Berlin conference on protecting the African rainforest Development Minister Müller calls for ‘Fair Deal’ for forest protection

Press release 8 September 2021 | Berlin – Goal of the Tropical Forest Symposium (External link) is better protection of rainforests worldwide. The Congo Basin is home to the second biggest rainforest in the world. Together with representatives of the ten countries around the Congo Basin rainforest, German Development Minister Gerd Müller has agreed to step up protective measures.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller (left) and Jules Doret Ndongo, Minister of Forestry of Cameroon and President of the Central African Forestry Commission (COMIFAC) (right), after signing the Declaration on the Protection of the Congo Basin Rainforest on 7 September 2021 with moderator Katie Gallus 

German Development Minister Gerd Müller (left) and Jules Doret Ndongo, Minister of Forestry of Cameroon and President of the Central African Forestry Commission (COMIFAC) (right), after signing the Declaration on the Protection of the Congo Basin Rainforest on 7 September 2021 with moderator Katie Gallus

German Development Minister Gerd Müller (left) and Jules Doret Ndongo, Minister of Forestry of Cameroon and President of the Central African Forestry Commission (COMIFAC) (right), after signing the Declaration on the Protection of the Congo Basin Rainforest on 7 September 2021 with moderator Katie Gallus

German Development Minister Gerd Müller says:

"Saving the climate and biodiversity cannot be accomplished without the world’s tropical forests. They account for about 20 per cent of terrestrial carbon sequestration. They are home to 75 per cent of all animal and plant species. But the planet’s green lungs are in danger. Worldwide, an area of forest the size of a football pitch is being cleared every four seconds. The destruction of rainforests through slash-and-burn methods in places like the Amazon, Indonesia or the Congo Basin is responsible for eleven per cent of global CO2 emissions.

Experts estimate that, by the year 2100, there will be no more rainforest left in the Congo Basin. The consequences will be devastating for the whole of humanity, because the Congo Basin is the second-biggest tropical forest in the world after the Amazon rainforest and the biggest CO2 sink. The African rainforests hold more CO2 than all other forests."

"We must stop the slash-and-burn and forest destruction immediately," Müller continued. “We need a ‘Fair Deal’ for forest protection. Today, at the Berlin Tropical Forest Symposium, I received a commitment from all ten of the Congo Basin rainforest countries to step up their forest protection and strengthen their sustainable forest management. The Declaration they signed was drawn up jointly with scientists and civil society representatives from the ten countries. We are supporting this process via the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI). The goal is to protect and restore 127 million hectares of forest by 2030 – that is an area three times the size of Germany. The protection measures include transparent supply chains for timber from the region, economic alternatives for the local people and closely involving the indigenous population as ‘forest guardians’."

"Furthermore, there is to be no more burning down of the rainforest to create new farmland for the globally booming cultivation of soya or palm oil. We need to have strictly monitored certification at last. I advocate an EU import ban on palm oil and soya produced on land created by forest clearance."

  • The Development Ministry has already set up the Legacy Landscapes Fund, back in May 2021. The intention is to build up a capital stock of 1 billion dollars by 2030 in order to secure core funding for 30 of the most important nature reserves. The Fund will then be the world’s largest nature conservation foundation. Germany has provided 100 million dollars as start capital.
  • The Development Ministry is supporting a total of 670 protected areas around the world with a combined land surface that is six times the size of Germany, and it has contributed to the protection of more than 130 million hectares of forest land – an area almost four times the size of Germany. 
  • Worldwide, 420 million hectares of forest have been lost in the last 30 years – that adds up to an area almost as big as the EU. Right now, around ten million hectares of forest are disappearing from the Earth every year – mostly to make way for huge soya and palm oil plantations.
Representatives of the Congo Basin countries with Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller at the signing of the Declaration on the Protection of the Rainforest in Berlin

Representatives of the Congo Basin countries with Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller at the signing of the Declaration on the Protection of the Rainforest in Berlin

Representatives of the Congo Basin countries with Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller at the signing of the Declaration on the Protection of the Rainforest in Berlin

The German Development Ministry currently holds the rotating presidency of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (External link) of the Central African Forest Initiative (External link) (CAFI). Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller therefore took the opportunity to invite representatives of the ten countries around the Congo Basin to a hybrid Tropical Forest Symposium, in the margins of which they signed a declaration, on Tuesday 7 September 2021, on protecting the rainforest.

Greater protection efforts by the ten countries together with sustainable forest management and forest protection measures are at the heart of the declaration. In return, countries like Germany commit to increased support for the tropical forest countries in Central Africa.