CONGOS FORESTS GET WIDER OVERSIGHT
The often reckless destruction and unsustainable felling of tropical hard wood trees in the sprawling forests of the DR Congo has at last received the attention from the African Union it long deserved under the COMIFAC initiative, the English translation being the Central Africa Forests Commission.
Increased deforestation in the absence of effective policies and lack of political will, if not the complete absence of comprehension by the Kinshasa regime of the long term impact of rapidly decreasing forest cover, has led the international community to now establish a 10 country oversight committee, which will be tasked to assist the Congo DR, and others in similar need, in formulating forestry policies and then enforce them.
Rwanda notably is a member of this body, selected not only for the vicinity to the great Congolese rainforests right across the common border but also for the impressive record of the country in recent years vis a vis re-forestation and restoring degraded forests with the aim of having 30 percent of the country under tree cover by 2020.
Other countries participating are Burundi, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo DR, Chad, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.
The monitoring committee will work hand in hand with COMIFAC, and is tasked to ensure the sustainable management of the forest systems along the equatorial belt of Central and Western Africa. Also on board of the project will be the Norway / UK and EU funded Congo Basin Forest Fund, which has over 6 million Euros available to finance activities promoting the objectives of the cooperation as will be the UNs Food and Agricultural Organization, in short FAO.
The 200 plus million hectares wide forest system, second only in size to the Amazons forests, has in recent years been greatly abused by illicit felling of tropical hard wood trees, commercial and wild cat mining with significant poisoning of water and soil and encroachment for the purpose of subsistence farming by ever growing populations at the edges of these great rainforests. Hope for Africas forests, but only time will tell and there is not much time left. Watch this space.