Sustainable forestry paramount for biodiversity (people and planet) conservation – ATIBT
The 26th meeting of the Committee on Forestry (COFO 26) was, simply put, quite unlike any other: it took place a good two years and a half into a global pandemic, seven months into an ongoing conflict. COFO 26, held in Rome at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations from 3 to 7 October 2022, took place in the middle of a triple crisis, triggered by climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. In his opening speech, FAO Director General Qu Dongyu reminded participants that, overlapping that crisis are food, feed, fuel and fertiliser price increases.
COFO - Crédits FAO
Meant as a platform for exchange and dialogue among participants, COFO is the occasion for FAO Members to provide suggestions for FAO’s work in forestry. Confronted with unprecedented challenges, this COFO meeting was substantially charged with 16 topics on top of the usual agenda items, to make up for time lost owing to COVID-19.
Debate was sometimes difficult. Conflicting interests caused the discussions to last until late, with many, long hours of negotiation, until compromise language was agreed by the main parties involved. On the one hand, this led to the COFO report no longer making reference to agriculture as main cause for deforestation, despite the State of the World’s Forests 2022 stating this explicitly. “Halting deforestation” was also purged from the final report. On the other hand, for the first time agriculture and forestry were being discussed as a joint agenda item, which is an important step to identify and scale-up win-win solutions for food security and nutrition that protect forests and trees. COFO 26 also provided evidence that, globally, trends are improving.
Although the global deforestation rate is not reversed, it has slowed. Women, youth, local communities and Indigenous Peoples are high(er) on the international agenda, after years of neglect. It is no coincidence that Princess Basma Bint Ali of Jordan, FAO’s Goodwill Ambassador for Near East and North Africa, Cécile Ndjebet, Founder of the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests and the winner of the Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award 2022, and Analí Bustos, World Forestry Congress Youth Forest Change-makers winner also spoke at the opening. Financial assistance to implement commitments on forests under the Paris Agreement was less controversial. Results-based payments (under REDD+ and other schemes) were also more welcome, given their acceptability to developed countries and companies looking to meet their own environmental goals or commitments by investing in such schemes.
This High-level event would bring together Ministers and/or Senior Officials in a dialogue and discussion panel on the Fair Deal between Congo Basin (COMIFAC) Countries and the international community for the protection of biodiversity and forests in the Congo Basin. THEME: Fair Deal at Work - Nature conservation areas as an example for linking biodiversity and climate: the protected areas must also be remunerated for their ecological services not only for biodiversity but also for regional and global climate (carbon storage). e.g. Salonga National Park is with 1.5 gigatons doted. With the revenues, local economic development can also be financed.
December 7 - 19, 2022 in Montreal, Canada, governments from around the world will come together to agree on a new set of goals to guide global action through 2030 to halt and reverse nature loss. Nature is critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. Adoption of a bold global biodiversity framework that addresses the key drivers of nature loss is needed to secure our own health and well-being alongside that of the planet.
Nature-based solutions offer the best way to achieve human well-being, tackle climate change and protect our living planet. Yet nature is in crisis, as we are losing species at a rate 1,000 times greater than at any other time in recorded human history, and one million species face extinction.
At the recently concluded 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt, the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) took to the stage to denounce one of the unfulfilled promises of COP26. At the previous summit, donors committed to funding the protection and management of the Congo Basin forests to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars. This commitment is already insufficient. The countries of the sub-region are asking for $100 billion to preserve the forests of the Congo Basin.
There were high expectations for COP27, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP conferences broadly provide a platform for the negotiation of international climate change agreements. This was to be the first COP held in Africa since 2016. It was also framed as the implementation COP, which would lead to action.
It was a late evening in April 2018 when Philbert Ntaciyica, exhausted from the non-stop heavy rain battering his roof, wondered if his farm would survive this latest storm. When the 12-hour downpour finally eased in Nzove, a village perched on a hillside in north-eastern Burundi, Ntaciyica emerged from his home to find no crops or topsoil. All had been washed downhill by the deluge, and along with them, his livelihood.
