Six African Countries Launch CAFI Initiative on Forests
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Representatives of six African nations and development partners launched the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) at a high-level event in New York, the US.

CAFI aims to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in Central Africa through mitigating climate change, reducing poverty and contributing to sustainable development.

CAFI29 September 2015: Representatives of six African nations and development partners launched the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) at a high-level event in New York, the US. CAFI aims to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in Central Africa through mitigating climate change, reducing poverty and contributing to sustainable development.

Through the Initiative, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo, will develop national investment plans to address the factors leading to deforestation. The DRC Minister of Finance Henri Yav Mulang explained that his country aims to achieve “emissions reductions and co-benefits in terms of sustainable development and poverty reduction” through its participation in CAFI.

Donors, including the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the European Union (EU), and the Governments of France, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom (UK), will coordinate their support through the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office of the UNDP. The Fund is expected to result in more efficient, predictable funding, according to UNDP. Brazil will contribute to CAFI through capacity building support, knowledge sharing and expertise in policy implementation.

Speaking at the event, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark highlighted the potential of initiatives like CAFI to protect forests and help countries advance development objectives. She said the Fund “will focus new investment in a region, which thus far has not benefited from the same amount of funding as other forested regions.” She expressed hope that the commitments “will boost action with multiple wins – for the climate, for inclusive development and for economic growth.”

“Achieving sustainable economic and social development is a prerequisite for combating deforestation in Central Africa,” said Tine Sundtoft, Minister of Climate and Environment, Norway. Norway has pledged up to US$47 million dollars annually through 2020 to support the Initiative.

Other speakers highlighted CAFI’s potential to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation through country-led strategies, such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and low emissions development strategies (LEDS). France’s Minister for Development and Francophony, Annick Girardin, stressed large-scale action to protect forests around the world as critical for success at the Paris Climate Change Conference.

The launch event included the formal signing of a Joint Declaration between representatives of the Central African countries and donors. [FAO Press Release] [Congo Basin Forest Partnership Press Release] [UNDP Administrator Statement] [IISD RS Sources]

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