The JRS Biodiversity Foundation is pleased to announce Matthew Cassetta as its new Executive Director. Cassetta brings over two decades of diverse experience in international diplomacy and project management, much of it focused in Africa on capacity-building and development partnerships.
New TRAFFIC Study encourages DRC to develop a robust ivory stockpile management system - TRAFFIC
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Yaoundé, Cameroon, 5th June 2020—gaps in institutional and regulatory frameworks, conflicting and unclear roles and responsibilities of concerned state institutions, weak levels of co-operation and collaboration and low capacity are major factors undermining the effective and secure management of government held ivory stockpiles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) finds a new TRAFFIC report.
The study—Les Stocks d’Ivoire d’Elephant de la République Démocratique du Congo: Quel Système de Gestion Mettre en Place? (Stockpiles of elephant ivory in DRC: what management measures to put in place?)—was compiled following revelations that over a 26-year period from 1990 through 2015, a minimum of 7,686 kg of ivory went missing from government custody in DRC.
Central Africa has been identified as one of the main sources of illegal ivory fuelling unregulated domestic ivory trade throughout West and Central Africa and overseas destinations, especially Asia, in recent years. One of the known sources of illegal ivory is leakage from government held stockpiles.
The new study included an in-depth review of relevant documents including Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Decisions, national policies and legal frameworks and included formal and informal interviews with major stakeholders, including government officials and NGOs in DRC.
DRC’s international commitments to CITES included the development and implementation of a national ivory action plan (NIAP), which, since 2015 has been aimed at contributing to the protection and sustainable management of elephants in the country in general, and specifically to counter poaching and the illegal ivory trade.
A NIAP requires Parties to control and secure their ivory stocks and report back to CITES periodically. However, the new TRAFFIC report reveals major gaps in the national ivory stockpile management system of DRC. TRAFFIC therefore proposes the following needs to be addressed.
Weak Political and Institutional Frameworks
A decree establishing the status of the public body responsible for the management of protected areas of national interest (Article 36 of Law n ° 14/003 of February 11, 2014 relating to nature conservation) is needed to clarify the responsible structure for the management of ivory stocks. The decree would also outline collaborations with other institutions, including the Central Bank, with regard to the management of ivory stocks and those of other specimens.
Co-operation and Collaboration
Different agencies directly or indirectly carry out law enforcement actions resulting in the seizure of ivory. There is a clear need to establish an inter-ministerial working group encompassing relevant Ministries/Institutions/Services (Environment, Justice, Finance, Interior, Defense, Mining, ICCN - Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature, Customs etc.) to propose—with participation of civil society representatives—the foundations of a national ivory stock management system.
Lack of Capacity of Major Players
Those charged with ivory stockpile management in the DRC lack the necessary capacity and basic equipment to carry out this activity. This should cover specifications as in CITES Decision 10.10 (Rev. CoP17) on marking, weighing, recording, storing, securing etc. but also inputting data or managing other software in capturing and storing information. In fact, CITES Decision 17.171 charges the CITES Secretariat with developing practical guidance for the management of ivory stockpiles, including their disposal, based on an analysis of best practices and in accordance with provisions in Resolutions Conf. 17.8 on Disposal of illegally traded and confiscated specimens of CITES-listed species and Conf. 10.10 (Rev. CoP17) on Trade in elephant specimens.
“A guidance document is imperative to help curb the illegal ivory trade based on stock losses, and should serve to ensure better record keeping, more transparency in stockpile management, regular auditing of the inventory and communication of the results”, said Sone Nkoke of TRAFFIC, a co-author of this new study.
Les Stocks d’Ivoire d’Elephant de la République Démocratique du Congo: Quel Système de Gestion Mettre en Place?, 2020 - was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Wildlife Trafficking, Response, Assessment and Priority Setting (Wildlife TRAPS) Project, and by WWF Cameroon under the Wildlife Crime Initiative (WCI) Hub for Central Africa (CA) Project.
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Wildlife: during the month of March, the UICN publicly announced two decisions concerning forest elephants. The first one was declaring the forest elephant (Loxodonta Cyclotis) an altogether different species, as until recently it was merely considered a subspecies. The second decision was declaring this species critically endangered.
To benefit people, biodiversity and the climate, EU development programmes must heed local voices – Fern
The EU is the world’s largest aid donor and a major political actor with a strong influence over global policies. The EU recognises civil society as an essential actor in policy making and implementation, specifically in the development sector.
To read: The German CBFP Facilitation and COMIFAC are preparing for the 2021 Climate and Biodiversity Conferences of the Parties; Report on landmark deforestation events in 2019; The 2021-2025 Operational Plan of COMIFAC Convergence Plan validated...
