoning these elements?
Time has revealed a flaw in the quality assessment consultation process, which did not sufficiently sound out the views of governments and civil society in VPA countries. The background documentation was incomplete (ignoring several authoritative studies as well as that of CIFOR). The methodology used had weaknesses in several respects and led in particular to an over-representation of the views of the EU compared to those of other countries. The process also overlooked key aspects of the benefits and opportunities offered by the FLEGT Action Plan and VPAs and their effectiveness in reducing illegal logging.
The FLEGT regulation associated with the regulation on deforestation-free products
To tackle the problem of deforestation at the root, the improvement of forest governance is essential. In this respect, the FLEGT regulation, whose main objective is to improve governance, is an essential "teammate" for the new regulation, the latter focusing on deforestation and forest degradation resulting from the production of goods. More specifically, the VPAs concluded between the EU and third countries constitute a starting point for strengthening collaboration.
The now published Briefing Document outlines TRAFFIC’s views and advice on many of these priority issues and all the 52 proposals to amend the CITES Appendices on the agenda for CITES CoP19. The agenda of the 19th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP19) will be unfolding in Panama City on 14-25 November 2022.
Introducing marine species information boards in Kenya and Tanzania: getting locals on board with artisanal fishing regulations – Traffic
In response to concerns over unsustainable and illegal catch and trade in East African nearshore fisheries, TRAFFIC has launched information boards to raise awareness of prohibited species among fishers and traders and aid compliance officers in identifying threatened marine species. The information boards, an output of the ReTTA1 project through support from WWF Kenya, have been placed at strategic landing sites in Kenya and Tanzania. They include a wide range of taxa, including turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks, molluscs, corals, and other marine species, all of which are protected by national law. In addition, trade in a number of the species is restricted internationally by CITES.
COMIFAC, ECCAS and its partners gathered within the CBFP hereby launch a call for proposals to host side events lasting no more than 90 minutes under the « COMIFAC-ECCAS Initiatives Pavilion », at the COP27 venue from 6 to 18 November 2022. The following guidelines are offered, however there is no set format for proposals. Applications should be submitted before 10 October 2022.
MoP19-CBFP-UK: His Excellency Rt Hon Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park's speech at CBFP MOP 19 in Libreville
…As we give the COP26 pledge a permanent home at the CBFP... And having committed to investing nearly a third of UK International Climate Finance – which we recently doubled – into nature, at least half of that in forests...we’re forging ahead with the work that our £200m commitment to the Congo Basin pledge will support…through the brilliant Forests, Governance, Markets, and Climate Programme, our newly established transboundary Biodiverse Landscapes Fund, and a new bilateral programme that we’re designing ahead of COP27…alongside our £32m contribution to CAFI. We know CAFI needs to change – and we’re committed to that as well.... Find out more...
On 14 September 2022, the European Parliament voted on proposals to amend the EU‘s Renewable Energy Directive (RED). Changing problematic incentives for burning forest biomass was the most contentious issue in an otherwise fairly consensual file, as most MEPs agree that overall renewable energy ambitions should be considerably increased.
An area of Europe equivalent to one-fifth of Belgium has burned so far this year, the greatest surface at this point in the calendar year since records began in 2006. As this and the other realities of the climate crisis made their presence felt, Professor Sten B. Nilsson wrote an opinion piece for Euractiv outlining how to prevent Europe’s forest fires.
At the start of the new academic year, the United Nations Regional Information Centre in Bonn together with UNCCD, hosted a group of graduate students from Côte d’Ivoire, Germany and Kenya to discuss the Convention’s work on combating drought and desertification and the role of science in supporting good land stewardship. Two dozen students who visited UN Bonn are a part of the programme launched by the German Center for Development Research (ZEF) in 2021, together with the Universities of Cologne, Abidjan and Nairobi as part of the new DAAD Global Environment and Climate Center Initiative.
Droughtland campaign featured in the margins of the General Assembly discussions on new ways to promote SDGs - UNCCD
On the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the UNCCD took part in a high-level event at the opening night of Goals House held at the iconic Tavern on the Green in Central Park on 18 September 2022.
