COP15-Towards a major mobilisation-High Level Side Event Saving our planet’s largest tropical lung and natural heritage –How the Congo Basin contributes to protecting global climate and biodiversity and how it should be supported. Room 512E

This High-level event would bring together Ministers and/or Senior Officials in a dialogue and discussion panel on the Fair Deal between Congo Basin (COMIFAC) Countries and the international community for the protection of biodiversity and forests in the Congo Basin.

 

 

THEME

 

Fair Deal at Work - Nature conservation areas as an example for linking biodiversity and climate: the protected areas must also be remunerated for their ecological services not only for biodiversity but also for regional and global climate (carbon storage). e.g. Salonga National Park is with 1.5 gigatons doted. With the revenues, local economic development can also be financed.

 

Actions to protect biodiversity, sustainably manage and restore the natural resources of the Congo Basin are an essential, viable pathway to prevent the collapse of our entire life support system for both human and animal, to the extent that the alteration of its biodiversity and, a fortiori, their disappearance will have consequences on the quality of life of populations at local, national and global levels. Thus, actions to support the region is increasingly recognized as a priority. The protection of the world’s second largest area of tropical rainforest after the Amazon which is distinguished by its outstanding biodiversity, exceptional natural heritage and high level of endemism, and protection of its other various ecosystems including wet- and peatlands is essential.

 

Central Africa currently has more than 200 protected areas covering a total of 800 000 km². The region is close to meeting the international and national protected area targets (including Aïchi). About 50% of these protected areas were created during the first two decades of the 21st century, including 20% ​​during the 2011-2020 United Nations decade for biological diversity. The conservation of the Central African forests is also essential for its 60 million inhabitants who depend on the countless environmental products and services that the forests provide. Further, the region plays a central role in climate regulation and carbon sequestration. Central Africa remains one of the few regions in the world that absorbs more carbon than it emits (Net Flux of 610 million tCo2) with a carbon sequestration capacity of about 60 billion tCo2 per year, including 30 billion tCo2 in its peatlands.

 

But this land, which has fed generations of Africans, is under increasing pressure. The rates of deforestation and forest degradation are on the rise. These issues require a concerted global response which recognizes the international importance and responsibility for preserving its forests, natural resources and biodiversity.

 

The “Declaration of commitment by COMIFAC member states to the forests of Central Africa and call for equitable financing” (the so-called Fair Deal) , signed in September 2021 in Berlin at the Tropical Forest Symposium organized by the Federal Republic of Germany in collaboration with the CBFP Facilitation, and the “COP26 Congo Basin Joint Donor Statement” adopted at COP 26 in Glasgow, build the political underpinning of this high-level event.  The CoP 26 Congo Basin Joint Donor Statement includes a financial commitment of US$1.5 billion for the next 5 years (2021-2025). This landmark announcement is intended as a clarion call from a small group of donors who recognize the historical underfunding of the Congo Basin. It is a starting point for increased engagement and support that aims to direct greater investment and political attention towards protecting the Congo Basin forests in the coming years.

This proposed Side Event will provide a discussion platform on the  “Fair Deal”, thereby addressing the protection, sustainable use, and good governance of the Central African forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin by the riparian countries of COMIFAC in exchange for an adequate share of international climate and biodiversity funds.

Objective and expected results

This event will make the case for a new "climate/biodiversity dair deal", in which an adequate share of climate/biodiversity funding and political commitment relative to their global value as biodiversity and as carbon sink would be directed towards the Congo Basin ecosystems. The discussion initiated at this event will serve to catalyze a long-term dialogue and partnerships across the region to strengthen the ambitions of donor community and Central African countries.

The event will also be an opportunity to showcase the COMIFAC countries' efforts in the field of conservation of biodiversity and sustainable management.

 

Speakers:

The Organizer will secure speakers and partners that will inform the global negotiations with insights and recommendations. The speakers will bring together ministers and/or Seniors Officials of ECCAS/COMIFAC member countries and Ministers and/or Seniors Officials of CBFP Donor countries as well as representatives from international organizations, civil society, private sector, science and other practitioners.

 

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