Summit of the Three Tropical Forest Basins - Visit of Minister Henri DJOMBO in Yaounde
Within the framework of the preparation of the Summit of the three tropical forest basins scheduled to hold from 31 May to 3 June 2011, the Congolese minister for Sustainable Development, Forest Economy and the Environment, H.E. Henri DJOMBO, carried out in Yaounde a visit during which he met CBFP partners, the ambassadors of COMIFAC countries accredited in Yaounde and chaired a press conference to which the press and partners were invited. All the events were organized at Hilton Hotel by UICN in close collaboration with COMIFAC and CBFP Facilitation.
The meeting of CBFP partners, the first step, involved the US and German Ambassadors (former CBFP Facilitators) and Canada (the current CBFP Facilitator), the representatives of COMIFAC, BAD, PACEBCo, WWF, UICN, Cameroon Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and of the Environment. In his welcome address, COMIFAC Executive Secretary, Mr Raymond MBITIKON, welcomed the minister and partners before stating COMIFAC commitment to support the organization of this Summit. He thanked the Minister for choosing Yaounde, the seat of COMIFAC, for the opening of a series of press conferences scheduled to hold in Paris and New York.
Minister Djombo went on to strongly highlight the fact that Yaounde, the Capital of conservation in the Congo Basin, is symbolic as she host the seat of COMIFAC and is the starting point of the Declaration of Yaounde which established COMIFAC. He went back to the origin of the three basin summit established after a meeting of heads of tropical forest states held in 2007 alongside UN General Assembly. This proc e ss was consolidated alongside the Oslo Conference of 27 May 2010 by another meeting of the heads of states of the three great basins where they expressed the need to formalize their “union”. To this effect, Congo was chos en to host the summit of the three great tropical forest basins. He therefore pointed out that the summit was organized by Congo, with the support of COMIFAC, CEEAC and CBFP, as well as other international organisations. As concerns partners' contribution, Congo expects to receive material, intellectual and/or financial contributions. Congo also expec ts partners to support the organization of preparatory technical meetings planned in Rio de Janeiro from 12 to 14 May 2011 and in Brazzaville from 31 May to 1 June 2011. Finally, the minister highlighted the fact that this summit was in line with the preparation of the position of tropical forest countries at COP17 planned to hold in Durban in December 2011 and at Rio+20.
It should be noted from these discussions that the goal of this summit, holding in the « International Year of Forest », is to foster consultations with other basins, to impulse together a dynamics of all world tropical countries and highlight progress achieved in the Congo Basin in terms of conservation and sustainable management of resources (the Congo Basin has the lowest deforestation rate) and to learn from technology (transformation, industrialization) applied in other basins. The expected outcome of this summit is among other things, site inventory of forests in the three basins (currently carried out by FAO and UICN), the signing of an agreement or a treaty on tropical forests in the three basins and the signing of a collaborative contract between ASSEAN, ACTO and COMIFAC.
Replying to some questions from partners concerning funding, the Minister assured participants that some organizations have already confirmed their contributions, especially FAO, PNUE, UICN, WWF, CBD Secretariat, ITTO and the Congolese Government. Mobilisation for support is currently going on. Concerning COMIFAC, the minister said its role and place are essential, as the key Congolese Government partner. COMIFAC is going to play a major role in the finalization of documents, communication and various forms of support to the organization of the summit. CBFP shall play a major role in mobilizing partners.
The press conference which followed this meeting of partners was attended by over 110 participants, including 54 representatives of public and private media and 56 representatives of CBFP partners. After an expose highlighting the major points of his address to partners, the minister answered about 20 questions in various domains, including: What are the strategies developed in order to control forest destruction? What is the state of the forests in the three basins? What is the state of instruments governing cooperation between the three basins; what is the involvement level of Cameroon? Do the populations of the three basins have the same problems? Answers were provided by the Minister and completed by COMIFAC and UICN.
At the end of the conference, CBFP delegate Facilitator was asked to pronounce the closing address of the Conference. He stressed the following points: (1) The commitment of partners to conform to the cooperation framework established since 2003; (2) Continuity and consistency between different CBFP facilitations (USA, France, Germany and Canada), as shown by the meeting with the ambassadors of former facilitators shortly before the press Conference; (3) Concordance between the Facilitation 2010-2012 roadmap and the objectives of the Summit; (4) Partners commitment in Yaoundé, turning point of conservation initiatives in the Congo Basin, to support this initiative; (5) The need for good preparation, key to success; (6) CBFP commitment to support Congo in close collaboration with COMIFAC and CEEAC, partners mobilization … (7) The need to foster the awareness, communication and mobilisation of all partners for the success of the Summit.