29 Sep 2015Representatives of six African nations, the Federal Republic of Brazil and four European countries, the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, and specialized UN agencies, announced today an unprecedented initiative to halt deforestation and forest degradation.
The Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) brings new urgency to efforts to slash greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. The Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Republic of Equatorial Guinea and Republic of Gabon, Federal Republic of Brazil, Federal Republic of Germany, Kingdom of Norway, Republic of France, and United Kingdom of Great Britain Northern Ireland, and European Union, recognize that environmental sustainability is critical to reduce poverty, ensure better resilience and contribute to inclusive sustainable growth.
“Tonight Central African governments stand ready to confirm their commitment through high-level investment frameworks spanning all the sectors behind the loss of forests while development partners commit to further financial resources and the alignment of their assistance,“ said Ms. Helen Clark Administrator of UNDP.
CAFI calls for the six African countries to devise national investment plans—supported by the highest levels of government and across government sectors—that tackle the complex factors leading to deforestation.
“The DRC welcomes the establishment of the CAFI initiative which provides an essential platform for dialogue and coordination of funding (…), with its investment plan, DRC aims to generate two major impacts: emissions reductions and co-benefits in terms of sustainable development and poverty reduction.”, said Mr. Henri Yav Mulang the DRC Minister of Finance.
Donors are coordinating their efforts through a multi-donor trust fund, managed by the UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTFO). Through the Fund and parallel support, donors will be able to deliver multi-year, country-based development funding more efficiently and predictable.
Ms. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, explained the rationale behind the Fund: “It will bridge a huge funding gap and concentrate financial assistance in a region that thus far has not benefited from the same amount of funding as other forested regions.”
Central Africa’s rainforest is second only in size to the Amazon and a source of food and incomes for millions of people. They also shelter diverse plants and animals, including gorillas, bonobos and the iconic okapi. The Democratic Republic of Congo is home to the largest swathe of forest in the region, but large stretches cover Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo.
Addressing issues concerning unsustainable agriculture, wood energy use, forestry and infrastructure development will be the main challenges, but development partners were hopeful that the region stands at a turning point.
Mr Etienne Massard, Secretary General of the Gabonese Presidency, congratulated “the Government of Norway and the other donors that have come together to launch CAFI. This initiative has the potential to make a real contribution to improved forest management and preservation in Equatorial African. Gabon looks forward to working with other countries in the region through this initiative, to share its advances in land use planning, monitoring of forest trends using satellite technology and forest carbon inventory.”
The agreement prioritizes long-term solutions that reap results over short-term, one-time actions. Norway is the first country to pledge funds to CAFI – up to $47 million dollars per year through 2020 — to support the initiative
“Achieving sustainable economic and social development is a prerequisite for combating deforestation in Central Africa. These vast and unique rainforests are of great value to the region, the world and to our common future and survival. I am excited that Central African countries are eager to take on the challenge of preserving these forests, while improving the lives of people living there. Norway is ready to support these efforts,” Mrs. Tine Sundtoft, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, said.
The Initiative will not only benefit from the trust fund but also from ongoing support from other donors. In addition, the Federal Republic of Brazil is joining this initiative to support capacity building, knowledge sharing and expertise in the implementation of policies that may contribute to fulfilling the objectives set by CAFI. All the development actors joining the Initiative recognize the importance of coordinating their support to the Central African countries in their efforts to combat deforestation and forest degradation.
“Forests are part of the solution to the climate challenge, both for adaptation and mitigation. We can not succeed at COP21 without large-scale action to protect forests in the world, in Africa but also in Latin America and Asia. Addressing the challenge of financing for REDD +, CAFI seeks to provide a lasting solution to the protection of forests in the Congo Basin,” said Ms. Annick Girardin, French Minister for Development and Francophony
This innovative and financially unprecedented Initiative is an encouraging step towards the goals of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP21, in December. Partners encourage additional donors to join the Initiative in the lead to the Paris climate talks and beyond.
(Mr) Dylan Lowthian
UNDP Communications Analyst
Tel.: +1 (212) 906 5516
(Ms) Sandra Macharia
UNDP Regional Communications Adviser
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: +251 115 170 852
(Ms) Berta Pesti
UNDP Geneva (UNREDD+)
Tel: +41 22 9178381