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In February 2008, the AfDB, in partnership with the Central Africa Forests Commission (COMIFAC) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), held an international conference in Tunis on Funding for Sustainable Management of the Congo Basin Forests Ecosystems. Participants agreed to reinforce their coordination and dialogue efforts through the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) and to support COMIFAC and its sub-regional partner institutions by establishing the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF) to mobilize resources to finance activities and projects aimed at promoting the equitable and sustainable use, conservation and management of the Congo Basin forests and ecosystems for poverty alleviation, sustainable social-economic development, re-gional cooperation and environmental conservation.
The areas of intervention for CBFF grant funding will mainly be those that slow the rate of deforestation, reduce poverty amongst forest dwellers, and contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions while maximizing the storage of carbon. Within the context of its objectives, the CBFF has identified a number of key thematic areas, namely:
Around 80 million inhabitants of the Congo Basin, and in particular vulnerable groups (women, Indigenous Peoples groups) are the main beneficiaries of the fund. The CBFF will also benefit eligible institutions, including RMCs of the Bank, their central and local government institutions or agencies thereof, as well as regional agencies or institutions concerned with Congo Basin forest conservation and management issues. Eligibility is also extended to non governmental organizations at the country or regional level; civil society organizations; community based organizations; research and training institutions; regional, sub-regional and sectoral organizations; and private sector institutions.
CBFF consists of a governing council, which provides strategic direction and oversight of the Fund, and ensure broad donor and stakeholder participation and a secretariat headed by a coordinator, to manage the Fund. A reference Group will act as a forum for consultations around the operation of the CBFF. The governing council is co-chaired by the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin (former Canadian Prime Minister) and Prof. Wangari Maathai (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate). Other members include the President of COMIFAC, the Secretary-General of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC), a civil society representative and a donor representative and a senior AfDB official (VP). The Secretariat is based at AfDB Headquarters, with technical staff located at AfDB regional offices in Yaoundé and Kinshasa.
The CBFF is an innovative funding mechanism for the Congo Basin and the AFDB. The interest and commitment by all partners has contributed to a relatively fast start-up of the CBFF following its launch in June 2008. A challenge has been to set up the Fund systems while also managing the first call for proposals. The secretariat established at the end of 2009 prepared the second call for proposals as it handled the results from the first request of proposals. The adoption of competitive grant cycles and proposed use of a Fund Management Agent to manage small civil society projects on behalf of the Bank offers potential wider benefits and lessons learned for the Bank. Today, given the needs of the stakeholders of the Congo Basin region and the great role of the Congo Forest in the mitigation of Climate change and the fight against poverty, additional funding is needed to help CBFF to provide better support to the beneficiaries of the fund.
Technical Department and Task Manager
Clotilde Ngomba, CBFF Coordinator, Agriculture and Agro-industry Department
Tel: (216) 7110 3219
Partnerships and Cooperation Unit Focal Point
Khadidia Diabi, Principal Cooperation Officer, Tel: (216) 7110 3002