Last week, from July 4 to 8, 2022, the 19th Meeting of the Parties of the CBFP was held in Libreville. This was an opportunity to draft several recommendations for the private sector, biodiversity, research, the fight against poverty among others, and for France to take over the facilitation of this organization from Germany.
Since its creation in 2002, the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) has brought together an ever-growing number of members. Today, nearly 120 partners grouped in 7 colleges are working for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable management of forest ecosystems in the Congo Basin, the fight against climate change and poverty reduction in Central Africa in member countries, in accordance with the COMIFAC Convergence Plan and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. More than 500 participants took part in its annual meeting of the parties. Partners with very different profiles had the opportunity to exchange with each other and work on common, cross-sectoral and sustainable solutions.
This 19th Meeting of the Parties was organized with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the German Technical Cooperation (GIZ).
Before coming back to the recommendations made specifically for the forestry and wood sector, we will first review the major announcements that marked this 19th meeting of the Parties:
o The launch of the 4th phase of the regional program for the environment in Central Africa (CARPE).
o The creation of a Task Force to develop procedures and modalities to ensure proper coordination of funding.
o Germany's commitment to provide 45 million euros (in addition to 1.5 billion dollars) over the next 5 years to support efforts to sustainably manage the forests of the Congo Basin.
o France's resumption of CBFP Facilitation for the period 2023-2024
On Thursday, July 7, a meeting of the private sector college was held. It was emphasized that the sectors represented should be expanded to include SMEs in the forest-wood sector and forestry and agroforestry plantation companies. This college currently includes 6 chambers, which were formalized at this meeting; potential leaders were also identified, including ATIBT through Jacqueline Lardit for the "Large forest-wood industry" chamber.
The participants also made several general recommendations for the CBFP, suggesting in particular to:
o Strengthen the functioning of the CBFP and its impact on forests by following up on the implementation of the recommendations made in the declarations of the Meetings of the Parties: clear objectives and deadlines should be agreed upon.
o Involve administrations and the private sector in other sectors.
o Better valorize waste wood in order to increase yields and the production of wood products without taking more trees from the forest.
Finally, it was proposed for the next Meeting of the Parties to make the different colleges less compartmentalized in order to develop a landscape approach including all stakeholders, and to organize a meeting carbon, PES and biodiversity.
In addition, invited by ATIBT, participants in Stream 1b "Conditions and Prospects for a Sustainable Timber Economy" worked together for two days in four sessions on legal and sustainable timber production, third-party forest management certification, social forestry, and timber processing and industry development. Recommendations were made to:
o Improve forest management, in particular by encouraging and maintaining exchanges between researchers, administrations and the private sector; developing a regulatory framework to prepare management plans for the second rotation; identifying markets for LKST products.
o Improve the image and reputation of forest governance in Central Africa, e.g. through remote sensing, fiscal incentives for forest certification, and coaching and support for companies.
o Strengthen social forestry and reduce population pressure by adopting a comprehensive approach to the management of community forests, communal forests, … to integrate different commercial activities and wildlife management, and by creating links between community forests and national markets.
o Better develop forest resources and the supply of legal wood to the domestic market, which implies in particular to offer SME and SMI operators a stable regulatory framework, and to strengthen the links between industrial and artisanal companies for the supply of wood.
These working sessions resulted in a series of final recommendations for Stream 1b, covering all the topics discussed during these two days. Françoise van de Ven, president of ATIBT, presented these final recommendations in plenary session on July 8.
Finally, the CBFP was also an opportunity to meet with a wide variety of actors from all sectors, and for ATIBT it was another opportunity to meet with professional unions from Cameroon, Gabon, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as a variety of NGOs, ministerial authorities from the countries in the sub-region, donors, and the Executive Director of ITTO.