Iisd-GEF Announces Partnership to Address Forest Loss and Degradation in Congo Basin
21 March 2019: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has announced an initiative to address environmental degradation in the Congo Basin. The six-country initiative will help stabilize forest cover, peatlands and wildlife.
The Congo Basin encompasses 530 million hectares across Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo. The area contains 70 percent of Africa’s forest cover and one of every five species on the planet, including the largest population of the endangered forest elephant, nearly the entire range of the western lowland gorilla, a large part of the range of the chimpanzee and the entire range of the bonobo. The Congo Basin’s forests sequester over 60 billion tons of carbon, more than the tropical forests in the Amazon and Asia combined, making them critical for climate change mitigation. According to the GEF, the Congo Basin faces threats from a heavy reliance on natural resource exploitation, a growing population and national policies focused on “economic emergence.”
The six-year Congo Basin Sustainable Landscapes Program aims to tackle the drivers of forest loss and degradation. More specifically, the Program will work to strengthen the management and financing of protected areas, support land use planning, create an improved enabling environment for forest governance and decrease the impacts of natural resource use by local communities and the private sector.
GEF CEO Naoko Ishii announced the USD 63 million Congo Basin Sustainable Landscapes Program on 14 March 2019 at the One Planet Summit. Ishii emphasized the commitment of African leaders and the global community to preserve forests in the Congo Basin. Ishii expressed hope that the partnership will “address the fundamental drivers of environmental degradation.”
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Governments of Cameroon, CAR, the DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo will implement the Congo Basin Sustainable Landscapes Program with the financial support of the GEF. The Program is part of the GEF’s Sustainable Forest Management Impact Program, which aims to produce benefits for biodiversity, climate change and land degradation by addressing the long-term health of the Congo Basin, the Amazon and drylands landscapes. [GEF Press Release] [UNEP Press Release] [GEF Forests Webpage]