CBFP partner for the month of January 2014: Université Laval

 

Innovative results in the field of training and research in the Congo Basin - Université Laval presents ground-breaking and tangible results of two major and successful projects conducted as part of its interventions in the Congo Basin:

 

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1 . The project to support natural resource management training in the Congo Basin (FOGRN -BC) strengthens the institutional and technical capacities of partner higher and technical training institutions in three Central African countries in order to build sub-regional centers of excellence in research and training of highly skilled staff in sustainable natural resource management.



2. The project to support the expanded natural resource management training programme in the Congo Basin (PEFOGRN -BC) enhances training and research efforts underway in the COMIFAC countries with a view to reducing deforestation and degradation of natural resources.

 

 

 

Dear Friends and Partners of the FOGRN-BC (Congo Basin Natural Resources Management Training Project) and of the PEFOGRN-BC (Project to Support the Expanded Natural Resource Management Training Programme in the Congo Basin),

 

The year 2013 is nearing it’s end and the FOGRN-BC leading project team along with the support team of the university component of PEFOGRN-BC project  are once again delighted with the work accomplished. Without a doubt, our progress within the framework of these two projects funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (MFATD) and the Congo Basin Forest Fund (cbff), administered by the African Development Bank (AfDB), respectively, would not have been possible without the help and assistance of engaged people of good will like yourselves and we are very grateful for every moment that each and everyone of you had brought your input and time into making our projects successful. Université Laval is the Canadian accompanying agency (CAA) for the 5-year FOGRN-BC project, which started in August 2008 and ends on December 31, 2013 while the Forestry and Environment Training Network of Central Africa (RIFFEAC) is the executing agency for the 3-year PEFOGRN-BC project launched in July 2011 with end date on December 2014.  Focal points, professors, support personnel in Africa and Canada, the direction and the steering committee at Unversité Laval, the coordination at RIFFEAC and the project executing unit, Oxfam-Québec as well as the MFATD development officers at headquarters and on the ground in Africa, the cbff Task manager and Coordinator  and the Biodiversity and Forests programme funded by the Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), have continued to playing a crucial role in building this success that we celebrate together.

 
I would like to take this opportunity to make a short retrospective of some highlighted moments in order to celebrate the events and the progress achieved together during the last 12 months. Firstly, I will provide a summary of the FOGRN-BC project, followed by that of the PEFOGRN-BC project in addition to the other satellite projects and new partnerships developed in 2013.

 

1) The FOGRN-BC project


As in previous years, the FOGRN-BC project has pursued its global objective that consists of strengthening institutional and technical capacities of higher education partners of three Congo Basin countries (Cameroon, Gabon, DRCongo) in order to create subregional Research and Human Resources Development poles of excellence in sustainable management of natural resources.


The FOGRN-BC was primarily aimed at relaunching the technical and university forest training in DRC (the largest forest country in the African continent), which has been put in abeyance for nearly the last 30 years. This project officially ends on December 31, 2013. December 12 and 13, were days devoted to a workshop on university teaching and release of 15 courses and books developed by the FOGRN-BC project to all eight beneficiaries. Of global significance is the publication of a comprehensive new textbook of tropical agroforestry by Springer. The afternoon of December 13 was devoted to the presentation of Student Researchers of the FOGRN-BC project. Dr. Joseph Djeugap Fovo, University of Dschang and first PhD of the project made his presentation on the phytosanitary status of Ricinodendron heudelotii in Cameroon. Marie Nyange, lecturer at the University of Kinshasa and PhD student presented her research work about local communities’ participation and sustainable forest management in DRC while Armand Yvon Mengome Ango, Deputy Director General at the national school of Waters and Forests (ENEF) of Gabon and PhD student presented his research on the evaluation of factors influencing the okoume (Aucoumea klaineana P. Burseraceae) growth and wood quality in Gabon. Project beneficiaries were represented by Dr Ibrahim Sambo (RIFFEAC coordinator), Professor Manjeli Yacouba (Dean of the Faculty of Agronomy and Agricultural Sciences, University of Dschang, FASA-Dschang),  Armand Yvon Mengome Ango (Deputy Director General of the ENEF-Gabon), Professor Claude Kachaka ( Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Kinshasa, FASA- Unikin), Professor Jean-Pierre Mate (Academic secretary of the Regional Post-Graduate School of Planning and Integrated Management of Forests and Tropical Territories, ERAIFT), Reverend Father Michel NTangu Kinsau (Director General of the Agro-veterinary higher Institute, ISAV-Kimwenza), and Father Matthieu Mwila (Director General of the higher Institute of agronomic studies, ISEA-Tshela). The workshop was facilitated by Dr François Marquis, lecturer at the Université Laval. Dr. Gilles Cotteret, coordinator for the FOGRN-BC project and professor Damase Khasa, project director, both represented the team projet of Université Laval.


