GTBAC holds 18th meeting


The 18th meeting of the Central African Biodiversity Working Group held in Malabo from 26 to 29 November 2013 was hosted by the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat with financial and technical support from the GIZ-COMIFAC project and JICA. The meeting gathered representatives of COMIFAC countries, international organizations, civil society (REFADD, RAPAC) as well as the members of the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat.


Chaired by Mr. Raymond MBITIKON, COMIFAC’s Executive Secretary and jointly moderated by Ms. Prudence GALEGA and Mr. Chouaïbou NCHOUTPOUEN, the assigned objectives of the meeting were to:


-       review activities related to biodiversity strategies and action plans ;

-       review activities related to the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use (ABS);

-       discuss institutional arrangements for the implementation of two of COMIFAC’s subregional projects;

-       take stock of progress in drafting the 5th national reports on Biodiversity;

-       prepare for the second plenary meeting of the scientific and policy intergovernmental platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES)   ;

-       draw up and adopt GTBAC roadmap 2014

-       report and discuss the findings of subregional, regional and international meetings

In order to achieve these objectives, a participatory approach was adopted during plenary and break-out group sessions of the meeting which unfolded in three main stages.


  1. 1.    Opening ceremony

Four speeches were delivered on the occasion by: the GTBAC Manager, the GIZ Representative, the JICA Representative, the Executive Secretary of COMIFAC and the Secretary of State to the Ministry of Fisheries and Environment of Equatorial Guinea.

In their statements, they expressed gratitude to the host country for facilities provided for the meeting and welcomed participants who had made the trip to contribute to the smooth functioning of GTBAC. Acknowledging the meeting’s relevance, they called on the members of the group to rise to their obligation of investing into biodiversity and report back to COP 12.


  1. 2.    Plenary session

The plenary session allowed participants to assess:

  • the progress level of activities related to the review of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and ABS implementation at national and subregional level as well as drafting of the Fifth National Reports on Biodiversity;
  • Implementation of COP 11 decisions and the roadmap 2013.


Furthermore, it served as a platform for participants to listen to key presentations on:

  • training opportunities on nature conservation and related fields such as education, agriculture, etc. presented by JICA ;
  • the progress status of the elaboration of two subregional ABS-related projects, presented by GIZ and UNEP;
  • the stakes of the second IPBES session and the second meeting of the Ad-Hoc Open-Ended Committee for the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing.  


Finally, during the plenary session, participants renewed GTBAC’s Steering Team and discussed reports from the seminar on the Satoyama Initiative, meetings of the Article 8j Working Group, SBSTTA17, the Global NBSAP Review Forum, the validation workshop on the African Union’s ABS guidelines and the first meeting of the sub-Working Group on Protected Areas and Wildlife held respectively in Japan, Canada, Kenya, Ethiopia and Cameroon.


Over four days of intense deliberations punctuated by a leisure tour to view Equatorial Guinea’s biodiversity, participants took several resolutions (courtesy and work) and made recommendations.


Formulation of resolutions and recommendations


With respect to resolutions, they were of two types:

  • Courtesy, in which GTBAC expressed gratitude to the authorities of Equatorial Guinea for their hospitality, to GIZ and JICA for their financial and technical support and to UNEP for its contribution to the implementation of the Nagoya protocol through the ABS project. By extending these words of gratitude, GTBAC also expressed the hope that the assistance provided would continue uninterrupted.   
  • Work-related, GTBAC:

-             took note of progress made in activities relating to the review of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and ABS implementation at national and subregional level as well as drafting of the Fifth National Reports on Biodiversity and requested the countries to comply with respective timelines for the finalization of various reports;

-             adopted the roadmap  2014 ;

-             decided that the preparation strategy of the third meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Committee for the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing should be as follows:

  1. designation of three working groups
  2. discussions between the groups on various draft position papers;
  3. forwarding of draft position papers to the Steering Team for harmonization.


The process is set to end latest on 18 February 2014;


At this point, participants requested CBD Focal Points to:

ü  capitalize and implement the recommendations coming out of various meeting reports which were presented at GTBAC 18 ;

ü  step up efforts to implement COP 11 decisions  

ü  fill out the monitoring-evaluation sheet on the implementation of COP 11 and report back to  GTBAC 19 and 20 ;

ü  provide feedback on the IPBES work programme and forward these inputs to the IPBES Executive Secretariat.


Concerning recommendations, participants directed them towards:


The COMIFAC Executive Secretariat

-        to help facilitate participation of all CEFDHAC Networks in GTBAC  meetings;

-       to collaborate with IUCN, to consider the possibility of conducting a study on the set up of a subregional IPBES platform  ;


-       to hold a workshop to validate the project document (PRODOC) and a launch workshop for subregional ABS projects ;


-       to join the IPBES platform and designate Focal Points for that purpose;

-       to set up a national IPBES platform;

-       to appoint an SBSTTA Focal Point.


FIPAC Organizers, notably theExecutive Secretariats of COMIFAC, ECCAS and the Republic of Congo through the FIPAC Focal Point to ensure that the programme of work on article 8j is featured on the FIPAC 3 agenda.

The participants’ recommendations dropped the curtain on this 18th GTBAC meeting, in the hope of seeing significant progress in its activities which will be evaluated at the 19th meeting.


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