November 15 marks a historic milestone, as the world’s population reaches eight billion people. This unprecedented growth is the result of improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine. “The milestone is an occasion to celebrate diversity and advancements, while considering humanity’s shared responsibility for the planet,” says United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
In 2022, the Forest Declaration Assessment included a regional pilot in the Congo Basin. Nine civil society organizations participated in this regional assessment, providing expertise, collecting data and contributing to the first regional Forest Declaration Assessment report that will be published in November 2022. This interview series highlights the work of these regional partners.
EarthRanger, an artificial intelligence programme for monitoring wildlife, has been deployed in six more natural parks in Botswana, Mozambique and the Republic of Congo. The project, which will run until March 2026, is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and its partners to the tune of US$7.2 million. It aims to reduce the decline of biodiversity in Africa.
Delegates gathered against an ominous backdrop of multiple crises: energy, cost of living, indebtedness, nature loss, and geopolitical tensions among major powers. But the need to act in the face of the climate crisis has never been clearer. Global average temperature rise is already 1.1°C. People around the world are experiencing the effects of climate change, from heatwaves and droughts to floods and superstorms. Only the wealthiest countries can (so far) cope. As Sherry Rehman, Minister of Climate Change, Pakistan, implored “Vulnerability shouldn’t be a death sentence.”
FLEGT’s achievements must be saved at all costs, says Christian Mounzéo of Rencontre pour la paix et les droits de l’homme (RPDH), Republic of Congo. When the European Commission published its draft Regulation on deforestation-free products last November, the first reaction among Congo’s civil society was surprise. The second was concern.
The EU’s deforestation regulation must strengthen the FLEGT process and producer countries’ own efforts to combat deforestation, says Justin Kamga, Coordinator of Cameroonian NGO Forêts et Développement Rural (Foder).
In September, Fern’s civil society partners from the Congo Basin, West Africa and South East Asia came to Brussels to talk with policymakers about deforestation’s impact - on landscapes as well as people. More specifically, they shared their expertise on how the EU can tackle its responsibility for destroying forests around the world, and to highlight the potential ramifications of its proposed.
UN Climate Change News, 20 November 2022 – The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 closed today with a breakthrough agreement to provide “loss and damage” funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters.
Here we summarize the discussions regarding how Central African countries could achieve the 30 × 30 target by addressing the following four matters. (1) Several financing mechanisms centred on forest carbon sequestration have started. Yet despite awareness of the importance of biodiversity and the fight against climate change, funding remains cruelly short of the required 10-fold scaling up. (2) Public–private partnerships, in which governments delegate the management of protected areas to private partners, have shown increased management efficiency and financing. Please download the Document....
Ministers return to Egypt to lend their political weight to delegates wrestling with key issues. About 200 nations from around the globe continued to chase a deal at the Cop27 summit in Egypt that will help in the struggle to save the planet from climate change. But despite hurdles, small but significant signs surfaced that an agreement at the UN summit remained possible.
Thank you Mr. President to you and your team for all your work. And I also want to thank the secretariat and the Chairs of the subsidiary bodies. It hasn’t been easy. But I want to begin by recognising the progress on loss and damage. This is historic. The decision that we have taken here has the potential to support and increase that support for the most vulnerable.
Exclusive: Funding from rich countries is critical issue at Cop27 and poll shows many think UK has duty to provide it. A significant majority of people in the UK think the country has a responsibility to pay for climate action in poorer and vulnerable countries, an opinion poll shows.
Negotiations moved slowly on several issues, particularly finance. For other issues, texts were forwarded to the COP Presidency or ministers for further consideration. Agreement on a decision on the Santiago Network was met with applause from negotiators. Talks on the Adaptation Fund Board also reached compromise.
While ministers gave high-level speeches that relayed their national priorities, negotiators worked to clear as much of the backlog of pending issues as possible. By the end of the day, numerous issues remained unresolved. Ministers will take up a shortlist of issues to bridge the remaining differences.