December 14, 2013 was the memorable closing day of the project under the co-presidency of His Excellency Mr. Jean- Carol Pelletier, Canadian Ambassador to the DRC and the General Academic Secretary of the University of Kinshasa, Professor Prosper Kanyankogote Mpagazehe acting on behalf of the Rector (family photo during the closing day on top). After the welcome to the ERAIFT delivered by Professor Jean -Pierre Mate on behalf of the Director Baudouin Michel, professor Damase Khasa presented the final report of the FOGRN-BC project and its achievements. This presentation was followed by speeches by the Dean of the Faculty of Forestry, Geography and Geomatics (FFGG), Prof. Robert Beauregard, representing the Université Laval; the representative of students benefiting from the project, Engineer Prince Lucungu Baraka; the Dean of FASA-Unikin, Prof. Claude Kachaka, representing the beneficiary institutions; the General Academic Secretary at Unikin and his Excellency the Ambassador of Canada to the DRC. The MFATD which funded the project was represented by Mrs Sandra Choufani, Counsellor and Head of Cooperation at the Canadian Embassy in Kinshasa and Mr Vincent Makaya, director of the Canadian cooperation support unit in the DRC. GIZ, a strategic partner for local co-financing was represented by Mr Martin Makumbu Nsaka, coordinator of the support unit of the 2020 strategy and Mrs Sarah Mambu Nzinga , technical expert in formal training and pedagogical integration of TIC of the Biodiversity and Forests Programme (PBF)/GIZ. The afternoon was devoted to informal exchanges and student poster presentations prior to the scientific conferences of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, held from 16 to 18 December 2013 on the theme: " Waters, Forests and Environment for sustainable management of our biodiversity ', under the co-presidency of Deans Claude Kachaka (FASA- Unikin ) and Robert Beauregard ( FFGG-U.Laval ) and under the coordination of Professor David Mayele Kipoy (family photo on top).


At the end of the project, we have among other things relaunched the university and technical training in forestry in the DRC with significant results of programs and courses renovated, 104 forest engineers and 37 technicians of Waters and Forests graduating by the end of December 2013 with more than 30% of women starting from an initial situation where there were only a dozen of forest engineers active in the country. Strengthening the academic and technical training also continued in Cameroon (University of Dschang, Cameroon ENEF-Mbalamayo) and Gabon (Gabon ENEF-Cape Esterias) with about 15 to 20 graduates per institution per year. The ISAV-Kimwenza continued the development of its Bachelor and professional Master programs in agroforestry within LMD system with the support of the 2020 congolese strategy for training in management of renewable natural resources, funded by the PBF/GIZ.


The FOGRN-BC project has laid the foundation of three centers of excellence for training and research in the three target countries (Cameroon, Gabon, DRC) with the support of RIFFEAC, with a multiplier effect that will respond to sustainable development needs of their communities and the entire sub-region.


The project has also contributed to the sustainability of results through training of trainers with one PhD trained (Dr. Joseph Djeugap Fovo) from Laval in forest pathology, for the University of Dschang. Nine other Student Researchers should complete their Ph.D. in 2014. However, we regret the death of two of our fellows: Florent Kangueja from DRC, a former student at Laval and Moïse Bambot from Cameroon, a former student of the University Stellenbsoch in South Africa.

 

 2) ThePEFOGRN-BC project


The overall objective of the project to support the Expanded Natural Resource Management Training Programme in the Congo Basin (PEFOGRN-BC) is to enhance training and research activities in order to reduce deforestation and degradation of natural resources in the Congo Basin. After its official launching  in Yaoundé from the 4th to the 9th,  of July 2011 with the attendance of all beneficiary partners and under the co-presidency of the COMIFAC executive Secretary, Mr Raymond Mbitikon and the Task manager and forest and climate expert - CBBF- OSAN, M. Pierre Nguinda, the second year witnessed the deployment of the various activities of the four different project components (1. Coordination of RIFFEAC activities,  2. Technical Training, 3. University Training and Research, 4. Project Management).