March 2021 Highlights: Rescued 1 Black-bellied pangolin; Released 1 Black-bellied pangolin back into the wild; Released 19 African grey parrots into the wild; Finished maintenance of Gorilla group 1 night den; Completed phase 1 of the Gorilla re-enrichment project…
Read: Position of European Partners on SIGIF 2 in Cameroon; Only few days left to register for the webinars "The Role of Forest Certification in the EUTR"; ATIBT technical data sheet : quality of plantation species for timber use; "Choosing tropical woods to fight climate change" says Timber Trade Federation...
Forest Watch The latest forest news April 2021: Discarding a decade of effort developing FLEGT licenses or ignoring key land rights in EC proposals to fight deforestation won't keep forests standing
Read: FLEGT ‘Fitness Check’: Abandoning FLEGT licenses would harm forest governance and the legal timber trade; EU Law on deforestation: Key land rights risk being ignored in DG Environment’s proposal; Could the palm oil arrangement between Indonesia and Switzerland offer lessons for EU and Indonesia free trade agreement negotiations?
The co-facilitators for the negotiated outcome of the 2021 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development have issued an outline for consideration. The proposed structure includes sections on: the impact of COVID-19 on the 2030 Agenda; progress towards the SDGs under review in 2021; and accelerated actions to achieve the SDGs.
The International Renewable Energy (IRENA) has published a preview of its publication, ‘World Energy Transitions Outlook.’ The report reviews technology choices, investment needs, and socio-economic contexts necessary to set the world on a trajectory towards a sustainable, resilient and inclusive energy future.
The German CBFP Facilitation and COMIFAC are preparing for the 2021 Climate and Biodiversity Conferences of the Parties
From 9 to 13 March the COMIFAC Working Group meetings of the Central African Climate and Biodiversity Negotiators took place in Douala, Cameroon. These two meetings were held at the same time and place, with financial support provided by the German cooperation.
This publication adds to ongoing work by the World Bank Group on how to better design and incorporate fiscal policy within the climate and sustainable development policy mix. The publication shows how various fiscal reforms can positively influence forest conservation while freeing up resources that can be used for national development.
Environmental issues affect us all. As is it, the planet is moving towards a global warming of 3°C by 2100. This is not the future we want. Forests, our first carbon sink within submerged land, are however in critical danger, with the possible savannahisation of the Amazon and tropical forests that could eventually turn into proper CO2 emitters. Faced with these projections, that involve unimaginable socio-economic consequences, our absolute priority can be summed up in a single word: reduction. Reducing our carbon footprint. Reducing deforestation. Reducing the degradation of forests. Reducing them increasingly and continuously.
The world is facing unprecedented economic and environmental challenges. While climate change increasingly poses risks to macroeconomic and fiscal stability, deforestation and forest degradation impair the ability of forests to act as carbon sinks and reduce the resiliency of local communities to climate damages. The loss and decay of forests also threaten global biodiversity, the provision of ecosystem services, and other core ecological functions that economies worldwide rely on.
Fern’s report Beyond commitments: How can Nationally Determined Contributions contribute to forest governance and resilient local communities? looks at progress, challenges, and opportunities in six African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Liberia, and Republic of the Congo.
The undeniable connection between nature, human health, and economic well-being has become more evident than ever during this time of crisis. Resilience is in our nature: IUCN and its Members are working to ensure a nature-based recovery that can deliver sustainable solutions, providing a foundation for a healthier relationship between humanity and the planet.
As indicated on the Fordaq website, Hans Fahrni, CEO of FACO Construction, is pleased with the effects of the log export ban on the timber industry in Gabon, where the majority of the forest area is FSC-certified (the government's goal is to certify all of them within 4 years).
The ATIBT and the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) have recently held several online meetings to clarify their common issues for the development of a responsible tropical timber sector. These meetings have been preceded in recent years by annual meetings.
REN21’s Renewables in Cities Global Status Report (REC) series provides an overview of the status, trends and developments of renewable energy in cities, using the most up-to-date information and data available. The REC’s neutral, fact-based approach documents in detail the annual developments in policies, markets, investments and citizen action, with a particular focus on renewables in public, residential and commercial buildings as well as public and private urban transport. This report aims to inform decision makers and to create an active exchange of views and information around urban renewable energy.
The price of deforestation and degradation is enormous, said Robert Nasi, director general of CIFOR and managing director of CIFOR-ICRAF, speaking at the Global Forest Summit.
