Report of the February 16, 2021 meeting of the National Group on Tropical Forests (GNFT)


This session was specifically devoted to present the progress of the Alliance for the Preservation of Tropical and Rainforests (APFTH) initiative to French civil society actors (NGOs, private sector, research organizations) who are members of the GNFT. You will find here the report written by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.

Presentation on the status of the APFTH initiative and upcoming timelines

Following an initial exchange with the members of the GNFT on the APFTH at a previous meeting of the GNFT (February 2020), the delegate made a commitment to exchange again with civil society actors on this issue. On the occasion of this meeting of February 16, 2021, Mr. Ambassador Pierre-Henri Guignard presented to the participants :

  • The list of supporting countries
  • The Principles, Missions and Objectives of the founding Charter, as adopted in July 2020 by the countries
  • An update on the steps taken by France and the supporting countries for the Permanent Representations of the United Nations in New-York
  • The next steps in this initiative (organization of the first meeting, designation of the presidency, organization of a call for support for the APFTH to a wider circle of countries in particular). 

Ms. Myriam Galland, from the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, also presented to the participants the state of progress and the ongoing negotiation process on the Annex to the Charter, devoted specifically to forest fire fighting.

Exchanges with participants

As proposed by the delegate in the invitation to the NTFG meeting, participants submitted several themes that they wished to address during this meeting on APFTH.

1. Civil society consultation and contribution to Alliance meetings

Points of response from the delegate and MEAE representatives :

  • From the outset, the President of the Republic wished that this initiative would closely associate actors from civil society, research and the private sector
  • France, through the GNFT, has the appropriate structure for this purpose
  • On the French side, the active participation of stakeholders is an essential component of the SNDI, CST Forests....
  • The contribution of interested French stakeholders to the preparation of the APFTH meetings will be made through the GNFT, with the possibility of trying to establish shared French positions

2. Alliance Action Plan

Points of response from the delegate and MEAE representatives :

  • Mobilization of other countries to support the APFTH
  • Organization of the first meeting, on the occasion of one of the international Climate/Environment meetings in 2021 and preparation of the topics to be discussed there.
  • Designation of the Presidency
  • Negotiations on the Annex (fire fighting) with the partners of the Alliance (States, International Organizations, competent services of the State in France)

3. APFTH Interactions with UNFCCC and CBD COPs, with NIDS

Points of response from the delegate and MEAE representatives :

  • Forests are directly concerned by the upcoming 3 COPs (Biodiversity / Climate / Desertification) and the IUCN World Congress.  France is strongly mobilized internationally on these issues.
  • The goal of APFTH members is to provide high visibility and a "voice" for tropical forests on each of these occasions.
  • In terms of substance : our wish is to prepare in advance of the COPs, on issues of common concern  (financial mobilization, sustainable value chains, fire fighting, for example), and with a view to the high-level meetings of the Alliance, comprehensive progress reports that will enable the heads of the Alliance member states to set clear and shared goals.
  • In the Fight Against Imported Deforestation (SNDI), the issue of sustainable value chains is an integral part of the main concerns of the Alliance members. For example, some field projects that the FR contribution to tropical forests has helped to finance, for example through the AFD or Conservation International, fully integrate this dimension.  On this subject, Ms Fanny Gautier, from Conservation International, gave an update on the "Our future forests" project (Amazon basin), financed by France as part of its mobilization for the APFTH.

4. Mobilization of consumer countries, particularly China and the US

Points of response from the delegate and MEAE representatives :

  • We all know about China's impact on tropical forests, in terms of consumption and logging. France, particularly in the context of bilateral exchanges with the Chinese authorities, systematically puts the issue of forests on the agenda for discussion. Mr Benoît Jobbé-Duval, for the ATIBT, also presented an update on the state of discussions between their association and the Chinese trade unions.
  • For the United States, a contact has been established with the new administration and a first exchange has already taken place on the APFTH with the American diplomatic representation in Paris. This is an issue that France will push in the coming weeks with the United States, if possible with the support of the Canadian authorities.
  • The MEAE also reiterated the importance of mobilizing India also on the subject of tropical forests.