Université Laval and the Forestry Teaching and Research Centre of Sainte-Foy Inc. (CERFO) have worked together to deliver all the expected results of Component 1. CERFO has delivered technical training programs in Forest operations and Wood industry and is now working on the last program in wildlife conservation. Regarding Component 3, Université Laval has delivered university undergraduate (B.SC.) programs in Forest operations and Wood industry as well as 4 master's programs in training centers of excellence (agroforestry at the U. Dschang, political and forest governance at Unikin, Wood science and Wood engineering at ENEF-Gabon) following the LMD system. Different programs and course plans have been validated by the partners in the sub-region during a workshop held from 5 to 10 November 2013 in Libreville. The sub-regional harmonized programs will be formally adopted at a workshop chaired by the Executive Secretary of COMIFAC in February 2014. Meanwhile, the Master's programs in political and forest governance and wood science have already started at Unikin and ENEF-G in November 2013, respectively, while Master's program in agroforestry at the U. Dschang will start in January 2014. As part of monitoring the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in November 12, 2008 and January 30, 2009 between the ENEF-G and  Université Laval and in order to support effectively ENEF-G as a sub-regional center of excellence in wood science and wood engineering under the PEFOGRN-BC project, the Dean of FFGG of Laval along with Professor Khasa, undertook a mission to Libreville from 9 to 11 December 2013. During this technical and scientific cooperation mission, several senior Gabonese authorities were met including His Excellency Mr. Gabriel Tchango, Minister of Waters and Forests and his staff ; the Special Adviser to the President of the Gabonese Republic in charge of missions, Professor Patrick Mouguiama-Daouda and his staff ; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University Omar Bongo (UOB), professor Jean-Jacques Tony Ekomie and Dr Serge Loungou, adviser to the Chancellor and his colleagues in the department of geography to develop a ENEF-UOB-LAVAL strategic partnership in training of trainers through joint theses. The exchanges at different levels (Ministry and Presidency) on relocation program of schools (PRODIGE) were very productive and constructive for better decision making regarding the relocation of the ENFE-G in Makokou. The mission also discussed the possibility of signing a general cooperation agreement between the governments of Quebec and Gabon. We are very grateful to Dr. Marcellin Nziengui and the ENEF-G team for preparing and accompaning this mission at all meetings.


Following the training and recruitment mission  for postgraduate students (PhD and MSc levels) from beneficiary institutions that was completed between the 20  and 26 of November 2011, in CRESA-Bois et forêts, Yaoundé, with the active participation of two canadians (professor André Desrochers et Dr Marc Mazerolle), the RIFFEAC Coordinateur (Dr Ibrahim Sambo) and the whole team of the PEFOGRN-BC project in Yaoundé, ten PhD students and 3 MSc students are being trained at Université Laval since fall 2012. Thirty other master's students and twenty PhD students are conducting their studies in sub-regional institutions of excellence (ERAIFT, University of Dschang, University of Kinshasa, ENEF-Gabon).


In support to the component 4, CERFO and Université Laval participated in Douala-Cameroon from March 21 to 24, 2013 at the meeting of steering committee chaired by the  Deputy Executive Secretary of COMIFAC, Mr Martin Tatoum, as well as at the meeting of the Technical Committee Project Monitoring (CTSP) and the General Assembly of RIFFEAC chaired by Mr. Jean-Claude Nguinguiri (FAO Forestry Officer) and Chairman of the RIFFEAC Board. CERFO and Laval also participated on November 04-14, 2013 in the mission of mid-term review in Yaounde-Cameroon, led by Mr Pierre Nguinda (AfDB) along with associates Mr André Kamga, Accounting services-Accounts payable (AfDB) and Mr Bah Alhassane, consultant in financial management (AfDB). The overall objective of the mission was to review the implementation of the project and make appropriate recommendations to facilitate its further execution.

