CBSI Steering Committee convenes in Yaoundé, Cameroon


CBSI Network

PANGEA Africa Workshop success and CBSI steering committee meets

On 21-22 February 2024, the Congo Basin Institute and the Center for International Forestry Research, in partnership with University of Yaoundé 1, co-hosted the PANGEA Africa workshop in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Over 90 participants joined, representing more than 40 institutions including universities, research institutes, non-governmental organizations, and government, and over 14 countries, including: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Credit: Daniel Besong

PANGEA is a NASA-funded campaign to scope and develop a proposal for a possible field and airborne campaign in the tropics. It is focused on improving the understanding of heterogeneous tropical forest responses to climate change, with a research focus on carbon cycling, biodiversity, hydrology, land-atmosphere interactions, climate dynamics, and food security. In addition to advancing our scientific understanding of African tropical forests and other tropical regions, a major objective of PANGEA is capacity building. Training the next generation of scientists from the region to lead these efforts is a critical objective of the proposed campaign. The workshop was a great success, providing the opportunity for the central African research community to hear about the scoping process, give feedback on the campaign design, including the science questions and geographic scope, and discuss existing efforts that align with the potential campaign. Workshop participants included fourteen members of the Congo Basin Science Initiative (CBSI) steering committee.

On 23 February 2024, as a follow up to the PANGEA workshop, the CBSI Steering Committee met, generously hosted at the Ministry of Research and Scientific Innovation (MINRESI), Cameroon, with support from PANGEA, the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD France) and the University of Leeds, UK.

After an opening address by Dr Nicolas Elouga (MINRESI), CBSI co-chairs Profs Raphael Tshimanga and Simon Lewis led discussions on funding proposals in preparation. If proposals are supported, CBSI will be able to begin implementation of its Science and Capacity Plan, reinforcing existing networks and institutions and delivering the research and expertise needed to manage the Congo Basin for the benefit of local people and all of humanity. The Committee then considered governance structures required for the next phases of CBSI work. The meeting concluded with interventions from Dr Jean-Jacques Braun (IRD France), Dr Elsa Ordway (UCLA) and Dr Denis Sonwa (CIFOR-ICRAF) on how best to coordinate with other regional initiatives, including One Forest Vision Initiative, PANGEA and the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), of which CBSI is now a member.

Header image shows CBSI Steering Committee at Conference Auditorium, Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, Cameroon. Credit: Jean Grégoire Kayoum