Dialogue on Initiatives for REDD Readiness in the Congo Basin

riverAt the invitation of the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC) and the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), a one-day meeting was hosted by WWF in Washington DC on 23rd October 2008. The purpose was to increase mutual understanding about and collaboration among a number of new initiatives that are intended to assist the countries of the Congo Basin to prepare themselves for developing and implementing activities to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) in line with the Bali Action Plan of the UNFCCC.

Some 65 people representing 45 organisations attended the meeting, including National UNFCCC Focal Points, representatives of multilateral and bilateral donor agencies, philanthropic organization and NGOs. This was followed by a ½ day work session among the National UNFCCC Focal Points with representatives of several of the donor initiatives and technical assistance agencies to refine the work programme begun earlier this year in work sessions among the six National Focal Points from the Congo Basin facilitated by the French ONFI. This Washington meeting was but a single milestone in an ongoing process to engage a widening spectrum of stakeholders in actions to address global climate change by appropriate outreach, consultation and concrete activities.

A notable outcome of this meeting was the recognition of the importance and urgency for the Congo Basin countries to develop an integrated set of policies that reflect the interests of the region within the ongoing negotiations of the UNFCCC.  In addition, the need was identified for operational actions to achieving “readiness” to implement activities to reduce current and future CO2 emissions from deforestation and degradation and to maximize benefits from financial mechanisms linked to the UNFCCC negotiations that are designed to support this objective. The participants and organizers recognize that these outputs represent only a milestone in the process of developing the capacity within the Congo Basin countries to maximize their potential contributions to reducing the risks of catastrophic climate change and their potential to access the financial resources needed to realize these contributions to global climate stabilization.

All of participants in this exercise are committed to continuing collaboration and to expanding the meaningful participation of stakeholders from the groups most affected by climate change and by REDD initiatives.  A series of regionally based activities are anticipated that will engage primary stakeholders in both the design and implementation of “readiness” activities.

For further information, please contact Brandi Klotz (brandi.klotz@wwfus.org ) +1 202.495.4790

Picture: Richard Caroll, WWF-US

Download the meeting's summary

Download a working-draft version of the “work plan” developed by the National UNFCCC Focal Points, in consultation with representatives of the participating initiatives, that outlines a series of concrete actions to develop and implement national REDD readiness strategies. The work plans are intended to be “living” documents to be updated and revised as countries in the region move forward as a group and individually to refine and implement programmes to reduce deforestation and forest degradation and to address the social and environmental issues that such programmes will inevitably raise.

The background documents circulated prior to the meeting, presentations given by the participants and additional materials compiled as “annexes” can also be accessed on CBFP's website.

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