Toward restoration progress in Central Africa and beyond

The 3rd African Regional High-Level Roundtable on the Bonn Challenge will take place this week (14-15 March) in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. This forum provides a unique opportunity to discuss issues and stimulate actions with partners supporting forest landscape restoration in Central Africa and beyond.

lake in background with agriculture and shacks in foreground

The third African regional Bonn Challenge event brings together ministers, technical experts and representatives from the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC), and representatives of strategic corporate and other relevant international and regional organisations.* COMIFAC has taken the lead role in this roundtable, in collaboration with the government of the Republic of Congo and IUCN.

In 2016, COMIFAC endorsed the Kigali Declaration – a Pan-African commitment to profile leadership, build regional cooperation and accelerate implementation of the forest landscape restoration (FLR) approach, which is principal to the Bonn Challenge global restoration aspiration. In this way, COMIFAC countries have committed to reverse negative trends to forests and land degradation in Central Africa.

Globally, Bonn Challenge commitments have surpassed 160 million hectares, with approximately half of those pledges coming from 19 African countries. Central Africa is a regional leader in terms of Bonn Challenge pledges. To date, seven COMIFAC countries have pledged 34.6 million hectares, representing more than 22% of the current global total – demonstrating that the region is instrumental in leading the global FLR movement.

Although many Central African countries are demonstrating leadership by undertaking restoration opportunity assessments and designing implementation activities on restoration with support from their partners, financial and technical resources to meet those commitments often remain critically insufficient. The Brazzaville Bonn Challenge Ministerial Roundtable will be an opportunity for governments and their current and potential partners to discuss these challenges and arrive at informed solutions to implement FLR.

Furthermore, this event is intended to stimulate African countries who committed to the Bonn Challenge to move towards development and implementation of integrated national FLR strategies and programmes with an emphasis on the need to ensure coherence and consistency between land-use, fiscal and other relevant policies. Calls on development partners, international financial institutions and mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility, as well as the private sector, to support investments for their effective and efficient implementation, are also anticipated.

The Brazzaville Bonn Challenge Ministerial Roundtable will focus on:

  • Bonn Challenge/AFR100 progress: Summary of national, regional and international progress towards the Bonn Challenge and AFR100, which is a regional technical cooperation platform contributing directly to the Bonn Challenge;

  • Restoration policies: Reflection and development of practical approaches on how to move from sectorial policies to integrated FLR strategies and programmes while building synergies between different restoration targets such as Land Degradation Neutrality, the Sustainable Development Goals, Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Nationally Determined Contributions;

  • Financing and investing in restoration: Exploration of potential sources of funds, both domestic and external, to promote or upscale FLR initiatives in the framework of the Bonn Challenge through relevant sectors (community, public and private); and
  • Roundtable resolutions: Framing the agreements, recommendations and resolutions coming from the meeting, including fundraising strategies to mobilise resources for the implementation of the countries’ commitments.

On the first day of this meeting, technical experts will discuss, exchange information and analyse the progress that different perspectives can bring when implementing the Bonn Challenge pledges; followed by a field trip organised by Republic of Congo’s Minister of Forest Economy. The second day will be dedicated to high-level discussion roundtables building on the experts’ input from the day before, which will result an outcome document with a common position and strategies to mobilise financial and technical resources for effective implementation of countries’ commitments to the Bonn Challenge and AFR100. 

* East African Community (EAC), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), European Union (EU), New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and Southern African Development Community (SADC).

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