 

3) Other satellite projects and new partnerships



The year 2013 was also very fruitfull in terms of  development of new projects and partnerships:

1.  AMFI project: the proposal for international internships in forestry managed by Université Laval, in the framework  of the African Model Forests Initiative (AMFI)) was funded by  IFMA-Natural Ressources Canada and the secretary of the African Model Forest network based in Yaoundé (SAMFN). This project helped support 2 Canadian students in the Model Forest under construction in Rwanda and 24 african students in model forests  in Cameroon, DRC, Congo-Brazzaville, Central African Republic and Rwanda. Université Laval has also been invited to the first African conference of Model Forests (12-15 March 2013) in Yaounde-Cameroon, organized by the AMFN and which attracted over 500 participants including a Nobel Peace Prize. Laval also acts as a third party organization to support research and training in the AMFN-Cuso  International- IFMN (International Model Forest Network) consortium formed in october 2013 for the development, financing and implementation of a project to reduce deforestation and poverty in the Congo Basin based on Model Forests concept in the sub -region.

2.  The ITTO Project: Thanks to the funding provided by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the RIFEEAC has given the Université Laval  and CERFO the task of helping in the development of the following six training modules:  1) Sustainable Forest Management: an overview, 2) Facilitating strategic forest management planning, 3) Management and conservation of forest concession biodiversityin Central Africa, 4) Forest management in the context of REDD plus strategies in Central Africa, 5) implementation and monitoring of forest management plans, 6) Multi-resource forest inventory. The development of these ITTO modules is now completed. RIFFEAC organized a workshop of thematic working groups (GTT) in August-September 2013, and is now preparing a third and final ITTO workshop at the Project Steering Committee to be held in February 2014.

3.  Project to support capacity building of professionals and academics in sustainable forest management in the Congo Basin. Funded by the MFATD, the University of continuing education was jointly organized in Dschang by Université Laval, Université of Québec in Chicoutimi and University of Dschang fromJanuary 14 to February 01, 2013. The 2013 theme was " carbon management in tropical agroforestry and forest landscapes." Twenty-six (26) students participated in the University of continuing education, including six graduate students from Université Laval and twenty (20) forest professionals (climate focal points and other professionals) from 10 countries, including 08 countries of COMIFAC. Negotiators and country climate focal points were favored taking into account gender, fifteen places were funded by the project and the International Office of Université Laval, 6 learners from civil society were supported by the International Union for conservation of Nature (IUCN-Cameroon), 3 learners by PBF/GIZ-DRC, and two lecturers from the University of Dschang by RIFFEAC. The main trainers were Drs Jean François Boucher, Sylvie Bouchard and Sibi Bonfils (University of Quebec in Chicoutimi), Vincent Poirier and Damase Khasa (Université Laval), Louis Zapfack (University of Yaoundé) and Mr. Benjamin Toirambe Bamoninga (Ministry of Environment, Conservation Nature and Tourism, MECNT-DRC and researcher at the Laboratory of wood Biology and Xylarium, Royal Museum for Central Africa Tervuren, Belgium). The organization and coordination of the university were provided by Prof. Martin Tchamba, University of Dschang and Stéphanie Dubé- Desrosiers, Université Laval. The bimonthly magazine Africa Environment Plus (Edition March-April 2013) devoted to the 12th Meeting of Partners of the Partnership for Forests of the Congo Basin held in Douala from 20 to 22 March 2013, published a special issue on the university of continuing education, the workshop on REDD + for civil society in Central Africa, organized by IUCN-Cameroon from 27 February to 2 March 2013 in Douala and the first African Model Forest Conference held in Yaoundé from 12 to 15 March 2013 under the theme : "Emerging Africa : Governance and Climate Change, innovation and green social business."

4.  IUCN- Laval: the FFGG through its Forestry Without Borders NGO has participated in the development of tools and training materials for the  REDD+ workshop, organized in Douala from 27 February to 2 March 2013, by IUCN-Cameroon for better stakeholders’participation in REDD + activities at the national, sub-regional and international levels. A master's student of Laval co-supervised by professors Damase Khasa and Nancy Gélinas, Anne Bernard, was actively involved in this project led by Mrs Camille Jepang and Mr Remi Jiagho, in developing a simplified tool on REDD + and other appropriate tools for effective advocacy on REDD +. A new collaboration agreement is underway for the completion of training to enhance knowledge about carbon markets and trading capacities within the project " Support for multi-stakeholder participation in the REDD process in Cameroon, Congo, Gabon and CAR ', funded by the cbff.

