Brazzaville Declaration Reaffirms Central Africa’s Commitment to REDD+
The Declaration recognizes REDD+ as a “crucial” mechanism in the global fight against climate change and highlights the region’s desire to work with the UN-REDD Programme.
|Environment ministers, experts, UN and donor representatives gather outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Brazzaville, The Republic of the Congo, after the opening ceremony of the COMIFAC Ministerial meeting on 20 April 2010.
In an unprecedented show of support for REDD+ in the Central African region, the Commission of Central African Forests (COMIFAC) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) came together and released the “Brazzaville Declaration” at the end of April which formally states their commitment to sustainably manage their forest resources.
The declaration came out of a special session of COMIFAC’s Council of Ministers held in Brazzaville, The Republic of the Congo from 19-21 April. Environment ministers and forestry experts from Central Africa gathered to analyze the implications of the Copenhagen Accord and the International Conference on Major Forest Basins, held in 11 May 2019 in Paris, and to adopt a common position leading up to the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference, to be held 27 May 2010, which will seek to define an interim arrangement for how global REDD+ efforts will be managed and governed.
The Brazzaville declaration states that, “Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, as well as conservation, sustainable management of forests and increasing forest carbon stocks (REDD+) are crucial for global efforts for the fight against climate change.”
It reaffirms that member countries of ECCAS-COMIFAC are determined to continue their efforts to “sustainably manage their forest resources and their rural landscapes,” but it also calls upon the international community to urgently provide US$200 million to support Congo Basin countries’ initial readiness actions and collaboration with key implementing partners, including the UN-REDD Programme and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), hosted by the World Bank.
The Declaration also calls on international community support for, “the funding of Phase 2 in ECCAS-COMIFAC REDD+ member countries,” which would enable them to implement their national REDD+ strategies, with the help of various REDD+ initiatives including the UN-REDD Programme.
Congo Basin countries have stressed the importance of a regional approach to REDD+, highlighting institutions such as COMIFAC, the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF) and Congo Basin Forest Partnership as the means through which such an approach can be realized. Uniquely, they have also proposed a regional coordinator for REDD+ under COMIFAC, who would ensure cohesive coordination of efforts.
“The CBFF welcomes the Brazzaville COMIFAC Declaration as an important and renewed commitment from COMIFAC countries for REDD+. This declaration is an illustration of their willingness to continue to move as one regional bloc,” said Clotilde M. Ngomba, Coordinator for the CBFF.
“The message in the Brazzaville Declaration is very clear,” says Yemi Katerere, head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat. “Central African States are wholeheartedly committed to REDD+, but at the same time, they cannot move ahead alone. They require both technical and financial support to sustainably manage their forests, and that’s a message the international community needs to hear.”
Moving forward, the ministers at the International Conference on Major Forest Basins also agreed to hold a preparatory meeting of Ministers on the eve of the Oslo Conference to strengthen the position of Central African countries. To underscore the importance of a coordinated approach in the sub-region, the ministers also called for the appointment of an interim secretariat to facilitate the mechanism of mobilization and fund management at both the sub-regional and international levels and their willingness to engage actively in such a secretariat. The ministers also agreed on the need to establish a research group on climate in Central Africa, and ECCAS was requested to do all the preliminary studies.
Representatives from Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, The Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Chad attended the meeting of Ministers that drafted the Declaration. The meeting was also attended by representatives of national, sub-regional and development partners including The World Bank, FAO, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, CIFOR, IUCN, GTZ, WWF, CARPE/USAID, and the Norwegian Embassy in Angola.
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