Meeting between the Sahel and northern Equatorial Africa: International Anti-Poaching Conference of Ministers of Defense, Security and Protected Areas, a huge success
The International Conference of Ministers of defense, security and protected areas on the fight against poaching and other cross-border criminal activities, held from 23 to 25 January 2019, N'Djamena, Chad, was a resounding success (success story): "Off to a flying start!!! ": Fruitful meeting between the Sahel and northern Equatorial Africa:
Close to 350 participants rallied around the central theme: "Threats posed by armed groups moving between the Sahel, the Sudan and northern Equatorial Africa to its natural protected areas and the local populations: Analysis and action plan". A dozen ministers and close to 50 senior officials from regional institutions as well as technical and financial partners adopted a statement entitled "N'Djamena Declaration" on the need to shape regional transhumance dynamics by better accounting for security issues, wildlife management and the growing degradation of ecosystems due to climate change... Equally available for download is the press release of the closed-door meeting of Ministers and Heads of delegation as well as the minutes of the expert segment adopted by the Ministers.
- N'Djamena Declaration: On the need to shape regional transhumance dynamics by better accounting for security issues, wildlife management and growing degradation of ecosystems due to climate change
Press release from the closed-door meeting of Heads of delegation: Press release of the closed-door Meeting of Ministers
- Minutes of the expert segment adopted by the Ministers: Minutes of the expert segment
N'Djamena (Chad), 23-25 January 2019 -The Hilton Hotel hosted the International Conference of Ministers of defense, security and protected areas on the fight against poaching and other cross-border criminal activities. The conference was organized by the Facilitation of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) managed by the Kingdom of Belgium, in close collaboration with the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) and the Government of the Republic of Chad, with the main theme being: "Threats posed by armed groups moving between the Sahel, the Sudan and northern Equatorial Africa to its natural protected areas and the local populations: Analysis and Action plan". The meeting received financial support from the German Cooperation and the European Union.
Following the success of the "Brussels Declaration", the N'Djamena International Conference confirmed the relevance of the ambition and direction taken by the Facilitation of the Kingdom of Belgium in focusing its efforts among other things on promoting stronger and more appropriate political leadership of the Partnership. From this perspective, the N'Djamena Conference is viewed as a highly successful test of the cross-border approach in addressing issues relating to large scale poaching, security and defense in and around protected areas. For the first time and in an effective manner, the blend not only of these intersectoral approaches, but also and more importantly, the meeting of senior officials of the Sahel zone and northern equatorial Africa highlights the importance of the N’Djamena Conference.
Quality of participants
The International Conference of Ministers brought together close to 350 participants, including 225 for the expert segment. Its opening and closing ceremonies were graced by His Excellency Mr. KALZEBE PAYIMI DEBEU, Minister of State, Minister Secretary-General of the Presidency of the Republic, representing His Excellency Mr. Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic and Head of State, Head of Government of Chad. The following delegates were present and actively participated in the deliberations; 11 Ministers of defense, security and protected areas, 1 Under-Secretary of State; 8 governors; 4 Generals, 1 Chargé d’affaires, two Lamidos of the countries involved, namely: Cameroon, Niger, CAR, DRC, Sudan, South Sudan and Chad.
Also present were high-ranking officials of regional institutions, including: For ECOWAS, H.E. General Francis AWAGBE BEHANZIN, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Dr. DIENG Abdourahmane, ECOWAS Regional Director of Peace and Security; for the CILSS, Dr. Djimé ADOUM, Executive Secretary of CILSS; for ECCAS, H.E. Ambassador Ahmad ALLAMI-MI, Secretary General and Mr. Saleh SIDJIME, ECCAS Chief of Staff; for the CBLT, Mr. Mamman Nuhu, Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (CBLT); for GABAC, Mr. Gervais MBATE, Permanent Secretary of the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa; for COMIFAC, Mr. Raymond NDOMBA NGOYE, Executive Secretary and Mr. Gervais Ludovic ITSOUA-MADZOUS Deputy Executive Secretary of COMIFAC; Dr Ibrahim Linjouom, Permanent Secretary of OCFSA.
Following the high-level inaugural opening ceremony, the conference participants listened to high-level statements from technical and financial partners, following up on their commitments to Central Africa and ECOWAS.
