News  |  10.09.2021

COMIFAC and Germany jointly commit to strengthening the protection of the Congo Basin forests

As relayed by COMIFAC and CBFP a "Congo Basin Forest Day" was held on September 7 in Berlin, on the sidelines of the Tropical Forest Symposium, chaired by the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller.

COMIFAC and Germany jointly commit to strengthening the protection of the Congo Basin forests

The meeting was attended by eight ministers from Central African countries that are members of COMIFAC (Burundi, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad). Rwanda was represented by the Director General of Forests.

During the ceremony, the "Declaration of Commitment of COMIFAC Member States for the Forests of Central Africa and the Call for Equitable Financing" was presented and an aide-memoire of the Congo Basin Forest Day was signed by Germany and COMIFAC.

Gerd Müller's signature represents Germany's pledge to work in the international political scene to ensure that the tropical forests of the Congo Basin receive a fair share of climate and biodiversity funds. In return, the Congo Basin signatories agree to take on more responsibility for forest protection. This "Fair Deal" contained in the Declaration was presented by the COMIFAC Chairman-in-Office and the Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany to a large, digitally connected audience in Germany, the Congo Basin and beyond.

A "Fair Deal" for the Congo Basin

With this Declaration, the Central African signatories recognize the services of the Congo Basin forests (CO2 storage capacity, genetic heritage, habitat and economic space) as a global public good and declare their joint commitment to the conservation of its natural resources, for example through:

  • Strengthening the role of the Congo Basin forests in the global climate debate;
  • Increasing privatization of protected area management;
  • Increasing opportunities for civil society and indigenous peoples to participate in decision-making processes;
  • The creation of a supra-regional exchange platform to contain transhumance (increased cattle that degrade forests);
  • And more reforestation measures where forests have already disappeared.

As a "return", the African signatories expect more technical, political and financial support from the global community and call for better coordination of international funding mechanisms and policy initiatives, as well as adequate and equitable access to climate and biodiversity finance and to global tropical timber markets, and greater promotion of high-value timber products.

A major line of this COMIFAC Declaration is in line with Gerd Müller's call for a "fair deal": an international commitment to the Congo Basin commensurate with its services to society. An assessment of the effectiveness of current protection instruments (e.g. REDD+) should also be useful.

The "Declaration of Commitment of COMIFAC Member States for the Forests of Central Africa and Call for Equitable Financing" will soon be available.