Description/achievement of initiative
The Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) is a multi-stakeholder partnership founded in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg with currently 119 members. The aim of the partnership is to coordinate and intensify efforts to protect and sustainably use forest resources in the Congo Basin. This includes improving the conservation and management of natural resources, fighting against Climate Change, and raising the standard of living of the local population. Furthermore, the CBFP is committed to harmonising the environmental policies of the member states and to improving the management of transboundary protected areas.
As a non-binding and voluntary initiative, the CBFP is built around a set of informal structures that enable vibrant dialogue, collaboration and exchanges, thereby fostering the emergence of convergent views on key issues relating to protection and sustainable management of Congo Basin forests.
Cooperation within the CBFP aims to support the shared vision of the Central African Heads of State, notably by improving efficiency of measures -including technical and financial assistance - to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of forest ecosystems, combat climate change and reduce poverty in Central African countries in line with the COMIFAC Convergence Plan.
To this end, CBFP partners implement these measures in a bid to:
• Tackle drivers of deforestation, ease pressure on primary or naturally regenerated forests
• Protect biodiversity and wildlife by strengthening the conservation-security- development nexus including transhumance
• Promote good forest governance, sustainable use of resources and land
• Combat climate change and its effects
• Improve the living conditions of local communities, encompassing respect for human rights
Annual Meetings of Parties (MoP) complemented by thematic events provide opportunities to exchange information, discuss current and new approaches, coordinate and prioritise activities and hold high-level political dialogues. Beyond the face-to-face events, members are consistently engaged in various colleges and working groups or work streams. The MoP provides partners with the opportunity to exchange information about their respective programs, including details of specific contributions and resources committed to the Congo Basin Forest Partnership and opportunities for collaboration. Through the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, the second most important green lung of our planet is given a stronger voice at the international level. In December 2020, the CBFP Council meeting was held in Kinshasa, where CBFP members had the opportunity to work on a common positioning for important international conferences such as the CBD COP 15, the UNFCCC COP 26, the World Forestry Congress and the IUCN World Conservation Congress.
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
The partnership brings together 119 partners engaged in the Congo Basin. More than 500 participants attend its annual Meeting of parties. No other regional initiative assembles such a diverse and ever-growing number of collaborating actors. A wide variety of partners from a broad spectrum come into dialogue with one another. They work on joint cross-sectoral and sustainable solutions.
The CBFP collaborates closely with the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC), the technical entity of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) responsible for the conservation and sustainable management of forest ecosystems in the Congo Basin. It ensures the implementation of international conventions and forest development initiatives in Central Africa. COMIFAC’s Convergence Plan is the platform that defines the strategic lines and priority actions for achieving the Central African States’ common vision for conservation and sustainable management of the Congo Basin forests.
The Observatory of Central African Forests (OFAC - Observatoire des Forêts d'Afrique Centrale) is a specialized unit of the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC) that makes available up-to-date and relevant data on the region's forests and ecosystems, with the aim of informing political decision-making and promoting better governance and sustainable management of natural resources. The approach adopted in designing the OFAC, which prioritises the use of human resources from within the region, makes the development of the observatory an exercise in capacity building at the national and regional levels. OFAC, the technical and scientific branch of COMIFAC, is based in 10 member states through units called National Coordinations whose role is to supervise the national reference data collection process. Other data are provided by the private sector (i.e. loggers), NGOs, managers of protected areas and all the members of the CBFP.
OFAC has for example developed a tool to inventory projects, experts, institutions and training connected with environmental management in Central Africa. The tool comprises a series of databases, interrelated to allow the user to see who is doing what, where and how. This tool enables users to obtain a cross-cutting view of initiatives in COMIFAC countries, to strengthen synergy among actors in the sector and to monitor the implementation and results of actions undertaken by CBFP partners.
The flagship products of the partnership in terms of capacity building:
• Support from CBFP partners to OFAC: https://pfbc-cbfp.org/synthesis-FRA.html
o Coordination and harmonisation of data
o The state of the forests of the Congo Basin (SoF) since 2005
o The state of protected areas in Central Africa
o Mapping of partner interventions
o Mapping of Transhumance
• Support for the Executive Secretariat of COMIFAC and the Presidency in office:
o Institutional and organisational strengthening of COMIFAC
o Support for the various COMIFAC working groups on the United Nations conventions:
Climate Working Group, Biodiversity Working Group, Desertification Working Group, Governance Working Group.
o Support for the international participation of the Congo Basin in international events on forest, climate and biodiversity
Coordination mechanisms/governance structure
Consistent with its non-binding and voluntary character, CBFP is governed through a flexible structure:
CBFP ANNUAL MEETING OF PARTIES
The annual CBFP Meeting of Parties serves as the “General Assembly” of the Partnership. This meeting is held annually in one of the COMIFAC Member States and brings together all CBFP stakeholders.
CBFP members are grouped into seven colleges based on their role and organizational type.
The CBFP Council is composed of two representatives of each CBFP college and is chaired by the CBFP Facilitation.
The CBFP is led on a voluntary basis by one of its members, which serves as Facilitator and plays a key role in fostering effective dialogue and cooperation within the Partnership. Furthermore, in close cooperation with the regional states, it provides new impulses through proposing focus topics.
The CBFP was initially facilitated by the U.S. from 2003-2004, by France from 2005-2007, by Germany from 2008-2010 and by Canada from 2010-12. The U.S. assumed the facilitation again, for the period 2013-15, and was succeeded by the European Union from 2016-2017 and the Kingdom of Belgium 2018-2019.
For the second time, Germany is currently providing the CBFP Facilitation for the period 2020-2022 with Dr Christian Ruck as facilitator.
CBFP Governance structure: https://pfbc-cbfp.org/governance-structure.html
The partnership brings together the ten member states of the COMIFAC, donor countries, international organizations, international NGOs, universities and research institutions, private sector actors and the most important civil society structures in the region. The number of members is growing continually. For information on how to become a CBFP member, please refer to our website (https://pfbc-cbfp.org/join-CBFP.html). The CBFP currently has 119 members assembled in seven colleges:
• The CBFP Regional College:
o Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)
o Commission des Forêts d'Afrique Centrale (COMIFAC)
o Central African Republic
o Democratic Republic of Congo
o Equatorial Guinea
o Republic of Congo
o São Tomé and Príncipe
• The CBFP Civil Society College:
Amongst others Conférence sur les écosystèmes des forêts denses et humides d'Afrique centrale (CEFDHAC), Réseau des jeunes des forêts d’Afrique Centrale (REJEFAC), Réseau des Organisations de la Société Civile pour l'Economie Verte en Afrique Centrale (ROSCEVAC) https://pfbc-cbfp.org/members-colleges.html
• The CBFP International NGO College:
Amongst others African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) https://pfbc-cbfp.org/members-colleges.html
• The CBFP Private Sector College:
Amongst others Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), The Forest Trust (TFT) https://pfbc-cbfp.org/members-colleges.html
• The CBFP Donor College:
o African Development Bank (AfDB)
o European Union
o South Africa
o United Kingdom
o United States of America
o World Bank
• The CBFP Scientific and Academic College:
Amongst others Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), African Forest Policies & Politics (AFORPOLIS) (Goettingen University), Tropical Ecology Research Institute (IRET) https://pfbc-cbfp.org/members-colleges.html
• The CBFP Multilaterals College:
Amongst others Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) https://pfbc-cbfp.org/members-colleges.html