International Africa-China Workshop's success story: Towards an ongoing and structured China-Africa dialogue on Forestland Governance, Investments and Sustainability
Kindly download the Final Communiqué of the First China-Africa dialogue workshop
Full success of the first China-Africa dialogue workshop jointly organized by the African Forest Policies and Politics (AFORPOLIS) and the Global Environmental Institute (GEI) in partnership with the University of Göttingen in Germany, the University of Dschang in Cameroon, the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife. (MINFOF) - Cameroon. The first Africa-China AFORPOLIS workshop is mainly sponsored by UKAID and supported by an additional contribution from the CBFP.
The first Africa-China workshop on "Forestland Governance, Investments and Sustainability" held in Yaounde -Cameroon from 3 to 5 September 2019 brought together about 120 participants from China, 11 different African, North American and European countries. This workshop represented a great multi-stakeholder exchange setup involving policy makers, researchers and academics, journalists, representatives from civil society organisations, local communities and indigenous peoples, as well as international technical and financial partners.
Unanimously, the participants sincerely want this Africa-China dialogue initiative to continue because of its substantial contribution to discussions necessary to improve the governance and sustainability of natural resources in Africa in general and the Congo Basin in particular.
The participants and international partners at the workshop:
- Urged China's Global Environmental Institute (GEI) and the African Forest Policies and Politics (AFORPOLIS) to work with the Chinese government and that of Congo Basin countries, COMIFAC as well as CBFP authorities to establish foundations for the sustainability of this Africa-China science-policy dialogue and exchange initiative. The aim of the long-term sustainability of this dialogue is to establish a win-win partnership between China and African countries in joint strategic priorities related to the governance of natural resources. Specific sectors such as those related to industrial innovation in forest and agro-forestry commodity value chains and the development of a social and ecological economy for improved natural resource sustainability could be tangible examples of strategic priorities between the two parties;
- Suggested that this cycle of dialogue on sustainability issues of African forestlands in relation to Chinese investments be included in the dynamics of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Economically, it would also explore options for convergence with other recent initiatives such as the African Wood Forum, the Global Green Supply Chain (GGSC), the Chinese Timber Products Distribution Association (CTWPDA), the Chinese Forest Products Industry Association (CFPIA) and the Shanghai Timber Trade Association (STTA);
- Encouraged greater experience sharing and interactions between Chinese and African stakeholders in forest production, management and control. Particular emphasis will be placed on rigorous law enforcement systems, capacity building on forest control, technology transfer in the field of traceability and customs control on wood and wildlife products, innovative forest plantation techniques, agroforestry, restoration of degraded landscapes and forestlands, processing of wood and non-timber forest products;
- Proposed the establishment of a China-Africa platform for science-policy interaction in Africa to promote and monitor the ecological and social sustainability of Chinese investments in the use and preservation of natural resources;
- Emphasised that law enforcement and governance improvement in the management of natural resources in Africa is first the responsibility of timber-producing countries and then of consuming countries, in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility;
- Proposed the establishment of a development and financing mechanism for China-Africa international research programmes on ecological, economic and social issues for Chinese investments in the field of natural resources in Africa. Particular attention should be given to the dynamics of converting forestlands into other uses (exploitation of wood, mining and oil under forests, creation of agricultural plantations in forest areas, etc.). These programmes will ensure the permanent renewal of knowledge for many stakeholders including policy makers;
- Urged policymakers to review the current model of community forestry in the Congo Basin to ensure more effective local management systems and equitable benefit sharing for local communities and indigenous peoples.
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