The planet has been losing its rainforests at an alarming rate, but every now and then there is a ray of good news. good news is a new deal , signed at COP26 by Félix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on behalf of the Central African Forestry Initiative (CAFI), which aims to limit deforestation in the next decade in the African country , which it is home to the second largest tropical forest in the world, after the Amazon.

“With its forests, water and mineral resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo is a true ‘solution country’ to the climate crisis,” said Félix Tshisekedi as he discussed the ambitious 10-year plan. “To protect our forest and promote its sustainable management, our priority, supported by this new partnership, is to strengthen governance and transparency across all land use sectors. The Association will also support our ambition to respond to the dual challenges of food security and climate change through sustainable agriculture, particularly in the savannahs.

The Tshisekedi administration has already implemented progressive community forestry practices in the Congo Basin, with the aim of helping to preserve local rainforests with their incredible biodiversity. However, through the new partnership, the Democratic Republic of Congo hopes to intensify these measures, maintaining the loss of its forest cover on average from 2014-2018, ensuring that deforestation continues to decline.

In addition, the recently signed agreement will promote the regeneration of 8 million hectares of degraded land and forests, while nearly a third of the national areas will be reserved as protected areas, including those already managed in accordance with sustainability principles by local communities.

“Protecting tropical forests is critical to solving climate and climate crises. biodiversity, and keeping these forests intact is necessary for sustainable development in Africa,” said Toeris Jaeger, Secretary General of the Rainforest Foundation in Norway. “Land use planning and forest reforms are essential instruments for forest protection. The land rights of local communities and the sustainable use of the forest must form the basis for better land use policies”, he added.

The new association generates hope

The new partnership, which aims to involve the main Congolese industries in the forest preservation effort, raises hopes that the world’s second largest tropical forest, whose role is even more important in climate mitigation now than the world’s forests, the Amazon no longer function as an effective carbon sink – it can be saved from further deforestation. As a result, it was hailed as a sustainability milestone.

At the same time, protecting the Democratic Republic of Congo’s rainforests with their impressive biodiversity can serve as an example of responsible natural resource management in a nation where these resources have been exploited and plundered at an alarming rate. “It’s a great opportunity to transform the country,” emphasized Fifi Likunde Mboyo, head of the community forestry division at the Ministry of the Environment, which manages the project. “It’s a break with the past.”

Meanwhile, for environmentalists and policymakers, the new Congo Basin rainforest preservation deal was particularly good news because the COP26 summit was not a resounding success, despite the UK government’s vigorous public relations efforts, the host country.

Indeed, before the summit, Félix Tshisekedi, who in addition to his role as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo holds the current presidency of the African Union and launched Africa’s green recovery plan, warned that “Africa is tired of waiting for” support to tackle the climate crisis and urged rich nations to fulfill a $100 billion climate finance pledge they made at COP 15 in 2009. The global effort to tackle climate change, warned President Tshisekedi at the Glasgow conference, calling for more funding for the green of the continent in transition, “cannot be won unless it is won in Africa”.

More promises that help

Other African leaders have issued similar warnings about the lack of future funding. “We [los países menos desarrollados del mundo] we bear most of the impact of climate change and we would like the commitment made by developed countries to be fulfilled”, said the Gambian Environment Minister Lamin B Dibba.

However, until now, despite all their promises to mitigate climate change, rich countries participating in COP26 have been reluctant to open their pockets. “For many developing nations, climate change is a great danger to their very existence,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the COP26 meeting when he asked rich nations to make climate mitigation funds available to people. poorer countries. “Time demands that we take big steps”, emphasized Modi. French President Emmanuel Macron echoed that sentiment, berating rich nations for “not contributing what they should today to fulfill their responsibilities.”

Fortunately, the partnership to protect the lush and biodiverse rainforests in the Congo Basin is just the beginning of a new wave of funding to protect biodiversity and limit the effects of the climate crisis.

By Sustainability Times. Article in English

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