The crisis provoked by the coronavirus pandemic offers a chance to shift from a fossil-fuel based economy to a nature-based circular bioeconomy, said Britain’s heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles on Friday.
The UK and Norway launched an initiative on sustainable finance that will serve as a platform for British and Norwegian financial institutions to share knowledge and best practices focused on actionable climate solutions in the financial sector and explore the regulatory frameworks and investment decisions that would be necessary to achieve a zero-emissions economy.
The post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) took center stage at the informal meeting in preparation for the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3), convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
UN-Water convened a three-day event to discuss accelerating progress towards water and sanitation for all by 2030, and a report that indicates ambitions for 2030 remain off-track. Participants were briefed on the SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework, upcoming high-level events on water, and the preparatory process for the 2023 UN conference for the midterm review of the Water Action Decade.
The pandemic has tragically claimed millions of lives and placed countries in complete economic and social lockdown, with the threat of a global recession looming. But the pandemic is not just an immediate human health crisis; it also poses a long-term socio-economic ramifications for people who depend on natural resources such as timber, fisheries and wildlife.
This Sunday, 21 March, is the United Nations International Day of Forests (IDF), intended to celebrate and raise global awareness of the importance of forests. The theme is "Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being", a cause that Fern championed in our recent report looking at how rights-based forest restoration can empower communities, recover biodiversity, and tackle the climate crisis. It also explained that forest restoration must never be used to greenwash other sectors' lack of action towards climate objectives.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) and its partners have signed implementation agreements for two new climate finance projects only hours after they were approved by the GCF Board.
Elon Musk tweeted earlier this year that he would be "donating $100 million towards a prize for best carbon capture technology”. Out of 600 thousand likes and retweets, twenty thousand corresponded to a brilliant solution: “A tree”. The Tesla boss responded that trees were, indeed, part of the solution, but that we may require something that is “ultra-large-scale industrial in 10 to 20 years”. The sense of acting ‘urgently’ and at ‘scale’ are clearly central to the concepts of innovations announced in his offer.
19. February 2020 | In the past, Germany has been among the more ambitious providers of financial assistance to developing countries’ efforts to adapt to a changing climate and cut or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.
The findings and recommendations in this Toolkit were identified based on a meta-review of program evaluations and scholarly research in French and English, supplemented by a series of key informant interviews with program implementers. The Toolkit was validated through review by an Advisory Council of external civil society practitioners and researchers as well as practitioners from Search for Common Ground’s field offices across the Sudano-Sahel (Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, South Sudan, Sudan).
Not Too Late to Undo Forest Damage, Secretary-General Says, in Message for International Day, while Warning ‘We Risk a Point of No Return - UN
Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Forests, observed on 21 March: Humanity’s well-being is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. Forests play a crucial role.
February saw the 13th session of our Advisory Board meeting, held in Brazzaville, where our workplan and budget for 2021 were finalised and approved. This year will see a whole host of developments from the park - from new construction, including schools, markets and clean-water pumps, to new projects, such as the Makao community pharmacy, due to be launched in March 2021. We here at the park look forward to getting stuck into these challenges.
28 Green Climate Fund Board meeting approves 15 new projects, USD 1.2 billion for climate action: The Congo Basin named among the beneficiaries which include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic
The following projects are relevant to the Congo Basin: (1)USD 29 million for PREFOREST CONGO - Project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forests in five departments in the Republic of Congo with the FAO (FP159) – (2) USD 280 million for Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI) Facility with World Bank in Botswana, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Uzbekistan (FP163) – (3) - USD 82.8 million for The Africa Integrated Climate Risk Management Programme: Building resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change impacts in 7 Sahelian Countries of the Great Green Wall (GGW) with IFAD in Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal (FP162).
large numbers of elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas, as well as numerous other species and habitats. The area covers some 178,000 square kilometres, 97 percent of which is forest, making it a large and productive carbon sink. Illegal logging, large-scale mining, poaching, and forest conversion for commodity crops has made the area vulnerable and is threatening its ecosystem. A comprehensive effort is underway to combat wildlife crime, designate protected areas and institute sustainable forest management. The World Bank Carbon Fund has earmarked $280 million in climate finance to reduce forest emissions in the area.
The African Adaptation Initiative and GCA consolidated their partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to support African leadership to accelerate climate change adaptation across the continent.
RFUK supports civil society call for the immediate cancellation of three million hectares of illegal logging concessions in DRC
RFUK, Greenpeace and Congolese civil society groups are calling on the DRC Government to revoke three million hectares of illegal logging concessions or risk wrecking its image on the international climate stage.