COMIFAC: Presenting results achieved by JICA project on fostering conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity
On 31 January 2019, the Prince de Galles hotel in Douala, Cameroon, hosted a Workshop to present the results achieved by project on fostering the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and climate change measures in COMIFAC countries. The meeting was held under the aegis of the Executive Secretariat of COMIFAC and the Japanese Cooperation (JICA).
Three and a half years have gone by since the project (hereinafter referred to as the JICA Project to Support COMIFAC) was launched in August 2015 in the COMIFAC Countries, the Director of JICA noted in her opening speech. There is still one year and a half to go before the project ends as scheduled in July 2020, she added. She went on to share her interest in taking part in the workshop and concluded her statement by wishing the participants successful deliberations.
Speaking at the workshop, Mr. Raymond Ndombandoye, SE of COMIFAC recalled that in 2018, the project had implemented "a host of activities such as training in laboratory work relating to ABS bio-prospecting in Rwanda, training in forest monitoring-forest inventory in Gabon and the micro-pilot project conducted in COMIFAC’s Cameroon Segment ".
He went on to highlight the ways in which the project had helped organize various meetings of COMIFAC Thematic Groups as well as round tables in Rwanda and Gabon. He added that the project had sponsored "the participation of Secretariat staff in the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice, Poland, and the 14th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt ".
According to the workshop moderator, Mr. Gervais Ludovic Itsoua, SEA COMIFAC, the fourth Steering Committee meeting of this Project aimed to review the progress of activities and redefine the focus of the project in light of results achieved by the end of 2018, where appropriate. Thus, the workshop objectives were, inter alia to: (i) review progress in implementing the Project’s activities in 2018; (ii) redefine the focus of the Project in light of results achieved by the end of 2018; and finally, (iii) validate the Annual Work Plan 2019.
Bringing bioprospecting and forest inventory laboratories to bear for the benefit of COMIFAC countries
Two presentations delivered on these themes respectively by JICA experts, Nimura and Sasakawa highlighted recommendations for reframing the project. In fact, the idea is to henceforth prioritize the establishment of synergies in order to address the needs of countries in the sub-region.
With this aim in mind, the participants identified priority measures to be undertaken, namely: (i) coordinating the analysis of the economic value of ABS within the COMIFAC region; (ii) standardizing and regulating ABS utilization; (iii) engaging the private sector through economic incentives, and (iv) strengthening the laboratory capacities of COMIFAC countries. Lastly, the meeting discussed the communications component, which highlighted the need to create key linkages to keep stakeholders abreast of progress in project implementation.
At the close of the meeting, the COMIFAC ES Mr.Raymond Ngombandoye and the JICA Director each in turn commended the quality of the proceedings. The most important thing is to make the most of the project’s achievements. Regarding the requests submitted, it is important for JICA to know how much of an impact the project is making at regional level.
Alain NGULUNGU (GTGF) & Raoul SIEMENI (RECEIAC)