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African Regional Consultation of the Consultative Process Towards an International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity (IMoSEB) 

1-3 March 2007 | Yaoundé, Cameroon

Daily highlights
Summary Report
Daily highlights:
Thursday, 1 March - Friday, 2 March - Saturday, 3 March

Highlights for Friday, 2 March 2007

On Friday, participants convened in three parallel working groups in the morning, and reconvened in plenary in the afternoon to hear the group reports and hold further discussions drawing from the groups’ deliberations.

Participants from Cameroon, Kenya, Benin, Liberia, Malawi in working group one addressed needs and options for an IMoSEB. On needs, the group highlighted, inter alia: documenting biodiversity knowledge in Africa, including indigenous knowledge; scientist’s role in identifying the value of biodiversity; dissemination of existing knowledge; and the right for communities to be informed. On options, there was general consensus on the need for an IMoSEB, with the group debating whether such a mechanism should build upon, improve and strengthen existing institutions or whether an entirely new mechanism should be developed.

Participants from various countries including: Kenya, Gabon, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mali and the Republic of Congo participated in working group two to discuss needs specific to Africa. The group considered needs and options for an IMoSEB briefly before discussing the substantive theme relating to the issue of expertise for Africa.

Working group three dealt with issues relating to potential IMoSEB clients. Drawing from experiences in Gabon, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among other countries, participants addressed four main questions: the adequacy of knowledge relating to biodiversity management; the relevance of existing knowledge and problems of dissemination; accessibility of existing knowledge for decision-makers; and the most effective mechanism for information dissemination and the identification of potential beneficiaries.

In the discussion following the working group reports, participants generally welcomed the establishment of an IMoSEB, citing the failure of existing structures to adequately address biodiversity loss. The importance of funding was a recurring theme in the discussions. In a panel session chaired by Felix Dakouo, participants then debated institutional and financial arrangements for an IMoSEB, with several participants urging consideration of the institutional and financial structure of an IMoSEB and proposing a pilot initiative in the African region. While welcoming the proposals, others cautioned against addressing these issues during the ongoing consultative process.

In the evening, participants visited the National Herbarium of Cameroon and the Millennium museum.

Working Group One
Working group one moderator Baste reported to plenary on the outcomes of discussions on needs and options for an IMoSEB.
L-R: Working group one moderator Baste, and rapporteur Jameson Seyani, Malawi National Herbarium and Botanic Gardens.
Jonathan Davies, CBD Focal Point and Environmental Protection Agency, Liberia, emphasized strengthening existing institutions and networks to enable filtering of scientific information to the relevant level of decision-making.
Bessem Lydia Epse Yapelle, Ministry for the Environment and Protection of Nature, Cameroon, emphasized translating scientific issues into accessible information directed at the local as well as at the political level.
Musa Usman Ndamba, Mbororo Social Cultural and Development Association, Cameroon, stressed involving grass root organizations in decision-making.
Working Group Two
Dr Bernard Foahom, Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, Cameroon, said that scientists face the challenge of communicating to different audiences and that as a result the language they need to use to communicate their message will vary.
Abdoulaye Sy, Directorate of Water, Forests, Hunting and Conservation, Senegal, argued that research takes time, yet time is a scarce resource considering the pressing nature of protecting biodiversity.
Working group two moderator Marthe Mapangou
Working group two rapporteur Jo Mulongy reported to plenary.
Amos Akingbokungbe, BioNet-International, Nigeria, lamented the absence of taxonomists in Africa especially relating to fauna.
Demissew Sebsebe, National Herbarium and Ethiopian Flora Project and University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Working Group Three
L-R: Chantal Nkey Ngono, Ministry of Environment, Conservation of Nature, Water and Forests, Democratic Republic of Congo; and Samuel Nguiffo, Centre for Environment and Development (CED), Cameroon.
L-R: Jean Claude Lefeuvre, President of the French Biodiversity Institute, and Jacques Weber, working group three moderator.
Eric de Rosny, University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, underscored the importance of traditional medicine, highlighting how an IMoSEB could revolutionize its use.
Working group three rapporteur Hanta Rabetaliana.
L-R: Florence Palla, Protected Areas in Central Africa (Rapac), Gabon and Chimère Diaw.
Participants in working group three.
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