Central Africa is a habitat to the world’s second-biggest tropical rainforest zone with more than 240 million hectares (ha). Although the yearly rate of natural forest loss is diminishing in Africa, the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FAO) uncovered an annual loss in the Central African locale of about 3.1 million ha of natural forest over the most recent five years.

Governance and policy reforms in the area are progressing, yet endeavours to preserve and reasonably use forests are disintegrated and underfunded.
In this regard, the Joint Declaration of Intent, a group of donor nations, launched The Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015 and responded to the complex and advancing difficulties of deforestation. It also aims to assist governments in the region as they execute reforms and improve ventures to address issues like poverty, food insecurity, and climate change. The initiative emphasizes its tropical forests.

The CAFI project is a joint alliance between UNDP, FAO, the World Bank, six Central African nations, and donors’ associations, including the Kingdom of Norway, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The six partaking Central African countries-Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo. It will create an investment framework to assist the sustainable use and preservation of their forest assets, remarkably through REDD+ activities.

REDD+ is a United Nations-supported structure that intends to control change by halting the decimation of the forest. REDD means “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation”; the “+” implies the role of preservation, sustainable management of forests, and improvement of forest carbon stocks.

The CAFI initiative works in a cooperative effort with the UN-REDD Program and erects on other initiatives in the region, like the Congo Basin Forest Fund. It upholds the aim to expand the extent of forest under sustainable forest management plans, diminishing illicit acts, including contracting and allowing and upgrading clarity on permits, harvesting remittance, and managing plans. Supporting the development and culmination of forest monitoring frameworks (NFMS) is likewise fundamental. CAFI aims to perceive and protect the forest’s value in the region to alleviate climate change, decrease poverty, and add to sustainable developments. This target will be accomplished through the execution of nation-driven, national-scale REDD+ and Low Emissions Development (LED) investment frameworks that incorporate policy reforms and measures to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and advance economic advancement. The CAFI Trust Fund is the chief way to actualize the Central African Forest Initiative. The MPTF-O directs it, and the UNDP Nature, Climate, and Energy Team provide the secretariat services.

The Republic of Gabon signed the CAFI Declaration in 2015, trailed by the preparation of a National Investment Framework (NIF) and a Letter of Intent (LOI) with CAFI in 2017. In this LOI, Gabon pledged to recognize time-bound achievements, and CAFI committed to offering monetary help for a program (CAFI 1) to assist land use planning and forest monitoring.
Based on CAFI 1, two new projects were affirmed in 2020 (CAFI 2) on “forest certification (AFD) and agriculture optimization and protected area expansion (UNDP)” in compliance with CAFI’s and the Gabonese government’s prospects and in accordance with the NIF and LOI.
The project is in its investment stage; the first Steering Committee of the UNDP program was held in November 2020.

Likewise, in September 2019, CAFI and the Government of Gabon signed an addendum to the LOI, comprising a landmark agreement of 150 million US$ in result based payments (CAFI 3), to help the nation in actualizing its low emission development strategy (LEDS), planning to accomplish sustainable economic development and add to global climate endeavours.

CAFI is presently entering into its second phase, with an expansion until 2027. It’s seventeenth wrapped up with operational discussion and establish the framework for sustained and more aspiring investments and policy dialogues. A joint venture of CAFI and the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) was held in Cameroon, aiming to strengthen relations with various ministries and reinstate political interest in a discerned CAFI/ and CBFP partnership future. In addition, a discussion with the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR-100), a nation drove exertion to acquire 100 million hectares of land Africa into restoration by 2030, has resulted in new ideas on the best way to build an alliance with CAFI programs in an effort to assist nations in changing nations’ reinstatement vows into results on the ground.

Photo Credit : https://twitter.com/CAFISecretariat/photo