Forests - Congo
Several organisations and groups such as the UN have taken interest in saving the forests in the Congo basin:
The Congo Basin Forest Partnership was created as an outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. CBPF does not fund or implement any projects but is a communications network for its 29 member organisations, which consists of both governments and international bodies and non-governmental environmental organizations, industry groups and community groups. Members include COMIFAC [Conference of Ministers for the Forests of Central Africa] i.e. Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. The US government committed funds to be used by member organisations to protect eleven priority areas. This funding was to be matched by the World Wildlife Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society and Conservation International. The Congo Republic has since added two new protected areas and there has been more focus upon wildlife and forest law enforcement. Also, a logging company has started a sustainable forestry management program.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has been involved in several forest conservation programmes in the Congo Basin. WWF is working with logging companies to control deforestation and to control the bushmeat problem.
The Worldwide Fund for Nature is teaching the Ba’Aka pygmies and the local Bantu people of the Central African Republic to breed fish and poultry in the hope that fewer wildlife species will be killed.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, which is headquartered in the USA, is working with the Congolese government to protect three areas of rainforest: the Nouabale National Park, the Conkouati-Douli National Park and the Lac Télé Community Reserve.
The European Union has its Central African Forest Ecosystem [ECOFAC]. This is encouraging more effective and sustainable farming practices so that there is less need for hunting in the forests. Also technical training is provided to help local staff manage conservation areas.
Kemet, a large US manufacturer of tantalum capacitors for mobile phones now requests that coltan comes only from legitimately mined sources. Suppliers have been asked to provide certificates showing that the ore does not originate from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or adjoining countries.
Greenpeace is campaigning against a large Malaysian company, Rimbunan Hijau, which has logging interests in both Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
The Rainforest Foundation in the UK is lobbying the World Bank to put aside its forest development plans for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Governments around the world should ensure that:
The remaining forest areas be protected
Aid is given to compensate for the loss of forest revenues
Imports of timber products are controlled
Illegal logging and timber sales are stopped altogether
Timber products originating from sources which are environmentally sustainable are labelled
What you can do:
You can write to your government representatives and support green groups which are trying to save these forests. Do not buy timbers or timber products unless they come from a source which is identified as being environmentally managed.
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