CAFI-Central African Forests : 5 Key Takeaways from the UN Secretary General Climate Action Summit



Central African forests' role in the fight against climate change and poverty was made clearer than ever. Their protection is vital to the 60 million people who depend on it, and to the planet’s future.



  1. Leaders from Gabon, DRC and the Republic of Congo alerted the world



Ahead of the Summit, and in response to the call of the UN Secretary General, Gabon’s President Ali Bongo, sitting President of the CEEAC, reached out to fellow presidents of the region for concerted action to highlight the importance of Central African forests at the Summit.



DR Congo's President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, speaking on behalf of the leaders of the sub-region during the high-level panel event "Unlocking the Power of Nature" on 23 September, set the tone by stating the dire consequences of forest loss for the DRC, neighbour countries and the planet, in a region that harbours close to 250 million hectares, but also gave hope with concrete engagements made to preserve forests & peatlands (full speech in French). At the UN General Assembly on 26 September, he reiterated his commitment: he vowed to increase comitments under the DRC's NDC, to work to maintain close collaboration so that all Central African countries speak with one voice when it comes to forests, and detailed concrete plans to reduce dependency on wood-energy, regulate forestry activities, and promote agroforestry and savannah-based activities.



In the last session of the summit, Republic of Congo’s Prime Minister Clément Mouamba spoke about his country’s commitment to maintain one of the lowest deforestation (0.05%) rates in the world (full speech in French).



  1. German Chancellor, French President and the UN Secretary-General put Central African forests at the centre of the debate



During the High-level breakfast on forests on 23 September, Chancellor Angela Merkel recalled that" the preservation of rainforests in Africa is as important as it is in the Amazon region" and announced Germany’s contribution to CAFI (30 million euros).



Before the General Assembly, she also called for "countries to pool resources and act together", reminding the delegates that "the rainforest is crucial for the survival of humankind". (her full speech is here).



In his speech to the Assembly about the key role of tropical forests in the Amazon region and elsewhere, the French President Emanuel Macron noted that "the Congo Basin forest is essential to humankind", acknowledging the leadership role that Norway and Germany have taken globally, along with France’s contribution to CAFI.  Read the speech on France’s Presidency website (French).



“We saw new initiatives to unlock the power of nature, including by (....) protecting the Central African Forest and the 60 million people who depend on it,” concluded the UN Secretary-General in its remarks at closing of Climate Action Summit.



  1. Gabon marked history as the first country in Africa to receive payments for preserved forests


The 150 million US dollars agreement announced on 22 September in the margins of Summit between Gabon and Norway, via CAFI, was historic in many ways.  For the first time, an African country will be rewarded in a 10-year deal for both reducing its greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation, and absorptions of carbon dioxide by natural forests, making Gabon the first High Forest, Low Deforestation (HFLD) country to receive such payments.  The partnership also provides Gabon with a major incentive for cutting greenhouse gases by setting a carbon price floor at 10 US dollars per certified ton (ART). Read more



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