Brazzaville Summit: Historic milestones achieved, additional funding needed
The treaty, signed by Presidents from Central Africa during the Second Heads of State Forest Summit — held from 4–5 February 2005 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo — legally recognizes the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC) as the only decision-making body on forests for the Central African Region.
In addition, a trilateral agreement signed between Cameroon, Gabon, and Congo will protect 14.6 million hectares of forests including Dja, Odzala and Minkebe National Parks, the equivalent of 7.5 per cent of the entire Congo Basin.
“The treaty and the TRIDOM agreement will help Central African countries cooperate across borders in protected areas management, to tackle poaching and the illicit bushmeat trade, as well as illegal logging," said Dr Claude Martin, WWF International Director General.
"These activities are particularly detrimental for the livelihood and culture of the local pygmy communities.”
Also signed at the Summit was an accord allowing free movement of park staff between Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Republic of Congo in the Sangha Tri-National Conservation Area. This means that park staff can work across international borders to fight poaching and illegal logging.
“These agreements mean that park staff no longer have to watch helplessly as poachers in one country escape across the river into another,” Martin added. “Central Africa is a model for the entire world on how to reach across borders to tackle the tough issues that are threatening wildlife, forests, and the livelihoods of local communities.”
However, with the exception of the €40 million pledged by the European Union, no new commitments on additional funding for conservation in the Congo Basin have been made so far.
“WWF hopes that the international community will be able to mobilize the necessary funds to implement the Treaty,” said Laurent Some, WWF's regional representative in Central Africa.
• The ten countries to sign the regional treaty include: Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Sao Tome and Principe, Rwanda, and Burundi.
• The Brazzaville Summit is the follow-up to the 1999 Yaounde Summit, hosted by President Paul Biya of Cameroon and co-chaired by WWF President Emeritus Prince Philip.
For further information:
Olivier van Bogaert, Senior Press Officer
Tel: +41 79 477 35 72