February 23, 2017
JOHANNESBURG – Cameroon has committed to restoring more than 12 million hectares of deforested and degraded land as part of the Bonn Challenge initiative and the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100). With this pledge, the country joins 21 other African countries that have committed to restore a new total of over 70 million hectares of land to these two initiatives and the continental African Resilient Landscapes Initiative (ARLI). The pledge also brings Cameroon closer to its national goal of cutting carbon emissions by 32% by 2035, part of the country’s commitment at COP 21 in Paris.
Deforestation and land degradation are amongst the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions globally. Forest landscape restoration is an important strategy for achieving food and water security, supporting biodiversity and storing carbon. Restoration can also be an effective pathway to rebuild resilience to climate change in rural communities while boosting rural incomes and generating multiple benefits, especially for women. Cameroon, which has a rich mosaic of tropical forests and savannahs in the south and semi-desert areas in the north, is well-positioned to restore a diverse set of landscapes. Cameroon’s pledge is the largest so far in the Congo Basin, home to the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest.
Cameroon’s restoration effort is supported by AFR100 partners including the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) that acts as the Secretariat for the initiative.
“We applaud the Government of Cameroon for this exciting commitment. Indeed, political will for restoration has never been stronger. Restoration is widely understood as a key strategy to meet climate change, desertification, biodiversity and sustainable development goals in Africa and to secure vital food, water, and energy resources,” states Mamadou Diakhite, Team Leader for Sustainable Land and Water Management at NEPAD, AFR100 Secretariat.
Restoring forests drives progress towards a number of SDGs including “life on land and climate action” amongst others. The joint and dynamic involvement of the two Ministries of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF) and of Environment, Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED) in Cameroon is already a determining factor in the success of this effort, which also links to the challenges of adapting to climate change:
Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED) focal point Dr. Bring states, “Significant preparatory actions are ongoing or beginning to be implemented by the Cameroonian Ministries of Forestry and Environment with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) via the Programme to support the implementation of the rural sector development strategy in the Forest and Environment sector (ProPFE).”
Similarly, Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF) focal point Ngomin Anicet explains that “Because of the cross-cutting and multi-sectorial nature of the initiative, an action plan has been developed, taking into account the current and planned efforts of the government. A first step will be the setting up of a National Working Platform – an advisory body, led by the two ministerial departments and extended to other stakeholders (incl. other sector ministries and agencies, international development partners, (I)NGOs, the private sector, research organizations. civil society and local communities) to coordinate and develop the plan and activities necessary to restore degraded landscapes. Another focus will be the development of technical tools to upscale ongoing efforts and programs and the promotion of new pilot projects as well as the development of monitoring tools. These efforts will contribute to the achievement of a common restoration objective.”
AFR100 is a country-led effort to restore 100 million hectares of African land by 2030. It is assisted by a network of technical and financial partners including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Resources Institute (WRI), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), and the World Bank among others. AFR100 contributes to the Bonn Challenge, ARLI, Land Degradation Neutrality target-setting process, and other related targets.
Read IUCN’s press release here: https://www.iucn.org/news/forests/201702/cameroon-restore-12-million-hectares-forest-species-rich-congo-basin-0
Media Contact: Teko Nhlapo, Communication & Advocacy Officer, Sustainable Land & Water Management, NEPAD Agency: +27 83 596 8752, firstname.lastname@example.org