By Elias Ngalame
African Forest stakeholders have been urged to buckle down to work in readiness for the upcoming 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Egypt.
As part of its policy to empower forest stakeholders and vulnerable communities in Africa to better confront the challenges of climate change, the African Forest Forum (AFF) used the opportunity of the regional workshop organised from June 6 to 10, 2022 at Pacific Hotel, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to inform more participants from various government representatives, civil society organizations, private sector and development partners institutions on the key outcomes of the climate negotiations held in Glasgow last November and the high expectations of the COP 27 this year at their doorstep in Egypt.
Dr Marie-Louis Avana of AFF affirmed the determination of the African Forest Forum to work fully for the success of the different negotiations and the intentions of the different forest stakeholders that will be taking part.
According to Dr Avana, non-state actors including investors and businesses and civil society should have the ability to take far-reaching and ambitious climate action, supplementing and reinforcing the crucial climate plans of governments.
Experts say these actors should get set with action plans including identifying how to address existing and future climate challenges, shifting the narrative on climate losses, and mainstreaming climate resilience through deepening engagement with bankable projects.
“We are orienting stakeholders and delegates from Africa on how to better engage their negotiations during COP27. AFF is playing this role working with all forest stakeholders,” Marie Louis Afana said.
Talking about expectations at COP27, African Forest Forum officials said they expect to see the different countries mobilize efforts to meet up and respect their commitments and pledges especially those related to financing forest conservation in Africa.
“We expect to see countries respect their financial commitments to boost forest conservation. Many pledges were made during COP 26 in Glasgow, we expect to see them realized,” Marie-Louis said.
As one of the regions most adversely affected by the impacts of climate change, Africa has been advocating for urgent and practical global, regional and national actions and enhanced ambition to combat climate change. African countries have stepped up to the challenge of contributing to addressing the global climate challenge that respects no borders, despite contributing the least to causing this existential crisis.
For Professor Martin Tchamba, “it is but fair justice that Africa that contributes least to the existing climate crisis gets compensated”.
He recalled that the Glasgow Climate Conference agreed to keep 1.5C in reach, including by a global transition to Clean Energy, provision of resources, declaration for the accelerating to low emitting transport systems, and the declaration on the use of forests and reversing deforestation by 2030.
“We need to see this momentum maintained or even have more ambitious undertakings by the polluting countries in the upcoming COP27” Dr Martin Tchamba said.
Cecile Njdebet for her part called for a people-centred climate change solution. She saluted the gradual shift from a centralized and elitist forest management style that existed before in Africa to a more decentralized community forest policy.
“Local communities are taking decision-making on forest management into their hands and this is already part of the solution,” Cecile Ndjebet said.
“If you don’t take part in decision making, others will do it for you and it may not be of your interest”, she appealed to the local community forest stakeholders.
She emphasized the need to build a partnership which inevitably requires that all stakeholders take time to build trust and work in synergy for the interest of all, especially in protecting the most vulnerable groups.
“Forest stakeholders need to build strong partnerships and work together for the interest of all,” Ndjebet said.
The African Forest Forum (AFF), also known as African Forestry Forum, is an association of individuals who are committed to advancing the sustainable management, use and conservation of the forest and tree resources of Africa for the socio-economic wellbeing of its peoples and for the stability and improvement of its environment.