Calling for a « Fair Deal » for the Congo Basin and its vicinity, Berlin, Germany…

Please download :

In French: Déclaration d'engagement des Etats membres de la COMIFAC pourles forêts d'Afrique centrale et appel pour un financement équitable

 

In English: Declaration of commitment by COMIFAC member states to the forests of Central Africa and call for equitable financing and Fair Share

 

Forest Day Aide-Mémoire:

In French

In English

In German

 

Berlin, Germany, 07 September 2021 - Congo Basin Forests Day: Presenting the Statement, Common Position on a "Fair Deal" for the conservation of tropical forests and signing of a Memorandum.

 

Presenting the Statement on a “Fair Deal " for the conservation of tropical forests and signing of a Memorandum.

Under the high patronage of His Excellency the German Federal Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Gerd Müller, a “Congo Basin Forest Day” was held in Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany on 07 September 2021, on the sidelines of the Tropical Forests Symposium.

 

The ceremony took place today with eight ministers from Central African countries from the following countries attending: Burundi, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad. Rwanda was represented at the meeting by the Director General of Forests.

 

During the ceremony, the "Statement of Commitment of the Member States of COMIFAC to the Central African forests and call for equitable financing" was presented and a Memorandum on the Congo Basin Forests Day signed by Germany and COMIFAC.

Minister Müller’s signature stands as a promise on Germany's part to campaign on the international political scene for the Congo Basin’s tropical forests to receive a fair share of climate and biodiversity funds. In return, the Congo Basin signatories agree to take more responsibility for forest protection. The “Fair Deal” encapsulated in the Statement was presented by the Current Chairman of COMIFAC and the Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany to a large audience connected digitally from Germany, the Congo Basin and beyond.

 

A “Fair Deal” for the Congo Basin

Through this Statement, the Central African signatories recognize the services provided by the Congo forests (CO2 storage capacity, genetic heritage, habitat and economic space) as a global public good and declare their shared commitment to preserving its natural resources, notably by:

  • Strengthening the role of Congo forests in global climate debates;
  • Increasing privatization of protected area management;
  • Creating more opportunities for civil society and indigenous peoples to participate in decision-making processes;
  • Establishing a platform of supra-regional exchange to bring transhumance under control (increase in numbers of cattle herds that are devastating the forests);
  • And implementing more reforestation measures where forests have already been wiped out.

 

In return, the African signatories expect more technical, political and financial support from the global community and call for better coordination of international funding mechanisms and policy initiatives, as well as '' adequate and equitable access to climate and biodiversity finance as well as global tropical timber markets and greater promotion of high value-added timber products.

 

A major focus of this COMIFAC Statement document flows along the lines of Minister Müller's call for a "fair deal": An international commitment to the Congo Basin, commensurate with the services it provides to the global society. There is a need to assess how effective existing protection instruments are (e.g.  REDD +).

 

The importance of the Congo Basin

The African Congo Basin is second only to the Amazon as the largest contiguous tropical forest region on the planet. With a unique array of biodiversity, its forests are home to countless animal and plant species. They also provide livelihoods for millions of people in the region and, serve as carbon reservoirs, significantly helping to stabilize the world’s climate. Their importance to the world’s climate cannot be overstated! Compared to the rainforests of South America and Southeast Asia, they remain very much intact – though they have seen a greater increase in deforestation rates in recent years than any other part of the world. The main reason for this upsurge is, among other things, the conversion of forest areas to arable land as well as rising demand for land and firewood from growing populations.

 

The Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) was founded in 2002 to address alarming forest loss and development challenges in the region. Its 121 members include not only the surrounding forest-rich states, but also donors such as Germany, France, USA, Belgium, UK and EU, international (non-governmental) organizations, research institutes and actors from the private sector and civil society. In January 2020, the BMZ took over the rotating presidency of the CBFP and appointed Dr Christian Ruck to its helm.