New York, September 19, 2022 – The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD in partnership with Afreximbank, co-launched the AUDA-NEPAD Energize Africa initiative on the margins of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York. The Energize Africa initiative recognises that Africa’s youth and women – making up more than half of the continent’s populations - must be at the core of Africa’s economic growth and inclusive development strategies.
Press Release: Climate Finance to Address Global Challenges on Climate Change, Land Degradation and Biodiversity Loss - NEPAD
New York, September 20, 2022 – Climate financing will play an important role in unlocking Africa’s potential to combat climate change. It is estimated that Africa requires about 2.5 trillion dollars of climate finance between 2020 and 2030 averaging about 250 billion dollars each year. However, the total annual climate finance flows in Africa for 2020 were only 30 billion dollars, which is just about 12 percent of the amount needed.
Global Leadership Council unveiled to scale up clean, reliable energy and stop global warming - AFDB
22-Sep-2022 - The battle to stop global warming from rising above the catastrophic 1.5 degree Celsius received a boost on Wednesday as the newly launched Global Leadership Council got down to business during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
As the world faces multiple crises dominated by new conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, economic shocks, and growing inequalities, development has been halted or even reversed across several domains, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO).
The African Union (AU) Youth for Peace Africa Programme, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU) have launched a serious game known as “Mission55 Conflict in Anaka”, to commemorate the International Day of Peace (Peace Day) 2022. The game, which the AU and GIZ developed, aims to raise awareness, educate and inform the public, particularly youth, on the mandate of the AU to promote good governance, peace and security in Africa.
African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in eastern and southern Africa have been prompted to support and promote the implementation of the African Union’s Free Movement Protocol (FMP) and the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA). The call to action to CSOs was made during the opening of the second Regional CSO Sensitization Forum on the Continental Free Movement Protocol organized by the AU Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC) with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
September 15, 2022 (NAIROBI, Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) today launched the IGAD Regional Trade Policy 2022-2026 in Nairobi. Representatives of IGAD Member States from Ministry of Trade and Heads of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representatives of partners such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) attended the one-day event.
New biodiversity commitments announced as world leaders declare nature summit COP15 a priority - GEF
New commitments aimed at catalyzing biodiversity finance and conservation were unveiled today at a high-level event convened on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to showcase action and support for a nature-positive world. New initiatives announced include €0.87 billion of new funding from the German government; a 10 point plan for financing biodiversity, endorsed by 16 initial countries; and the next phase of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC for Nature and People 2.0)...
Nancy Karigithu is Kenya’s Ambassador and Special Envoy for Shipping and the Blue Economy. In an interview, she explained how the maritime sector can reduce pollution, rein in carbon emissions, and combat wildlife trafficking on a global scale.
Patricia Zurita is CEO of BirdLife International, a leading conservation organization that works with 115 national partner organizations and 13 million members to protect birds and their habitats worldwide. In an interview marking BirdLife’s 100th anniversary, she shared her vision for how the world can create a healthy environment for healthy societies in the coming century.
Media Release: Governments Meet on Science and Evidence to Address Global Biodiversity Crisis - ipbes
Bonn, Germany – Representatives of almost 140 Governments will begin a week-long meeting on Sunday in Bonn, Germany to advance the science and evidence necessary to address the global biodiversity crisis. The ninth session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (#IPBES9) will be the first in-person meeting, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, of the global body tasked with presenting decision-makers with the best-available science and expertise, to inform policy and action on nature.
Hindou, a Mbororo Indigenous pastoralist woman, is the founder of the Association of Indigenous Peul Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT), a community-based organization focused on promoting the rights of girls and women in the Mbororo community and inspiring leadership and advocacy in environmental protection. She is an influential climate leader in Africa, advocating for the importance of traditional knowledge for building resilience of Indigenous and forest communities to cope with the climate crisis.
