Regional preparatory meeting of ECCAS Member States for 2022 COPs (climate, biodiversity and CITES) in partnership with the UNODC Global Programme on Crimes that affect the Environment 

Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, 30 September 2022 -

The Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) and the Economic Commission of Central African States (ECCAS), together with UNODC and in collaboration with the Ministry of Forest Economy of the Republic of Congo, organized an "Extraordinary Preparatory Meeting of Central African Ministers for the various 2022 Conferences of the Parties (COPs) (climate, biodiversity and CITES) on crimes that affect the environment” on 28-30 September 2022, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

The meeting consisted of a two-day technical segment gathering more than 80 experts, including representatives of the Justice, Environment, Forestry, Defense, Finance and Interior Ministries of ECCAS Member States, on 28-29 September, and a ministerial segment on 30 September, attended by 6 ECCAS ministers.

Central Africa is among the richest regions in the world in terms of biodiversity, both flora and fauna, and other natural resources including minerals and hydrocarbon fuels. The Congo Basin, home to more than 40 million people and 50% of the world’s biodiversity, represents the second largest forest in the world but the first one in terms of carbon absorption per hectare.  

However, the trafficking of wildlife, timber and minerals and the illicit deforestation and forest degradation represent a major threat to Congo Basin’s biodiversity, peace, security, development, and climate.

Concerned by the impact to its forests, COMIFAC and ECCAS, with the technical assistance of UNODC’s Global programme on crimes that affect the environment (GPCAE) and the financial support of the European Union, gathered more than 80 Central African representatives to identify and adopt common positions related to the 2022 COP agenda items. The meeting also provided a platform to develop a policy vision to facilitate judicial cooperation among ECCAS member States in the fight against wildlife crime and illicit trafficking in natural resources.

The ministerial session of this important meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister, Head of Government, Mr. Anatole Collinet Makosso, with the presence of the Deputy Mayor of Kintélé, Ms. Stella Mensah Sassou Nguesso, the Facilitator of the Federal Republic of Germany of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, Dr. Christian Ruck, the Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Congo, Mr. Giacomo Durazzo, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés, the President of the ECCAS Commission, represented by Commissioner Honoré Tabuna, and the current Chairman of COMIFAC,  His Excellency Jules Doret Ndongo.

 Dr Amado de Andrés, Regional Director, UNODC West & Central Africa.

During this ceremony, Dr. de Andrés highlighted the complexity, cross-cutting nature, and highly transnational character of this form of criminality and invited ECCAS Member States, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector, to actively promote partnerships to ensure the development of holistic and coordinated responses to address this form of crime. Dr. de Andrés reiterated UNODC’s engagement to strengthen national and regional capacities of ECCAS Member States to combat all forms of crime that affect the environment.

This activity was financed through the project "Strengthening the judicial capacities of ECCAS Member States to combat wildlife crime and illicit trafficking in natural resources", output 6 of the " Support Programme for Reforms and Institutional Capacity Building in the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)", known as PARCIC, financed by the European Union Commission under the 11th EDF Regional Indicative Programme (RIP).