- Statement of the representative of Germany, H.E. Rolf Welberts, Ambassador
- Statement of the Kingdom of Belgium, H.E.Mr. Stéphane Doppagne, Ambassador of Belgium
- Statement of France, H.E.Mr. Yann Wehrling, Ambassador Delegate for the Environment
- Statement of the European Union, Mr. Angel Losada, Special Representative for the Sahel
- Statement of the African Development Bank, Mr. Ousmane Dore, Regional Director for Central Africa
- Statement of the World Bank, Mr. François Nankobogo, Resident Representative in Chad
- UNESCO statement, Mr. Salah Khaled, Director of the Regional Office for Central Africa
- Statement of FAO, Mr. Hélder Mutela, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Central Africa
- Statement of OCFSA, H.E. Ms. Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Forest Economy, Republic of the Congo, Acting President of OCFSA (Organization for Wildlife Conservation in Africa)
- Statement of ECOWAS, H.E. Mr. General Francis AWAGBE BEHANZIN, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security,
Furthermore, the meeting was attended by close to twenty dignitaries, Heads of Delegation of technical and financial partners including ambassadors, senior representatives of member organizations and countries of the CBFP namely African parks, Germany, ADB, the World Bank, Belgium, FAO, France, EU, UK, US, UNESCO, UNDP). Among others, the High Commissioner of Great Britain to the Republic of the Cameroon, H.E. Mr Rowan James Laxton and the UNDP Representative, UNDP Country Director, Ms. Carol-Flore Smereczniak.
A few messages from the conference:
- There is real collective awareness of the scale and magnitude of the poaching problem and the need for urgent action. Even though transhumance has a significant impact on poaching, care should be taken not to stigmatize it (considering the social and cultural aspects of transhumance and pastoralism).
- No country on its own can find a lasting solution to the poaching problem. Cross-border efforts between the countries are strongly encouraged. The countries were encouraged to enter into bipartite, tripartite agreements based on forest blocks. In this regard, an initial productive consultation was held between the DRC and southern Sudan with a view to signing a cross-border agreement to protect the Garamba and South Sudan parks. Similarly, Cameroon and Nigeria strengthened their ties at the traditional level (presence of Lamidats) at the level of FARO park and the Nigerian Park.
- Better coordination between sectoral ministries defense, security, agriculture and protected areas within and between the countries is crucial for the fight against cross-border poaching. It is from such inter-sectoral collaboration that protected areas will derive the resources needed for their protection.
- More specifically, as regards transhumance monitoring, it was recommended that an observatory be the established and operationalized to track cross-border transhumance movements including through the creation of proper corridors equipped with beacons and the requisite infrastructure.
- In the framework of cross-border collaboration, the meeting underscored the need for support from technical and financial partners and called on the latter to strengthen their synergies and join their efforts through existing programs or develop programs jointly.
- Finally, the delegates discussed PPP (Public Private Partnership) - Promote management methods geared towards securing and developing protected areas by inter alia, developing Public Private Partnerships (PPP). Existing success stories could provide inspiration for other countries.
On the sidelines of the Conference, the donors held a bilateral consultation (behind closed doors) with the Heads of Delegation of the countries involved in the Conference. Some of the outcomes of the meeting included: donors reaffirming their willingness to extend and continue providing financial and technical support to the region’s countries. The Donors encouraged the region’s countries to consider, with their help, innovative sustainable funding sources/structures for the fight against environmental crime. In the same vein, the donors may consider pooling their resources, and implementing joint training in a cross-border context.
Kindly download the minutes of the consultation between financial partners and Heads of Delegation of the countries involved in the Conference: Meeting of technical and financial partners of the CBFP Minutes
The International Conference of Ministers was preceded by an expert segment that took place from 23 to 24 January 2019 in N'Djamena. It was attended by 225 participants. The following effectively participated in the experts’ deliberations: experts appointed by the Ministers of the countries concerned and from the three sectors concerned: defense, security and protected areas: close to 94 participants including experts. Also present were experts from regional institutions, including 15 participants and representatives of national and regional civil society organizations: 10 participants. In addition,106 experts from the technical and financial partners were actively involved in the deliberations, representing about forty organizations hailing from the countries below: Germany; Austria; Belgium; Cameroon; Canada; Congo; Côte d'Ivoire; Gabon; France; Kenya; Niger; Nigeria; Netherlands; CAR; DRC; Rwanda; Sudan; South Sudan, Chad; UK.
Please download the minutes of the experts’ meeting below:
- Minutes of the expert segment: Minutes of the expert segment adopted by the Ministers:
Towards the Implementation of the N'Djamena Declaration
Towards a cross-border agreement between the DRC and South Sudan: Strengthening cross-border cooperation...
In the wings of the International Conference of Ministers, two Governments, namely those of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, held talks to reach a cross-border agreement. The South Sudan delegation was invited to visit the Garamba park in May 2019. A noteworthy point of the agreement would be for instance to introduce aerial patrols across the border as part of the fight against poaching. The idea is to sign an agreement between the DRC and South Sudan, which would model the GVTC ...
December was set as the date for an expert conference to track progress in implementing the N'Djamena Declaration. This conference will be prepared during the next CBFP Steering Council meeting scheduled to hold in June.