COP15 UNFCCC: Tropical Forests at the Centre of Negociations
Copenhagen, 11 December 2009. Photographs: Michael Wahl, GTZ - Close to 350 participants were present at the Victor Borg Hall for the 15th UNFCCC Conference in Copenhagen on Friday, December 11, 2009. COMIFAC, with the support of CEEAC, GAF, GTZ and the PFBC Facilitation, organized based on ongoing pilot initiative in the sub-region, a parallel event on the REDD opportunities and challenges in the Congo Basin. It was undoubtedly the parallel event which draw more attention during this first week of the Conference, where discussions on the REDD started reaching the big screen and negotiations with the various groups of developing countries opened with the first specific proposals.
The COMIFAC parallel event was not only an opportunity to follow technical presentations for the sensitization of the public at large on pilot experiences aiming at facilitating the implementation of the REDD mechanism, but it also made some distinguished guests central to discussions. Ministers Jose Endundo (DRC), Henri Djombo (Congo), Emmanuel Bizot (RCA), COMIFAC serving chairman, all members of COMIFAC and also CEEAC Secretary General, Mr. Louis Sylvain Goma, attended this event for sincere discussions under an extension of field realities in Central Africa. The presence of the Nobel Prize winner, Wangari Maathai, co-president of the Congo Basin Forest Fund, and of Dirk Niebel, German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development still pointed out the importance of this meeting, with Hans Schipulle, CBFP Facilitator, as moderator.
Emmanuel Bizot first draw participants' attention on the stakes of REDD negotiations for the countries of the Congo Basin. "REDD mechanism must be regarded as an essential, structuring and transversal approach of development strategies in our countries. The implementation a REDD strategy is therefore much more than protecting the forest; it goes hand in hand with the recognition of the overall value of forest resources in the context of an economic and social development of countries". Dirk Niebel then declared that Germany is working for the inclusion of a REDD+ mechanism in the new agreement for the protection of the climate as it "is relevant to take into account all the measures deemed additional with regard to the climate". While lauding the wide international consensus in relation to this, he reminded that negotiations are henceforth carried out in details. During an interaction with COMIFAC ministers, the German Minister even confirmed his intention to make of the Sub-region the first destination of his term in office.
The second part of the event consisted of a panel of experts whose members were presented preparatory initiatives for the implementation of a REED mechanism in the Congo Basin. While drawing attention on methodological matters, relating to the putting in place of reference scenarios to assess the level of forest degradation effectively avoided, as well as MRV (Monitoring, Reporting, Verification) techniques, climate focal points and other resources persons speaking on the behalf of COMIFAC member states were able to show the very high control level of the technical cases handled in the sub-region. Eventually, conclusive presentations of ministers Endundo and Djombo, summarizing the opportunities and challenges of a REDD mechanism for all the COMIFAC/CEEAC countries, have highlighted the will of political decision makers to make of this parallel event a solemn occasion for the countries of the Congo Basin, who are ready to make their position known apart from negotiations in proper.
At the end of the meeting, nobody would have questioned the conclusions expressed by Wangai Maathai, who reminded participants and experts that the countries of the Congo Basin will be able to weigh more in future negotiations if they "as one". On can therefore hope that the international community will follow the joint position of Central Africa and of Africa as a whole concerning the REDD.
Documentation of COMIFAC Parallel Event at the COP 15th CNUCC: "Development of the REDD Initiative in Central Africa - Opportunities and Challenges"
December, 11, 2009, 16:30 - 18:00
Opening and preliminary presentations
Technical presentations on REDD initiatives in the Congo Basin
Preliminary results and perspectives of the regional survey on the modelling of future deforestation trends in the Congo Basin and of related greenhouse gas effect emissions (Michael Obersteiner - IIASA) (French)