Thinking beyond the canopy

Discussion forum 2. Response to climate change in Central Africa: Realities and challenges

Focal Point: Denis J. Sonwa and Anne Marie Tiani
Organisation(s): CIFOR
Contact details: CIFOR, Central Africa Regional Office, P.O. Box: 2008, Yaoundé, Cameroon; Tel: +237 22 22 74 51 / 22 22 74 49; Email: and


The Congo Basin is recognised for its role in biodiversity conservation, as a provider of logging and usefulness to local communities and economies of Central Africa. With climate becoming more important internationally and in the Congo Basin forests, REDD+ has emerged as part of the solution and as a way for countries of the region to contribute to the UNFCCC. The link between forest and adaptation is not well recognised and promoted. Efforts have been made to mainstream climate change within conservation agendas. Some pilot activities have been initiated in the field of adaptation and mitigation. This forum will revisit the regional responses in the climate change agenda and reflect on the activities that take advantage of previous efforts in forest management. Additionally, it will concentrate on future directions while considering the interest of forest communities. It will consist of a presentation, debate and poster sessions.

Key questions the panel will address

  1. How is climate change affecting Central Africa and what are the responses to this in the forest sector?
  2. How to make sure that responses are centered around the need of forest communities and states of Central Africa?
  3. How can the region take advantage of carbon finance opportunities to support low emission sustainable development in rural areas, reducing poverty and increasing resilience of communities to climate shocks?


  1. Moderator: Martin Tadoum, Deputy Executive Secretary, COMIFAC
  2. Speaker: Carol Colfer, Purdue University
      Putting forest communities at the center of responses to climate change: learning from past experience in forest management
  3. Speaker: GIZ representative (To Be Confirmed)
  4. Speaker: Okenye Mambo, GIZ
      Gestion Durable des Forets en Afrique Centrale
  5. Speaker: Ken Creighton, Senior Global Climate Change Specialist/Regional Advisor, USAID/CARPE
      Realities of climate change in the Congo Basin
  6. Speaker: Joseph Amougou, Climate Change Focal Point for Cameroon
  7. Speaker: Didier Simon, FFEM

Background reading

  1. Brown H.C.P., Nkem J.N., Sonwa D.J. and Bele M.Y. 2010. Institutional adaptive capacity and climate change response in the Congo Basin forests of Cameroon. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies to Global Change. 15:263–282.
  2. Locatelli B., Kanninen M., Brockhaus M., Colfer C.J.P., Murdiyarso D. and Santoso H. 2008. Facing an uncertain future: How forests and people can adapt to climate change. Forest Perspectives No.5. Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia.
  3. Nasi R., Mayaux P., Devers D., Bayol N., Eba’a Atyi R., Mugnier A., Cassagne B., Billand A. and Sonwa D. 2009. Un aperçu des stocks de carbone et leurs variations dans les forêts du Bassin du Congo. In: Wasseige C., Devers D., de Marcen P., Eba’a Atyi R., Nasi R. and Mayaux P. (eds). “Les forets du Bassin du Congo.” Etat des Forets 2008. Office des publications de l’Union Européenne, pp 199–216.
  4. Somorin O.A., Brown H.P.C., Visseren-Hamakers I.J., Sonwa J.D., Arts B. and Nkem J. 2012. The Congo Basin forests in a changing climate: Policy discourses on adaptation and mitigation (REDD+). Global Environmental Change. 22(1):288–298.
  5. Sonwa D.J., Nkem J.N., Idinoba M.E., Bele M.Y. and Jum C. 2012. Building regional priorities in forests for development and adaptation to climate change in the Congo Basin. Mitigation and Adaption Strategies for Global Change.
  6. Sonwa D.J., Walker S., Nasi R. and Kanninen M. 2011. Potential synergies of the main current forestry efforts and climate change mitigation in Central Africa. Sustainability Science. 6(1):59–67.