Vanuatu’s climate change minister says Pacific support for Australian bid should be conditional. Australia must stop subsidising new fossil fuel developments if it is to win a key Pacific nation’s support for its plan to co-host a major UN climate summit in 2026.
Sharm El-Sheikh, 15 November 2022 – Senior officials from several governments, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) launched a new five-year work programme at COP27 today to promote climate technology solutions in developing countries.
Monday began with a recognition of the significant volume of work ahead. The Subsidiary Bodies forwarded a long list of issues to this second week of talks, adding to the slate of political-level discussions on key issues to be facilitated by ministers and the Presidency later in the week.
UN Climate Change News, 14 November 2022 – Two weeks of transparency events kicked off at COP27 in Egypt last week under the banner “Together4Transparency”. With discussions ranging from the need for reliable greenhouse gas emissions estimates accessible to all to the role that information plays in reducing risks and uncertainties in order to attract financial support for action, the series of events addresses the full range of actors and issues related to transparency.
UN Climate Change News, 14 November 2022 – Important progress on sustainable forest management and conservation has been made at the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh with the launch of the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP), which aims to unite action by governments, businesses and community leaders.
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 11 November 2022 – At launch events held today at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, a major package of support of over USD $150 million for adaptation was launched. The package was announced at a special session on "Advancing Adaptation Action in Africa" co-hosted by H.E. Sameh Shoukry, COP27 President, and United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry.
Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 12 November 2022 – The Adaptation and Agriculture thematic day at COP27 focused on how the world will feed eight billion people. Throughout the day, a series of sessions and initiatives shed light on pathways forward on adaptation and climate resilient agriculture.
The first week of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference concluded with the closing plenaries of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI). Substantive conclusions were adopted on a limited number of issues, mostly related to the consideration of reports by constituted bodies and to reporting. On many issues, only procedural conclusions were adopted which noted that further work is required to finalize the relevant decisions.
With the end of the first week of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference nearing, co-facilitators across many negotiation rooms reminded delegates of the need to conclude consideration of the items set to be forwarded to the closing plenaries of the Subsidiary Bodies (SBs), scheduled for the next day.
Funding urgently needed to cope with climate disasters – and to prevent distrust crashing UN negotiations. Money is likely to be a flashpoint at the UN Cop27 climate summit starting on Sunday in Egypt, where world leaders will attempt to tackle the climate crisis.
World Leaders Launch Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership to accelerate momentum to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 - bringing the total funds committed to $24,5 bn November 7, 2022 at COP27 - 26 countries, including some Central African countries and the European Union – which together account for over 33% of the world’s forests and nearly 60% of the world’s GDP launch the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP).
Heads of State and Government and their entourages took over the conference venue on the second day of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference. With their presence, leaders aimed to signal sustained momentum on climate action. In parallel, intergovernmental negotiations got up to speed. Discussions on some agenda items, such as those related to cooperative approaches under the Paris Agreement (Article 6.2), drew such crowds that they surpassed room capacity. Please download the Document....
At what is being referred to as the "African COP," political, industry, and civil society leaders voiced strong condemnations of shortcomings in adaptation financing for Africa. Against a backdrop of global economic slowdown and political instability, the African continent is making headway in designing initiatives to overcome the worst impact of climate change. Hosted by Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of Botswana, and organized by the United Nations Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment (SPBF), this high-level event called for greater leadership and renewed international cooperation to support African-led adaptation efforts.
Today at COP27 world leaders will launch the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP), committing to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 in the fight against climate change and as promised in the Glasgow Climate Pact.
At COP26 in Glasgow (2021) twelve donors committed to a collective Congo Basin pledge of at least US$1.5 billion of financing between 2021 and 2025. Over the course of 2021, the donors have collectively provided over $508 million towards the Congo Basin Pledge, with just under $311 million disbursed in the region so far. The report provides more detail on the collective spend, including case studies. Please download the 2021 report...