Enforcement officers new to the fight against wildlife crime have put a suite of TRAFFIC resources and newly developed materials to the test in a series of trainings in Southeast Asia. The face-to-face trainings with newly designed materials have been critical in bringing up-to-date information and tools to frontliners in some of the region’s major wildlife trade hotspots. However, staff turnover, regulatory changes, and evolving trends in wildlife crime mean there is a constant need for training.” Renee Yee, TRAFFIC’s Training and Capacity Building Officer in Southeast Asia
UN Women and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) issued a report, which presents evidence on gender equality across all 17 SDGs. Emphasizing the pivotal role of gender equality in driving progress on the entire 2030 Agenda, the report warns that global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, violent conflict, and climate change have exacerbated gender disparities.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) regional offices for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) published the results of a regional assessment of progress towards SDG 4 (quality education). The report highlights the urgent need for more investment and social participation to enable a systemic transformation of education.
On the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, 9 August 2022, we reflect on the important role of indigenous women in the preservation and the transmission of traditional knowledge.
COP 15 PRESIDENCY: latest news from Huang Runqiu, President of the COP 15 and Minister of Ecology and Environment of China – CBD
On September 12, Huang Runqiu, President of the Fifteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) and Minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, had a video meeting with Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. The two sides had in-depth exchanges on the second part of COP 15 and key issues related to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) .
From 19 September to 20 November 2022, learn to develop a step-by-step ecosystem restoration plan and apply effective restoration solutions in your national and sub-national context. Now is the time to restore our damaged ecosystems. Join a FREE MOOC on Ecosystem Restoration on the Learning for Nature platform.
We, the representatives of Central African civil society who participated in-person and virtually in the 19th Meeting of Parties of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), which was organized by the Federal Republic of Germany and took place from 5 to 8 July, 2022, in Libreville, Republic of Gabon, came together on 6 July 2022, as part of a strategic workshop of civil society organizations working to ensure effective management of natural resources in Congo Basin countries…
Berlin, 12th September 2022, the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR), has officially joined the 124 members of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). INBAR has submitted its application and consented to the CBFP members’ cooperation framework to promote sustainable management of forest ecosystems in Central Africa.
CBFP RDP 19: Main conclusions of Streams of the 19th Meeting of the Parties of the CBFP: Strong messages and recommendations...
Please download the recommendations, conclusions, messages coming out of the deliberations of Streams 1a, 1b, 2 and 3, Technical Segment of the MOP 19 of the CBFP of Libreville towards sustainable development for Central Africa’s countries, people, forests and biodiversity...These conclusions also serve as a roadmap for the partners to implement the "Declaration of commitment of COMIFAC Member States to the forests of Central Africa and call for equitable financing" and the “Joint Declaration of the Congo Basin donors of COP26”…
MoP 19 - CIFOR - USFS: Peatlands, mangroves, and other wetlands: climate responses in the Congo Basin
Please kindly consult the main conclusions of the two side events organised by CIFOR and USFS in the margins of CBFP MOP 19 on: Slot 1: Current scientific activities on peatlands (and other wetlands) in the Congo Basin and Slot 2: Early responses to protect and manage peatlands in the Congo Basin.
A new member of the great CBFP family: Welcome to the Republic of Korea (ROK) represented by the Korean Forest Service (KFS)!
Berlin, 12th August 2022, the Republic of Korea (ROK), represented by the Korea Forest Service (KFS), has officially joined the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). ROK has submitted their application and consented to the CBFP members’ cooperation framework in promoting sustainable management of forest ecosystems in Central Africa.
The UN Global Compact published its China strategy seeking “to unlock the potential of business and other stakeholders to maximize their impact on the SDGs and contribute to sustainable development in China and the rest of the world.” The document recognizes China’s local priorities while striving to align itself with the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles and global ambition.
Participants at the 2022 World Water Week, which convened against the backdrop of the flooding in Pakistan, the food crisis in Africa, and the drying rivers of Europe, highlighted the need for investments and political will to implement available water solutions.
The latest Human Development Report, published by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), warns that due to the impacts of the multiple crises, mounting layers of uncertainty, and increasing polarization, human development has dropped to its 2016 levels, “reversing much of the progress” towards the SDGs. Yet, it argues, there is “promise and opportunity in uncertainty” to “reimagine our futures, to renew and adapt our institutions and to craft new stories about who we are and what we value.”