Supporting efforts to protect the forests of the Congo Basin

Project description

Title: Support for the Congo Basin Forest Partnership
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe
Lead executing agency: Commission des Forêts d'Afrique Centrale (COMIFAC), Commission of Central African Forests
Overall term: 2020 to 2022

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Context

Central Africa is home to the second-largest contiguous expanse of tropical forest in the world. Its conservation is of the utmost importance for the global climate and for biodiversity. More than half of this forest is located in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The forests of the Congo Basin cover a total of 240 million hectares. They store some 25 per cent of all the carbon stored in the world’s tropical forests. However, the surface area and storage capacity of the forests are diminishing because of population growth and the need for land and firewood. To cater to these needs, and also to generate income for the population, forests are being converted for other uses, such as agriculture. Soil fertility is increasingly declining as a result, which in turn is adversely affecting ecosystems.

This is why the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) was created at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. This Partnership is contributing to regional forest conservation via a large and diverse membership. Besides the ten riparian states with extensive forests, the members also include donor countries, international and civil society organisations, universities, research institutions and the private sector. In January 2020, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) took over facilitation of the Partnership.

Objective

The Partnership contributes to the international visibility of the Congo Basin. Thanks to the CBFP, the second-largest ‘green lung’ of our planet is gaining a stronger voice. The Partnership is coordinating and intensifying efforts for the protection and sustainable use of the forests. Natural resource management is improving as a result and raising living standards in the Congo Basin. The member states are harmonising their environmental and forest policies and improving the management of transboundary protected areas.

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Approach

The project ensures the functioning of the CBFP and raises international awareness of this important natural area. This is achieved by maintaining the Partnership’s wide network, preparing political agreements, introducing new topics and organising summit meetings.

The roadmap of Germany’s CBFP facilitation includes the following key topics:

  1. Implementing the N'Djamena Declaration with a view to overcoming the growing environmental, security and social challenges arising from increased pastoralism in the Sahel and Central Africa.
  2. Developing a common position among CBFP members in the negotiations on the Rio Conventions.
  3. Stepping up the dialogue with Chinese partners: China is one of the principal markets for Central African wood, accounting for 60 per cent of exports. This is why joint solutions are necessary to protect the forests.
  4. Dynamising the internal organisational and coordination capacity and continuation of work priorities of previous chair states.

The project coordinates essential activities jointly undertaken by the stakeholders and improves the CBFP’s networking, communications and PR work. It also holds annual member conferences and thematic events. These provide an opportunity for exchanging information, introducing new approaches and coordinating activities. The members are also always active in various working groups.

Currently, the project is helping to organise the BMZ Tropical Forest Symposium scheduled for July 2021. It is also working more closely with the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI).

Results

The annual CBFP Council meeting was held in Kinshasa in December 2020. Members worked on adopting a common position for important international conferences – such as the United Nations Climate Change Conference and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Civil society organisations also took part and coordinated activities at regional level.

Last update: April 2021

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