 

The Statement expresses the willingness of stakeholders to take more joint responsibility for conserving the species-rich tropical forests of the Congo Basin. It was prepared jointly by the members of the CBFP under the German Chair. The large regional and international circle of supporters bolsters the Statement in demanding a "fair deal" at the forthcoming United Nations climate and biodiversity conferences: Improving forest governance in the region in exchange for global recognition of vital ecosystem services provided by Congo's forests – at the political and financial levels.

 

After the BMZ event, the Ministers among the guests were received by parliamentarians during a Congo Basin Day at the German Bundestag and met German non-governmental organizations such as WWF or Nabu, the Ministries of the Environment and Development, representatives of GIZ and KfW, the African Association of German Companies, ATIBT, the sustainable forestry company Interholco or the CAFI donor alliance to exchange views on project approaches and assistance needed in protecting tropical forests.

 

Federal Minister Gerd Müller explains:

“The forests of the Congo Basin are invaluable – not only for people, but also in stabilizing the global climate. Together, we must do everything we can to ensure that the people in the region are able to meet their basic needs and enjoy economic development opportunities, without further destroying the forests. I am very grateful to Dr Christian Ruck for his tremendous commitment to the region. And I commend Mr Doret Ndongo and the Ministers of the Central African region for making the trip to Germany to discuss with German experts, NGOs and politicians, ways of getting German support in protecting tropical forests. "

 

Dr Christian Ruck - Facilitator of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership adds.

"I am delighted with the healthy cooperation and strong joint commitment of the CBFP stakeholders and the fact that we were able to come to an agreement on this joint Declaration. The viewpoints of civil society, national political representatives, the private sector, experts and the global community are quite varied and contradictory because of the different interests involved. Which makes me even prouder that we are able to adopt this joint statement today. This sends out a strong message for the UN negotiations on climate and biodiversity – to ensure that the Congo Basin gets more attention!”

 

Jules Doret Ndongo - Cameroon Minister of Forestry and Wildlife and Chairman of the Central African Forest Commission COMIFAC, concludes.

"Allow me to thank the Federal Republic of Germany of the CBFP, its Federal Minister for Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Dr Christian Ruck, the CBFP Facilitator for recognizing the importance of Congo forests for all of humanity as a carbon sink which is set to become the world’s largest and whose care cannot be left entirely to the States that host and guard it, on top of the challenge of meeting their citizens’ basic needs. Hence the need to underscore that the Congo Basin needs to receive substantial financial support for the services it renders to the whole world in promoting conservation, sustainable management, the fight against climate change and community development.

 

The Declaration that has been signed and presented, akin to a charter of commitments made by COMIFAC member countries,  firstly reiterates the host countries’ awareness of the challenges associated with managing this good, and demonstrates to the International community the Congo Basin States’ willingness to go to extra lengths to protect this good and especially brings to bear on the international community, that the Congo Basin’s countries’ good will alone can no longer suffice to meet the challenges of managing this good. Joining forces and resources remains the best policy to follow in supporting and regenerating this large ecosystem. That’s where the concept of a "Fair deal" came into play. We are introducing the concept to win the international community over to our approach of strengthening the Congo Basin’s role as the lung of the world ... "

 

Please download the Kinshasa Declaration "Long version of the Declaration" below:

In French: Déclaration d'engagement des Etats membres de la COMIFAC pour les forêts d'Afrique centrale et appel pour un financement équitable

In English: Declaration of commitment by COMIFAC member states to the of Central Africa and call for fair financing

 

Please see the photos of the day...

Go back

Partners News

Rising Trend in Investment Arbitrations Threatens to Undermine Critical Climate Measures-IISD

New research from IISD highlights what could be at stake for climate action as negotiators continue discussions on modernizing the Energy Charter Treaty. As one of the world’s most controversial international investment agreements on energy cooperation is put back under scrutiny this week, new research from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) highlights what could be at stake for climate action.

