CBFP Facilitation and OCFSA hold fruitful discussions
Tuesday, 20 October 2020: The CBFP Facilitator of the Republic of Germany, the Honorable Dr Christian RUCK and the Permanent Secretary of OCFSA, Dr Ibrahim LINJOUOM, met for a working session at the offices of the German Regional Cooperation in Cameroon.
Held in a cordial atmosphere, the talks were centered around:
- OCFSA’s functioning and the negative impact of the coronavirus on the implementation of its activities.
- The German CBFP Facilitation’s endorsement and support for the holding of "a Conference of Ministers of Wildlife of OCFSA member countries " as a SIDE EVENT alongside the 8th CBFP Council scheduled to take place in Kinshasa, DRC.
Touching on OCFSA’s functioning, Dr LINJOUOM highlighted its assets, notably the political will of the Member States, its new statutes and tailored internal regulations, the Headquarters Agreement signed by the OCFSA and the Cameroonian Government, a 3-floor Headquarters Office provided by Cameroon with 3 apartments and a modern meeting room on each floor. These resources allow OCFSA to host several regional Project Management Units (PMUs) or Technical Assistance Offices on behalf of its partners. Collaboration agreements with COMIFAC (for axis 3 and part of axis 1 relating to 'wildlife legislation' of Convergence Plan 2), the Lusaka Agreement (which includes 5 East African States in addition to the Congo in Central Africa) and the agreement being signed with the ECCAS Commission, the Action Group against Money Laundering (GABAC, a specialized institution of CEMAC), the UNDP and regional TRAFFIC and the Sangha Tri-National Foundation (FTNS) and other conservation NGOs active in Central Africa!
A list of Project Concept Notes developed to raise funds from partners was also submitted to the Facilitator to enlist his support in lobbying the German Government and other targeted partners.
They mentioned the negative impact of the coronavirus, which had completely halted awareness-raising efforts aimed at mobilizing contributions from Member States and organizing the next Conference of Ministers scheduled for 2020. The Permanent Secretary thus requested '' the German CBFP Facilitation’s approval and support for the hosting of the Conference of Ministers of Wildlife of OCFSA member countries, as a SIDE EVENT alongside the 8th CBFP Council scheduled to take place in Kinshasa, DRC.
The Facilitator took note of the request while advising the Permanent Secretary to contact Dr Dany POKEM who would be responsible for following up and integrating the request in the agenda of the next CMFI Council Meeting.
Other topics were discussed such as efforts to follow up the classification of TchabalBabo park as a National Park and transboundary cooperation between Cameroon and Nigeria, OCFSA’s role as a regional institution specialized in cooperation in wildlife conservation, protected areas and the transboundary anti-poaching efforts (LAB) outlined in Action Plans for the implementation of the N'Djamena Declaration and, lastly, the diplomatic support of the German CBFP Facilitation in revamping the now-fragmented Sudan’s (modern-day Sudan and South Sudan) membership and the membership of other countries concerned with the N’Djamena Declaration (Nigeria, Niger and DRC) to ease exchanges and cooperation in biodiversity conservation in this vast and vibrant Sahelo-forest area which has witnessed a resurgence of wildlife crime and the illegal trade in protected fauna and flora species.
Finally, the Permanent Secretary underscored the willingness of H.E. Ms. Rosalie MATONDO, Minister of Forest Economy of the Republic of Congo to lobby for OCFSA’s integration within the African Union Commission, to enable 'OCFSA to serve as the Specialized Institution in charge of implementing the "Common African Strategy for the fight against the exploitation and illegal trade in protected fauna and flora species in Africa (a Strategy which was adopted in Brazzaville in April 2015, and later validated by the African Union Heads of State Summit and requires each regional economic bloc to break it down into a Regional Strategy, with the Member States undertaking to subsequently develop national versions.
OCFSA aims to play this role in Central Africa by formalizing its collaboration with the ECCAS Commission. Its advocacy action is expected to translate into a series of mission trips to Nairobi (to meet the Heads of UN Agencies with a direct bearing on OCFSA’s mission), and then to Ethiopia (to meet the Heads and Commissioners of the African Union Commission concerned with the implementation of the aforementioned Common Strategy), as part of the Roadmap of the Acting President of the Conference of OCFSA Ministers which could not hold owing to the Corona virus pandemic.
The 55-minute audience ended with the OCFSA Permanent Secretary conveying his gratitude to the Honorable Facilitator, and pledging to work hand in hand with the entire team of the German Facilitation, in his capacity as the Permanent Secretary of OCFSA, within the framework of the implementation of axis 3 of the COMIFAC Convergence Plan entitled "Wildlife conservation and management of biological diversity", to promote conservation diplomacy by pooling efforts and partnerships aimed at building a robust coalition of actors and stakeholders in Wildlife and Protected Area Conservation!
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