Challenges - stakes

Forest cover loss: increasing forest deforestation and degradation

Despite the efforts of Congo Basin countries, strong signs of progress in biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of forests and protected areas in Central Africa, the region’s forest ecosystems remain under threat. The Congo Basin currently faces growing pressure on flora and fauna, at accelerating rates (with a net rate of 0.09 % between 1990 and 2000 and  0.17% between 2000 and 2005, it now ranges from 0.15% to 0.20% every year, translating to  250,000 to 300,000 ha disappearing (15), per hour, an area the size of 48 football fields.

Wildlife, several vulnerable, exceptionally lush endemic species and protected area systems are severely endangered with many facing extinction…

In the case of severely endangered land and marine wildlife resources, many vulnerable species have seen a drastic drop in numbers over time owing, amongst other things, to the growing phenomenon of transnational and transcontinental trafficking in wild species. Since 1980, Central Africa’s elephant population has declined 62%, a trend which may be linked to an economic boom in consumer countries, where there is growing demand for ivory. Some experts believe at current poaching levels, elephants could disappear from Central Africa within the next 20 years. Wildlife crime now transcends all boundaries. Added to this is the growing use of a range of increasingly sophisticated weapons of war which sometimes trigger chronic political instability, conflicts coupled with issues such as poverty and inequality and social events like wars, terrorism and  revolutions, etc., with potentially disastrous consequences for a country’s economy, security and even its very existence. Read more… Brochure

Increased man/wildlife conflict and herder/farmer conflict

Besides the poaching activities of armed groups and their impacts on, among other things, the peace and security and stability of States, improving people’s livelihoods, economic development in general and that of the green economy in particular (economy of protected areas, economy of zoological parks, ecotourism, etc.), another more pressing threat is that of man/wildlife conflict, which is a major concern for States and people. Regarding transhumance, most Congo Basin and Sahelo-Sudanese analysts now believe the security, agro-pastoral, environmental and wildlife poaching crises are looped together in a negative spiral characterized by frictions between actors of transhumance and poaching, persistent and growing clashes between herders and sedentary groups and conflicts arising from land or space management in protected areas (case of the herder/farmer conflict). Read more… Brochure

Studies predict increased forest cover loss and a significant decline in carbon stored by Congo Basin forests by 2030

Some models predict that deforestation tied to the expansion of farmland for crops and livestock rearing could result in a total loss of 26 million hectares of forests between 2010 and 2030 in the Congo Basin, equivalent to 10% of the total forest cover. Curbing the impacts of agriculture and livestock rearing will require major changes in agricultural models. Similarly, ongoing economic development in the sub-region must translate at some point into land use selection for different areas of activity (9). Another study underscores that the carbon storage capacity of the planet’s second lung, the Congo Basin, is set to decrease or may already even be declining. The study predicts that by 2030, the Central African jungle will absorb 14% less carbon dioxide than it did 10 or 15 years earlier. This doesn’t bode well for climate change and reflects the urgency of the situation in Central Africa and calls for action to save the tropical forests of the Congo Basin. Read more… Brochure

Gaining new momentum -The Congo Basin Forest Partnership

The Congo Basin forests are at a critical juncture in this regard, as they face increasingly higher rates of deforestation and forest degradation. These issues require a concerted global response which recognizes mankind’s importance and global responsibility in preserving its forests, natural resources and biodiversity capital. More importantly, there is a need to acknowledge the positive impact the conservation and sustainable management of these forests has on people’s livelihoods and the global climate. The "Congo Basin Forest Partnership" since its establishment during the September 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Read more… Brochure