2030 Agenda Statistics Group Takes Stock of Cape Town Plan -IISD

The UN’s High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for Statistics for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (HLG-PCCB) met to review implementation of the Cape Town Global Action Plan for sustainable development data, in light of needs for capacity development and financial resources for national statistical offices (NSOs).

 

Ditching fossil fuel subsidies can trigger unrest. Keeping them will kill the climate-EDITION

London (CNN Business)When protests swept Kazakhstan earlier this month, they were fueled by frustration with the ruling elite and entrenched inequality. But the unrest was sparked by a specific catalyst: an end to a government subsidy.The cost of liquefied petroleum gas — which most people in the western part of the country use to power their cars — doubled overnight after the government lifted price caps. The ensuing turmoil, which saw thousands of protesters take to the streets, resulted in a Russian-led military intervention, the resignation of the government and the deaths of more than 200 people.

Building Peace and Climate Resilience: Aligning peacebuilding and climate adaptation in fragile states-IISD

It can be difficult to make the case for climate adaptation planning in contexts defined by fragility and violence. However, a failure to integrate climate adaptation considerations into peacebuilding plans and post-conflict development agendas can undermine the long-term viability of both. This article was originally published on the Ecosystem for Peace – A compendium of ideas website, hosted on medium.com, and is reprinted below with permission.

The first training session for PAFC auditors will take place from March 28 to April 1-ATIBT

We relay below the press release from Bureau Veritas announcing this first training session. We inform you of the imminent holding from March 28 to April 1, 2022 of the first training session for auditors on the PAFC Congo Basin certification scheme in the sub-region. The organization of this training is the result of the collaboration between Bureau Veritas and the organizations that are PEFC International, PAFC Congo Basin, ATIBT and PPECF.

Spokespeople for Fair&Precious!-ATIBT

The Fair&Precious brand, which supports the FSC and PAFC-PEFC certification schemes, intends to better interact with civil society actors, who will convey the 10 Fair&Precious commitments in the Congo basin and in Europe. These two spokespersons are joining the Fair&Precious program at the beginning of 2022: we welcome Edwige EYANG EFFA and Norbert GAMI, whom we introduce below.

Remarks by IPBES Executive Secretary Anne Larigauderie at Fondation Prince Albert II of Monaco Awards Ceremony-IPBES

This prize is a tribute to the entire IPBES community. It recognizes and rewards the efforts of the thousands of scientists and holders of indigenous and local knowledge from all regions of the world who have volunteered their time and expertise to IPBES over the past 10 years.

‘Follow The Money’ To Uncover Online Criminal Wildlife Trade Networks says TRAFFIC China-IISD

Chengdu, China, December 2021 - Chinese online platforms should consider implementing anti-money laundering (AML) ‘follow the money’ approaches to prevent traffickers from exploiting their services for illegal wildlife trade and help catch the wider criminal networks negatively impacting species and ecosystems across the globe.

New Tropical Forest Update (TFU) issue has been release!

In this edition of the TFU we report on the outcomes of the most recent session of the International Tropical Timber Council, which concluded in early December 2021. Most crucially at the session, Ms Sheam Satkuru, a Malaysian national and the first woman to win the position, was appointed by consensus as ITTO’s next Executive Director. Ms Satkuru is a lawyer by training and has considerable experience in international negotiations and the tropical timber trade.

ECO countries gather to discuss work on combating desertification -UNCCD

Antalya, Turkey – The workshop “Development of Project Proposal to Combat Desertification in the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) region” took place on 14-16 December 2021, organized by the Republic of Turkey, the General Directorate of Combating Desertification and Erosion, and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). The workshop brought together countries ECO region including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as the representatives of the UNCCD and FAO.

Environmental Leaders Selected for Contributions to Ecosystem Restoration - IISD

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced the 2021 winners of the Champions of the Earth award, which recognizes environmental leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector. The selected Champions’ projects are expected to reinforce the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030). UNEP notes that neither the SDGs nor the Paris Agreement on climate change can be achieved without reviving ecosystems.

