Bonn, 16 November 2017 : “Further, Faster Ambition Together” has been the motto of the Climate Conference these last two weeks (CoP 23). This call to reboost joint action was taken to heart during the CAFI event convened by Nicolas Hulot, French Minister for Ecological and Solidarity transition. Against a background of dramatic acceleration of deforestation in the Central African region, Ministers from Central African and donor countries gathered to reflect on CAFI's successes and challenge, and reflect on how to enhance efforts.
The event kicked off with the premiere of a 5-min documentary film “Central African Forests: Key to a Cooler Future for All of Us” (bit.ly/CAFI-FILM-EN) narrated by Hollywood A-lister Djimon Hounsou. The film, shot in Gabon and DRC, emphasizes the importance of rainforests for local populations – such as food, shelter, revenues - and for the whole world (amongst which climate, biodiversity and security). Recalling the efforts undertaken by CAFI partner countries to preserve these forests in spite of growing pressures, the short fillm ends with a vibrant call to more collaboration, more alignment, and engagement from all stakeholders.
Nicolas Hulot shook up the audience with opening remarks : “Humankind's greed for land can be limitless. The planet just won't survive the loss of its forest ressources. Without Central African forests, we won't meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement". ”This path is not an easy one", he added, "but it is the only one. Let’s not repeat the mistakes we did in the past. Let’s not wait until it is too late to act”.
Equally committed to action is the Presidency of Gabon, represented by its Secretary General Guy Rossatanga. Recalling the latest alarming figures presented at the onset of CoP23, he ensured that "Through its mandates at the Commitee of African Heads of States and Governments on Climate Change and the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, Gabon will spare no effort to mobilize all relevant actors to contribute to the success of the Paris Agreement".
France, who hosted the event, is succeeding Norway for the CAFI presidency, an opportunity for M. Vidar Helgesen, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, to reflect on CAFI’s achievements over the past two years. He emphasized the political dialogue and high level engagement that CAFI was able to promote, translating into ambitious commitments taken through 2 Letters of Intent (DRC and Gabon). He outlined seven essential elements for CAFI to deliver results : “Strengthened governance is key to success. Norway is committed to be a long-term and credible partner of forest countries that embark on this challenge in a serious way". Upon handing over the CAFI Declaration to the French Government as a symbolic gesture of the CAFI presidency hand-over, he welcomed "the new French captain of the CAFI ship".
"France is proud to support CAFI and to take on the presidency of a partnership, that allows us, together, to be the stewards of the Central African forests", responded Nicolas Hulot. Under the new French presidency, CAFI will continue to nurture high level political dialogue by mobilizing diplomatic networks; endeavor to mobilize additional resources and align cooperation agendas; and change perceptions about the region, then explained Cyrille Pierre of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.
Two Ministers spoke on behalf of the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo : the Minister of Finance and head of the Steering Comittee of the National REDD+ Fund, declared, via a video message from Kinshasa : "We have made numerous commitments, including land use planning reform that establishes our forests as a natural capital that must not be wasted. We are also aware of the critical importance to strengthen forest governance and thus effectively promote the sustainbel management of our ressources". Completing these remarks in Bonn, the Minister of Environment clarified that "there will be no lifting of the moratorium [on logging concessions] until all conditions of the Presidential Decree of 2005, as well as the technical modalities defined in the Letter of Intent signed with CAFI, are met".
Germany Ministry of Agriculture Birgit Gerhardus welcomed this clarification, emphasizing the need for participation of local communities and strengthened local and national administrations.
Concluding the governmental segment, Grégoire Nkéoua of the Republic of Congo presented the country's draft National REDD+ Investment plan, centered around 5 strategic axes.
The event concluded with call for action to responsible investors, launched by Edit Kiss of Mirova-Althélia. Recalling many untapped opportunities as well as governments' efforts to mitigate major risks, she noted that "One of the biggest bottlenecks for responsible investors in Central Africa is the pipeline of bankable projects. The CAFI incubator would be a great first concrete step to help solving it".
Private sector call for action to responsible investors
Mrs. Edit Kiss, Operations Director at Mirova-Althelia
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