The Federal Republic of Germany takes over the Facilitation of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership in 2020-2021
Berlin, Germany - 14 February 2019. The Federal Republic of Germany has agreed to take over the Facilitation of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) for the period 2020-2021. The country is indeed honoured and very pleased to take over this role and to continue the initiatives and work undertaken by the previous CBFP Facilitators, namely the Kingdom of Belgium, the European Union, Canada, France and the United States.
Dr. Christian Ruck has been appointed by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to serve as CBFP Facilitator for the next two years. Dr. Ruck is a seasoned, high-level politician with proven expertise and a keen interest in the Congo Basin. He has worked both at the German and international level, representing his country in numerous international fora and has accepted several important mandates.
Dr. Ruck was officially installed as CBFP Facilitator of the Republic of Germany on 14 February 2020 at BMZ Berlin during a solemn ceremony presided over by Dr. Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Member of the German Federal Government. This ceremony marked at the same time the official launch of the activities of the German Facilitation. It brought together Ambassadors of Central African countries, Ambassadors and diplomatic missions of donor countries, German parliamentarians and sectoral ministries concerned with the topic as well as national and international organizations.
"It is both an honour and a challenge for me to lead an initiative such as the CBFP," said the new facilitator, who was, among others, from 1990 to 2013 a Member of the Bundestag, the German Federal Parliament, from October 2002 to November 2009, Chairman of the Working Group on Economic Cooperation and Development of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group and from November 2009 to 2013, Dr. Ruck was Deputy-Chairperson of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group and in charge of Economic Cooperation and Development, Environment and Energy. In 2013, Dr Ruck assumed the position of Director of the KFW office in Cameroon, with a broad portfolio, including the forestry sector. More recently, he was with KFW in Tanzania covering the green sector portfolio.
"It is essential for the Federal Republic of Germany and the other CBFP partners to support the efforts that the countries of Central Africa are making to conserve and sustainably manage their natural resources and combat poverty. The sustainable development of the magnificent forests that these countries are home to is one of the keys to their future development. The preservation of their unique biodiversity and the control of the carbon stocks they contain are also global challenges that call for global solutions. This reflects the importance and global responsibility of humanity in the preservation of its forests, natural resources and biodiversity capital. But above all the positive impact that the conservation and sustainable management of these forests have on people's livelihoods and on the global climate. For these solutions to emerge, stakeholders need to come together and suggest relevant and effective strategic guidelines. This is why the CBFP is important, given the multiple pressures that threaten the integrity of its ecosystems, with a variety of causes related, among others, to the resource and policy governance framework, the security situation, socio-economic development and the effects of climate change.
"What can the Congo Basin Forest Partnership do? - Our joint partnership can develop or initiate problem analyses and corresponding solutions. It brings together allies, but also parties in conflict in an atmosphere of volunteerism and institutional flexibility. It can initiate, activate and support action programmes and transboundary agreements, and it can try to coordinate and align the multitude of donors, funds and programmes with a single ambition: the protection and sustainable use of the forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin.”
Dr. Ruck, the new facilitator, is pleased that the outgoing facilitation led by the Kingdom of Belgium from January 2018 to December 2019, has worked with partners to consolidate the CBFP’s governance, further develop and guide the partnership in the enhanced thematic and policy dialogue among partners.
"The Federal Republic of Germany's facilitation obviously intends to build on the results achieved by the Kingdom of Belgium's facilitation of the CBFP," Dr. Ruck said.
"My ambition is to promote, mobilize, strengthen/develop (interactions) for a transparent, concerted and appropriate multi-stakeholder leadership in view of a strong partnership to address critical threats and challenges to the forest ecosystems of Central Africa, its biodiversitý, and its populations, with a view to adopting relevant and realistic strategic and programmatic orientations that are effectively followed by concrete effects on the ground and a long-term impact, particularly through the relevant regional institutions (COMIFAC and ECCAS).
This ambition is to ensure and advance the conservation, sustainable use of natural resources leading to progress towards low-emission development, the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources and wildlife and the development of local and indigenous peoples, as formulated in 1999 in the Yaounde Declaration and operationally consolidated in 2005 in the Treaty establishing COMIFAC and reinstated in the cooperation framework of the CBFP partners".
To this effect, the new facilitation intends to propose two priorities to its partners:
- Firstly, the continuation of the good initiatives of the Belgian facilitation, namely : (1) the sustainable management of transhumance in a context of increasing herd sizes, (2) the cross-border fight against organised poaching which has destructive impacts, particularly on some emblematic species, is threatened and destabilises the living conditions of local populations and constitutes major threats to security in some cross-border regions of the Congo Basin, (3) and the inclusive dialogue with China.
- Secondly, as a new objective: sustainable uses, which have many facets, including: more effective payment for the ecological services of forest functions; improved management of protected areas with greater benefits for the local population; certification not only of forest concessions, but also of plantations or mining activities; initiatives for ecotourism and value-added processing of forest products; and finally support for all initiatives to restore and reuse degraded areas. The Facilitator emphasized in his address that "Concerted responses are now urgently needed, and the CBFP provides a framework for developing them".
A facilitation roadmap of the Federal Republic of Germany is being finalized in consultation with CBFP partners.
It will be shared with partners and posted on the CBFP website after its adoption by the parties in the coming weeks.
Note to publishers:
The Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) was established in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in response to United Nations General Assembly resolution 54/214, which called on the international community to support the efforts for the conservation and sustainable management of the forests of the Congo Basin, as reflected in the 1999 Yaounde Declaration of the Heads of State.
The Congo Basin Forest Partnership is affiliated with the partnerships of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. As a "Type 2" partnership, it is a multi-stakeholder partnership allowing member organizations to cooperate on a voluntary basis. The CBFP brings together 115 members, including 10 Central African countries and nearly a hundred partners concerned with the forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin (ECCAS, COMIFAC, partner countries, civil society of the Congo Basin, international NGOs, multilateral organizations, research and training institutions, private sector operators). Cooperation within CBFP aims to support this common vision of the Central African Heads of State, in particular by improving the effectiveness of the measures taken, including technical and financial support, in favour of biodiversity conservation and the sustainable management of forest ecosystems, the fight against climate change and poverty reduction in Central African countries in accordance with the COMIFAC Convergence Plan.
Cooperation and governance structure of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership
In keeping with its non-binding and voluntary nature, the CBFP does not have a formal institutional structure. Instead, it has a set of informal structures: CBFP Meeting of the Parties; CBFP Governing Council; CBFP Colleges; CBFP Facilitation.
The CBFP was initially facilitated by the United States from January 2003 to December 2004, France from January 2005 to October 2007, Germany from October 2007 to September 2010 and Canada from September 2010 to December 2012. The United States again assumed the Facilitation from May 2013 to December 2015, the European Union from January 2017 to December 2018. The Kingdom of Belgium from January 2018 to December 2019. The CBFP Facilitation is now led for the second time by the Federal Republic of Germany for the period 2020-2021.
The Federal Republic of Germany, which has been a member of the Partnership since the launch of the initiative in 2002, was one of the original supporters of the "Congo Basin Forest Partnership" at its inception. Eighteen years after this initial launch, the CBFP continues to flourish, currently boasting 115 members and an average of more than 500 participants in meetings of the parties. Better still, the CBFP is, without a doubt, a capital for our actions today and a hope for our future achievements. It represents one of the good examples of the concept of multi-stakeholder partnerships, contributing to intergovernmental, multi-stakeholder engagement.
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