5. Forest governance and corruption

Points of response from the delegate and MEAE representatives :

  • Reminder of the main points of the founding Charter of the APFTH that contribute to this objective : integrated land-use planning and management in line with long-term climate objectives, combating illegal mining, illegal logging and associated trade and wildlife trafficking, mobilizing funding for transparency and efficiency in all aspects of forest management, promoting, in conjunction with relevant stakeholders transparent, integrated, sustainable and inclusive land use, water and forest management practices, strengthening operational capacities to comply with laws and regulations by combining our efforts to contribute to the dismantling of land speculation networks or any illegal land use that may impact on forests, cross-border cooperation
  • In the spirit of the Alliance and its collaboration with competent international organizations, the possibility of working in collaboration with an important resource center in this field was also recalled : Interpol, in Lyon.

6. Financing for the protection of forests

Points of response from the delegate and MEAE representatives :

  • Reminder of the French commitment announced by the President of the Republic of a first allocation of $100 million to the APFTH
  • Reminder of the sums committed by France at this stage : Natural Capital Lab, a trust fund (€24 million) hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) focused on financial innovation for biodiversity - Financial participation in the "Our Future Forests" project of the NGO Conservation International, which consists of strengthening the territorial management of the Amazonian forest by relying on indigenous populations (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Brazil) (€16 million in 2020 out of a total of €23 million to be paid by France). -TERRAMAZ Project (AMAZONIAN TERRES), financed by the French Development Agency, implemented in several countries of the region (notably Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Peru) by French operators (CIRAD, ONF International...) for €9 M. - Fight against the spread of COVID-19 among the indigenous populations of the Amazon: €5 million have recently been deployed by France in response to the health emergency. Two types of actions are being carried out: bilateral projects worth €3.2 million led by the French Embassy in support of actors local authorities in Brazil (Manaus City Hall, Fundação Amazonas Sustentável -FAS /State of Amazonas, Indigenous Research and Training Institute /State of Amapa, Brazilian Red Cross) and a contribution of 1, 8 million for a regional emergency fund (Amazon Emergency Fund) managed by the US Rainforest Foundation for the benefit of COICA (Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin) (food aid, emergency health supplies, logistics, awareness-raising/prevention, coordination with states and local organizations). -Support (6M€ in 2019-2020) to the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI),
  • Mr Gilles Kleitz, from the AFD, also gave an overview of the current situation and prospects for AFD financing for forests, particularly tropical forests.

7. Human rights

This topic was proposed by the Canopée Association, within the framework of the day's discussions on the APFTH but also with a view to integrating this topic into the alert system of the SNDI platform.

Points of response from the delegate and representatives of the MEAE :

  • Proposal for the creation of a working group on the subject, in association with the French Ambassador for Human Rights, with the objective of arriving at French proposals by the time of the IUCN World Congress.

8. Population growth versus forest conservation

A significant amount of recent scientific research establishes links between overpopulation and environmental degradation, and more specifically deforestation, climate change, food insecurity, and resource depletion.  Population growth in Africa has been directly linked to unsustainable land development practices, which have justified calls for "multi-sectoral" strategies to address the interrelated problems of population growth, poverty, women's empowerment and environmental degradation. To the extent that population growth has been shown to be one of the drivers of environmental degradation, slowing population growth could have a real and significant impact on reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

In this aspect, the MEAE highlighted the current CAFI project on family planning in the DRC.

The subject of Trade Agreements was also on the agenda, but due to lack of time it was not possible to discuss it at this meeting.

[1] Engelman R. Family Planning and Environmental Sustainability: Assessing the Science.Washington, DC2016.

[2] Headey DD, Jayne TS. Adaptation to land constraints: Is Africa different? Food Policy. 2014;48:18-33.

[3] Neill  BC,  Dalton  M,  Fuchs  R,  Jiang  L,  Pachauri  S,  Zigova  K.  Global  demographic  trends  and  future  carbon  emissions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2010;107(41):17521.