AfDB Group Approves US$ 47 Million for Congo Basin Conservation
Tunis, 11 March 2009 – Efforts to protect Congo Basin’s biodiversity received a boost from the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday in Tunis, where the institution’s Board of Directors approved a grant of 32 million Units of Account (UA*), equivalent to US$ 46.95, to finance the Basin’s Ecosystems Conservation Support Programme (PACEBCo).
The objective of the Programme is to contribute to the sustainable and concerted management of forest resources and protected areas representing the biological diversity and ecosystems of the Central African sub-region, for the well-being of the population and the planet’s ecological balance.
The Programme responds to concerns by various countries expressed in their sector policies and translated into forest and environmental sector programmes on conservation issues. The basin covers four of the 10 areas of focus of the Convergence Plan of the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) in the concerted management of the Congo forests, management of ecosystems, biodiversity conservation, development of income-generating activities and promotion of good practices in the exploitation of natural resources, capacity building, participation and information.
It will contribute significantly to regional integration in Central Africa. It is consistent with the different criteria for Regional Public Goods and its objectives are in keeping with those of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), in terms of good forest governance, timber certification and traceability. Finally, the Programme is based on the Bank’s policy on economic cooperation and regional integration adopted in 2000, and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) general policy on the environment and natural resource management, as well as strategic vision for 2025, which were both adopted at the Heads of State Conference in October 2007.
Programme beneficiaries are the populations of the 10 member countries of COMIFAC. It will also benefit the entire planet in view of the role played by the Congo Basin forests in climate change. The direct beneficiaries, estimated at about 5.8 million inhabitants, are the rural populations who live in the Basin and exploit its natural resources for a living (farmers, hunters, fishermen, craftsmen, indigenous people, women and the youths). Actions are concentrated for the most part in the selected landscapes, and the populations living there benefit directly from the programme outcomes. Poverty rate is high in the region and many areas are inaccessible.
Its financial and economic performance is based on the fact that the forest creates favourable conditions for agricultural, plant and animal production (fishing and cattle-rearing) through its function of regulating the climate system and biological rhythms mainly through the absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2). Moreover, the forest itself is a source of wealth through the carbon sequestration market, the development of timber forest products (various forest products, firewood, charcoal, creeping plants, medicinal plants, etc.) and non-timber forest products such as honey, resins, oils and butter, game, various high nutritional value products.
The overall programme cost is estimated at UA 37.28 million (CFAF 28.53 billion). The Bank Group’s assistance sourced from African Development Fund (ADF XI) resources; represent 85.80 % of the programme cost. The contributions by ECCAS and beneficiaries are estimated at UA 5 million and 0.278 million, respectively.
*1 UA = US$ 1.46736= CFAF) 761.251 as at 04/03/2009