Funding approved for trans-boundary conservation project in the Congo Basin | WWF

Funding approved for trans-boundary conservation project in the Congo Basin

Posted on 20 May 2004
The Congo Basin rainforest is the second-largest in the world, after the Amazon rainforest.
© WWF / Martin Harvey
Libreville, Gabon – The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has approved a proposal submitted by WWF to manage a transboundary area representing 7.5 per cent of the Congo Basin rainforest. Funding for the Tridom project, which will focus on conservation and wise use of natural resources in an area shared by Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, and Cameroon, amounts to US$10 million over seven years.

The Tridom (Tri-national Dja -Odzala- Minkebe) project area is within the world’s second largest expanse of rainforest: the Western Congo Basin Moist Forest Ecoregion of Central Africa. This is the one of the richest ecoregions in Africa in terms of biodiversity, supporting many species of mammals, including westland lowland gorilla and forest elephant, as well as birds, amphibians, fish, and swallowtail butterflies. It is one of WWF's Global 200 ecoregions — a science-based global ranking of the world's most biologically outstanding habitats and the regions on which WWF concentrates its efforts.

However, the area's globally important biodiversity faces increasingly severe threats from commercial logging and mining, as well as large-scale commercial hunting for wild meat and ivory, which often uses logging concession access roads. 

“In addition, a limited national public sector capacity to plan, oversee, and control natural resource use, as well as the absence of a mechanism for coordinated trans-boundary activities, is contributing to unsustainable exploitation of natural resources in the project area”, said WWF's Dr Kamdem Toham, coordinator of the project.

The Tridom project aims to help mitigate these threats while at the same time put in place the long-term resource management and financing systems needed to achieve conservation objectives. 

The project will link and connect existing and new protected areas with corridors of sustainably managed forest areas with different land uses. The project will also build capacity to control resource use; monitor trends in biodiversity and ecosystem functions; establish an effective law enforcement system; and establish collaborative management schemes with the private sector and communities, including, in particular, indigenous people. It aims to find ways to improve benefits for local communities through revenues generated from alternative livelihoods in order to ease pressure on natural resources, and to set up a diversified sustainable financing scheme to cover the core management costs, in particular costs related to law enforcement and protected area management.

The Tridom project is one of the top priorities of the Yaounde plan de Convergence and fully converge with the Yaounde Declaration for protection of the Congo Basin. 
The approved trans-boundary initiative aligns with the already gazatted Sangha Trinational Area, comprising Dzanga-Ndoki National Park in the Central African Republic, Nouabale-Ndoki National Park in Congo, and Lobeke National Park in Cameroon. This protected and sustainable use complex is part of the commitments taken by governments of Central Africa at the 1999 Yaounde Forest Summit, a forum that planned to protect vast tracts of forest in the Congo Basin. 
Thanks to previous GEF funding, the Tridom team has successfully worked with a number of the three countries’ partners and stakeholders to harmonise visions and actions. The full and approved project proposal will deal with implementation through management of the different protected areas, creation of biological corridors, and initiation of sustainable resource use in buffer zones to ensure conservation outside the reserves while contributing to poverty alleviation. 
Other important partners include: CBFP/USAID, local governments of the three countries, the EU-funded Central Africa Forest Conservation Programme (ECOFAC) donors including GEF and UNDP, and others, with whom conservation in the Congo Basin still remain reliable.

For further information:
Joseph Mayombo
Information and Communications Officer, WWF Gabon
Tel: +241 73 00 28
The Congo Basin rainforest is the second-largest in the world, after the Amazon rainforest.
© WWF / Martin Harvey Enlarge