China introduces new law to safeguard forests and improve governance – Client Earth
On 1 July, China’s newly amended forest law came into effect, marking the first revision of the law in over twenty years.
The law comes with a number of significant improvements, aiming to better protect China’s forest resources, promote sustainable development and contribute to the national policy of building an ecological civilisation.
Key changes to the law
The amended forest law has several new components.
For one, it clarifies forest ownership in China and defines the legitimate rights and interests of the owners, which are the state, the collective (groups) and individuals. As part of this, it allows rights for use of the forests, trees and woodlands to be transferred, leased and valued as investment capital.
It also emphasises forest protection. By categorising forests as for either public benefit or commercial use, it allows for the adoption of different management measures. Further to this, it strictly controls logging of natural forests in the country and limits the annual harvest volume with permits and specific regulations.
More importantly, the amended forest law includes a ban on buying, transporting, and/or processing illegally sourced timber, and requires processing companies to establish a data record of raw materials and products (Article 65).
Establishing a ledger management system by law to record input and output of raw materials and timber products can be an effective way to identify timber sources. This system should also be applicable for timber imported into China, and has significant impact on traceability. A further step should be explored along the timber supply chain, especially on due diligence obligations.
While the law stipulates that “no operator or individual may knowingly purchase, process, or transport timber of illegal sources,” it has clear ambiguity and thus leaves a loophole if an operator claims lack of knowledge. Strong enforcement is therefore very important, and an implementable due diligence system is urgently needed.
Towards better timber governance
While the scope of the forest law is within China’s territory, the potential implications of Article 65 could be substantial and far-reaching if implemented effectively. China is the top timber importer and consumer in the world, but many countries that supply the Chinese market with timber and forest products are at high risk of illegal timber harvesting and broader forest conversion due to poor governance.
As a result, export‐oriented enterprises in China are facing pressure from international markets where more and more countries have legislation in place requiring imports of only legally‐harvested timber. Chinese timber companies themselves are increasingly vocal about the support they need to ensure their products meet the requirements of international buyers who need to comply with timber regulations.
Alongside the new law, if China takes practical and effective measures to ensure that only legally sourced timber and timber products enter the country, it can greatly contribute to legal timber trade worldwide. In taking decisive action to combat illegal logging and to protect global natural resources, China would also be supporting climate change mitigation and the preservation of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.
It is yet to be seen how the amended law will be implemented, as more detailed judicial interpretations and additional measures for some of the articles are expected in the coming months. Nonetheless, the new law is a positive step towards safeguarding forests and improving forest governance – with implications for not only China but also worldwide.
African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina has been announced as a champion of Africa’s Great Green Wall (GGW) initiative. The appointment was made at a forum held in the margins of the One Planet Summit 2021 to mobilise support for the ambitious project to plant an 8,000 km swathe of trees and other vegetation across the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa.
Washington, D.C. (December 16, 2020) – Recognizing the Adaptation Fund’s tangible and effective adaptation actions on the ground for the most vulnerable and its growing portfolio of work, several contributor governments came forward with new pledges to the Fund totaling nearly US$ 116 million.
The Adaptation Fund received new pledges from several contributor governments totaling nearly USD 116 million. The pledges coincided with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement and Climate Ambition Summit 2020….
Millions of poor farmers living in the world’s most climate-impacted parts of the Sahel have cause for hope today because of their governments’ support for accelerating Africa’s Great Green Wall (GGW), an area covering 11 countries from Senegal and Mali in the West to Ethiopia and Djibouti in the East. A new investment programme is planned to support Sahelian governments through a partnership between the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in order to boost climate finance for these rural populations.
The ambitious Great Green Wall for the Sahel and Sahara Initiative has received at least 14.326 billion United States Dollars in new funding. The funding will fast track efforts to restore degrading land, save biological diversity as well as create green jobs and build resilience of the Sahelian people. Emmanuel Macron, President of France, made the announcement at the just concluded One Planet Summit for Biodiversity on 11 January 2021, co-organized by France, the United Nations and World Bank.
The negative image of the Sahel is a stranglehold on the great potential for development in the region. A more balanced narrative can trigger action for a productive Sahel and can be based on innovative approaches and a conducive policy environment to value natural resources.
On 21 December, 2020. the UN General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted a resolution on the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), forwarded for consideration by its Second Committee (Economic and Financial) at the conclusion of its session in December.
Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification Ibrahim Thiaw welcomes the announcement that the Government of Canada is set to invest up to 55 million Canadian dollars in the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Fund. The Fund supports private sector projects in developing countries that use sustainable land management techniques to restore degraded ecosystems and adapt to green economies.
This publication outlines the GEF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provides a snapshot of progress toward operational goals, and in support of enhanced fiduciary oversight and safeguards of environmental projects.
GEF-convened civil society consultations focused on the need to prioritize voices of indigenous peoples and to integrate traditional knowledge into efforts to conserve biodiversity, address climate change, and combat other threats.
In collaboration with the Forest is life scientific team from the Faculty Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (University of Liège), Nature + published at the end of 2020 a book entitled "Development and implementation of a management plan de la fauna - Technical guide for managers of production forests in Central Africa ”.
Since the landmark Paris Agreement of 2015, there has been a dramatic increase in private sector interest and action related to climate change. In just five years, hundreds of companies have set targets to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and have outlined science-informed plans to achieve them.
The Sino-African Sustainable Timber Online B2B Meeting jointly organized by China Timber & Wood Products Distribution Association (CTWPDA) and the International Tropical Timber Association (ATIBT), was successfully held on 17-18th December.
