As COP28 kicked off on November 30 in Dubai (UAE), the ATIBT, represented by its members, is working to put tropical forests at the heart of solutions to combat climate change. Unfortunately, the issue of forests is not really at the forefront of this COP, making our advocacy and awareness-raising work all the more necessary.
Forests are largely absent from the official agenda of this COP, and we regret that the sustainable forestry-wood sector is not presented as a solution for mitigating climate change. Ambitious new CO2 capture technologies are being developed and presented at COP28, while a natural solution exists and deserves to be better promoted: trees...
Numerous standards, such as Verra, are present, and many discussions focus on market mechanisms, but little on the solutions themselves.
The subject of biodiversity credits and certificates is becoming increasingly important in the exchanges.
Against this backdrop, the ATIBT made several presentations at the event. It was also represented on site by the co-secretary of its Carbon & Biodiversity Commission, Pierre Schueller (TEREA), and took part in various events.
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On Monday December 4, ATIBT and its members organized an event at the COMIFAC/CBFP Pavilion on the theme of "Sustainable management of tropical forests through the prism of carbon and green finance: towards a new paradigm", moderated by Pierre Schueller. Speakers included Benoît Demarquez (TEREA), who spoke about the evolution of forestry practices in the Congo Basin since the 1990s, and Pierre Schueller, who gave an overview of forest carbon markets in Central Africa, highlighting the limits and opportunities that exist today for the region and the sector, José Canchaya (Maderacre) described the development of Maderacre's REDD+ project in Peru, showing the way forward for the Congo Basin, and finally Fabiola Flex (aDryada, President of OBC), who presented the OBC initiative aimed at valorizing the positive impact of projects in favor of biodiversity, and thus the development of a new market for biodiversity certificates, a new opportunity in particular for tropical forests.
Burundi's Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock and current Chairman of the COMIFAC Council of Ministers, Prosper DODIKO, and the new CBFP co-facilitator for Gabon, Dr. Aurélie Flore Koumba Pambo, attended the side-event and exchanged views with the speakers on carbon and biodiversity strategies for Central African countries.
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Jacqueline Lardit also took part in the COMIFAC/CBFP pavilion on Friday, as part of the CBFP's multi-stakeholder dialogue, on the theme of "The Role of Forests in Combating Climate Change".
Chaired by the current President of COMIFAC, the CBFP Co-Facilitator for the Gabonese Republic and His Excellency Christophe Guilhou, Co-Facilitator for the French Republic of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, CBFP stakeholders discussed ways of supporting the protection and sustainable management of Congo Basin forests, and of enabling stakeholders to appropriate the strategic axes of the CBFP 2023-2025 roadmap in a simplified format.
To the question "What are you doing to protect the Congo Basin Forests?", Jaqueline recalled that the ATIBT promotes sustainable forest management and forest certification, requiring certification for members and a chain of custody for timber importers. And when asked how payments for Ecosystem Services can help protect forests, Jacqueline pleaded for win-win solutions, involving remuneration for forest owners (states) and users, in order to accelerate payments for environmental and social services, a key issue in financing the sustainable management of tropical forests.
Jacqueline Lardit also spoke of ATIBT's participation in the Macao forum, co-organizing a session on certification. Jacqueline welcomed ITTO's initiative for sustainable supply chains and noted the growing commitment of Chinese companies to transparent timber traceability.
Germain Yéné, ASP PACTE VERT Project Manager, will be speaking on Sunday December 10 at 11:30 a.m. at an event organized by CIRAD-CIFOR-EFI-PFBC on the theme of "Combating deforestation: what are the implications of the European Union regulation on imported deforestation for the countries of the Congo Basin". The aim is to improve understanding of the EU regulation on imported deforestation among stakeholders, in particular the governments of Congo Basin countries, and to enable an exchange of views on the opportunities and challenges of the regulation for the sub-region.
However, a number of announcements were also made during the week, helping to raise the profile of forests and timber. In particular, 17 countries pledged to increase the amount of wood used in construction by 2030, in order to bring climate solutions to the construction sector. For this measure to be truly effective, it will be necessary to ensure that tropical wood is taken into account. Kenya, through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, has called on local and international partners to sponsor a major campaign to plant 15 billion trees by 2032. Lastly, the African Development Bank expressed its interest in biodiversity certificates.