Adaptation Fund Climate Innovation Accelerator – UNEP-CTCN

The Adaptation Fund has launched a new USD 10 million pilot small grants programme (Adaptation Fund Climate Innovation Accelerator, AFCIA) to foster innovation in adaptation in developing countries at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid. Two of the Adaptation Fund’s accredited Multilateral Implementing Entities (MIEs), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), have been selected as implementing entities of the AFCIA. The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) works in conjunction with UNEP, receiving USD 5 million to administrate and aggregate 25 micro-grants projects (up to USD 250,000 each).

Rwf38bn to support communities around Rwanda’s national parks - NEWTIMES

Rwanda is set to host the regional headquarters of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) following a presidential order signed by President Paul Kagame and issued in the national gazette. Founded in 1895, Wildlife Conservation Society is an NGO with headquarters in New York with the aim to conserve the world's largest wildlife and wild places in 14 priority regions home to more than 50 percent of the world's biodiversity.

Researchers consider the benefits of conservation retreat: smaller reserves and focused funding – Anthropocene magazine

Decades of declining herbivore populations in central African national parks have conservation scientists arguing that smaller reserves might be better for wildlife. As conservationists press for a major expansion of protected habitat around the world, scientists with years of experience in central Africa say new evidence calls for just the opposite in the region.

2022: What to watch for in the EU forest world

For decades, Fern and partners have campaigned to strengthen the rights of forest peoples and protect and restore forests. There have been locust years, when things went backwards, and harvest years, when plans come to fruition. Gratifyingly, 2021 was a year in which the forest movement achieved outstanding successes and we enter 2022 energised and ready to defend and build on them.

New paper Paul Scholte et al. : Conservation overstretch and the long term decline of wildlife and tourism in the Central African savannas

When in 2010 the world's governments pledged to increase protected area coverage to 17% of the world's land surface, several Central African countries had already set aside 25% of their northern savannas for conservation. To evaluate the effectiveness of this commitment, we analyzed the results of 68 multispecies surveys conducted in the 7 main savanna national parks in Central Africa (1960-2017).

ITTO appoints Executive Director, sets new priorities to increase economic contribution of tropical forest sector while reducing deforestation and increasing resilience

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN, 20 December 2021: The International Tropical Timber Council appointed Ms Sheam Satkuru as the new Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) at its virtual 57th session concluded in early December 2021 and also endorsed a strategic action plan to set the Organization’s path for the next five years.

The CBFP Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany, Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck, Goodwill Ambassador of the COMIFAC Declaration, wishes you a happy holiday season 2021 and all the best for 2022

in this holiday season marking the end of 2021, I wish to express my appreciation and gratitude to you. Your rich and various contributions and your proactive and dedicated involvement have enriched and enhanced the efficacy of our joint partnership. Our fruitful and close collaboration was an overwhelming success internationally and most tangibly during the CoP 26 in Glasgow, UK.

Scientists Issue Roadmap to Protect Earth as Safe Operating Space-IISD

The International Science Council convened a process to reorient funding for scientific research and institutional arrangements to support needed societal transformations. The resulting report sets out a roadmap for the production of actionable knowledge in five areas that pose the most risk to the Earth as a “safe operating space” within ten or 20 years.

Latest Round of National Reports Emphasize Efforts on SDGs 3, 5 and 8-IISD

The 2021 HLPF convened in a hybrid format from 6-15 July under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Leading up to the session, 42 governments had conducted VNRs, and they presented on these processes during the Forum. The DESA report notes that these governments recognized the second year of the pandemic as “a crucial time to conduct a VNR, in order to align their efforts towards a resilient recovery.”

New book details best approaches to Adaptive Collaborative Management in forests - CIFOR

For three scientists who have authored a new book titled Adaptive Collaborative Management in Forest Landscapes: Villagers, Bureaucrats and Civil Society (Routledge, 2022), it represents the conjoining of their disparate but likeminded visions and guiding strategic principles for Adaptive Collaborative Management (ACM) in forest landscapes and resource management.