5.  Other partenerships : Laval conducted in June 2013 an exploratory mission to Noragric (The Norwegian University of Life Sciences at Ås -UMB), NORAD, the International Foundation for Science, KfW Entwicklungsbank and GIZ (Centre for Skills Development for Africa) to foster synergy between training and research projects and inter-university collaborations. A proposed University of Wisconsinin Madison-University of South Florida-Université Laval consortium was also set up in October 2013 for capacity building in integrated and entrepreneurial management of natural resources in the Congo Basin.

 

4) Coordination and management of projects



4.  CAA: Mrs Marie- France and Dr Gilles Gévry Cotteret have continued their functions as Project Manager – University Component  of the PEFOGRN -BC project and Coordinator and Administrator for the two projects (FOGRN-BC and PEFOGRN- BC). Mahamadou Garba Abdou terminated his contract with Oxfam-Québec as Development Counsellor to the FOGRN-BC project in Kinshasa in July 2013. He has taken on a new position as Coordinator for the MRK project funded by the Canada Fund for Climate Resilience in Africa of the MFATD and led by Mr Axel Alliez of  Alfred Campus (University of Guelph).

5.  RIFEAC : Mr Romeo Junior Fogaing and Mrs Desiree Nkinkwa  have continued their functions as Project Manager of the PEFOGRN-BC project and ITTO/RIFFEAC adviser, responsible for communication, respectively. Dr. Ibrahim Sambo has continued to assure the regional coordonnation since 2011.

6.  ENEF - Gabon : The Director General Dr Marcellin Nziengui was promoted Adviser to the Minister of Waters and Forests (Forestry-Geomatics-Environment). Pending the appointment of a new DG at ENEF-G, PhD student at Université Laval, Mr. Armand Yvon Mengome Ango was appointed Deputy Director-General. Elsehwere, the leaders of our partner institutions remained in place.

 

5) Communication and visibility strategy of projects



2.  The web site (http://www.projetfogrn-bc.ulaval.ca/) has been improved and updated to serve as a virtual media. It is subjected to continued update by the support unit of the project direction. A graduation ceremony for the first cohort of forest engineers was organized in presence of Congolese and Canadian authorities on june 1st, 2012 to underline the rebirth of technical and university forest training program in DRC. The FOGRN-BC project remains visible throughout Campus life during activity weeks of Forest sciences  and international development as well as during the annual colloquium of the Centre for forest research (CEF).

3.  Since August 20, 2012, Université Laval has become one among the 70  members of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). In fact, the faculty of forestry, geography and geomatics of Université Laval has directly contributed for the last four decades and continues to contribute to axis 7 «Capacity development, stakeholders’participation, Information, Formation» and  axis 8 «Research and Development» among the 10  stretegic axes prescribed in the convergence plan of the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC). As a regular member, Université Laval actively participated with the RIFFEAC in organizing the Information market on forest and environmental training  in the Congo bassin during the 12th meeting of the Congo basin partners in Douala (Cameroun) from 18 to 20 March 2013 and during the 13th of the CBFP in CBFP in Libreville (Gabon) from 1 to 4 December 2013, facilitated by the U.S. Federal Government. During this 13th Meeting, Professor Aliko Songolo from the University of Wisconsin in Madison introduced the University of Wisconsin-Madison-University of South Florida-Université Laval consortium established in October 2013. The American facilitator Mr Matthew V Cassetta welcomed this new initiative and encouraged enlargement of the consortium with other universities in the North working in the Congo Basin.

 

6) Conclusion



2.  As a whole, a substantial progress was made in regards to the implementation of FOGRN-BC, PEFOGRN-BC and other satellite projects in which we have witnessed the anticipated results. The FOGRN-BC project officially ends in December 2013. The Year 2014 will see the continuation of  major achievements awaited at the technical and university levels for the PEFOGRN-BC project and we will put together all efforts  towards achieving these results. On behalf of the whole project team at Laval, CERFO, the RIFFEAC coordination and all our partners in the Congo basin, Canada and elsewhere, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your nears a peaceful, healthy, happy and prosperous New Year 2014.

 

Sincerely yours
 
Damase Khasa, Professor, FOGRN-BC project Director and PEFOGRN-BC project Chief

Université Laval

Images credits: FOGRN-BC

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