Organized on the sidelines of the 8th Meeting of the CBFP's Governing Council, the Side Event on "Experiences in taking into account human rights in the processes of sustainable management of forests and protected areas in the COMIFAC area" was an appropriate opportunity for the different programs, projects and non-governmental organizations involved in biodiversity conservation activities and protection of indigenous heritage, including REPALEAC, GIZ-BGF, GIZ-COMIFAC and GIZ-COMIFAC-BSB-Yamoussa to share success stories, key challenges and work sites they are facing.
Here, we describe how the crisis creates a perfect storm of reduced funding, restrictions on the operations of conservation agencies, and elevated human threats to nature. We identify the immediate steps necessary to address these challenges and support ongoing conservation efforts.
In this festive season at the end of the year 2020, we are pleased to get back to you to express our appreciation, because from our interactions during this year 2020 that is drawing to a close, we have benefited from your diverse and rich contributions and proactive engagements that have enriched and enhanced our joint partnership. Together, we have moved forward and the successful implementation of the CBFP meetings in Kinshasa has confirmed this conviction. This is our joint success! Together, we have moved forward! Together, we have raised the standard of the Congo Basin and its peripheries.
Renewed clashes between herders and farmers have reportedly left 11 dead in southern Chad. Eleven people were killed in fresh clashes between herders and farmers in southern Chad, which is gripped by deadly conflicts between the two communities.
A side event was organized on Thursday 10 December, in room Panorama 3 of the Fleuve Congo Hotel in Kinshasa. Held on the sidelines of the 8th CBFP Council and its related meetings, the side event was entitled 'Community conservation as a possible solution to the sustainability of conservation and local development actions: Standard-setting tools for managing PAs, the experience of ICCAs in the DRC '. Moderated by Ms. Sarah Mam-bu, participants in the event discussed community conservation approaches that can help reconcile biodiversity conservation with local development.
For the third time this year, over 80 people - donors, partner countries, agencies and technical experts – met online from November 9 to 13 for CAFI’s 17th Board meeting. Assessing progress and charting a path towards a new phase for CAFI phas...
Convened by the Cameroon Minister of Forests and Wildlife, Acting Chairman of the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC), with the support of the Federal Republic of Germany, Facilitator of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), an extraordinary session of the Council of Forestry and Environment Ministers of the COMIFAC member countries was held on 10 December 2020 in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the wings of the 8th CBFP Council meeting.
The Executive Secretary of the Sahel G5 took part in the 39th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA), held on 1 December 2020 in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and chaired by Mr. M. Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chairman of the Council of Ministers.
A side event entitled “Sustainable forest management in the DRC”, was held on 10 December 2020 within the framework of the 8th CBFP Council and its related meetings, with a view to exploring specific themes with stakeholders active in the field of biodiversity conservation and sustainable forest management.
In 1994, Cameroon became the first Congo Basin country to adopt the concept of "community forestry" in its legal framework, allowing rural populations to secure land as a non-permanent forest domain for income-generating activities, based on a simple management plan validated by the administration. In conducting these activities, most of the community forests have opted for timber production, which is often favored by rural populations as the fastest route to significant income.
From 1 to 2 December, the city of Brazzaville hosted an in-person and video conference, the 4th Steering Committee meeting of the Congo Basin Blue Fund’s preliminary study (F2BC) and ministerial segment during which the results of the study and the roadmap for the operation of the Blue Fund were presented for validation by the Environment ministers of the CCBC-F2BC countries.
On 8 December 2020, the second edition of the special Civil Society College Day of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) was held at the Pullman Hotel in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
At the invitation of Mr. Jules Doret NDONGO, Minister of Forestry and Wildlife of Cameroon, Acting Chairman of the N’Djamena Anti-poaching Tripartite Agreement of (N'Djamena AT6LAB of 2013) between Cameroon, CAR and Chad, the expert meeting in view of the second session of the Tripartite Supervision and Arbitration Committee (CTSA) of the N’Djamena AT-LAB between Cameroon, CAR and Chad took place on 8 December 2020 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Members of civil society organizations in the Congo Basin sub-region met Wednesday 09 December in Kinshasa to discuss relevant strategies and resolutions that will go into their common position during the Conference of the Parties on the Climate next year in Glasgow, England.
ARTICLE 1. - (1) This decree shall lay down the terms and conditions for the use of wood of legal origin in public procurement. (2) It shall apply to public procurement initiated by the State and other legal persons governed by public law.
The fourth ordinary session of the Tri-national Supervisory and Arbitration Committee (CTSA) was organized on December 9 in Kinshasa, on the sidelines of the 8th Council meeting of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). Please download the Final press release of the meeting…
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo – 10 December 2020: A High-level dialogue was held between the members of the CBFP Regional College (member States, COMIFAC and ECCAS) and the Technical and Financial partners who belong to the CBFP Donor College.
Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) - 11 December 2020 – the CBFP Council held its eighth meeting. The gathering was chaired by the Honourable Dr Christian Ruck, CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, co-chaired by His Excellency Mr. Jules Doret Ndongo, Cameroon Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Acting Chairman of COMIFAC and hosted by: His Excellency Barrister Claude NYAMUGABO BAZIBUHE, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The "Transhumance Day" side event was held on 9 December 2020, in the Kinshasa meeting room of the Congo River hotel. The day was devoted to strategic reflection on the topic of peaceful transhumance and gathered experts from the different geographical blocs established as part of the implementation of the N’DJAMENA Declaration. During the meeting, participants were presented a roadmap and a logical framework, which had been developed during previous working sessions.
There’s a saying in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that refers to “Article 15,” a nonexistent paragraph of the country’s constitution during the Mobutu Sese Seko dictatorship in the 1970s. It stands for “figure it out yourself” and acknowledges the wide spread of corruption, implying that people cannot rely on the state to survive.