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US commits $36 million to Congo Basin forest

The US government has committed US $36 million, over the next three years, to the protection of the Congo Basin Forest, the second largest stretch of unbroken forest after the Amazon, according to a statement issued by the World Wildlife Fund. The funds would be used to protect 11 key areas in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo, "with the hope of future commitments", WWF said. On top of this funding Conservation International, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the World Wildlife Fund have also announced their intention to raise an additional US $37.5 million over the next ten years for the Basin, the statement said. The US and NGO funds would support a wide range of project areas including the creation and management of protected areas, and the development of ecotourism in the region. Until a decade ago, the Congo Basin comprised virtually untouched forest, but European-based logging companies have since moved in from West Africa and Asia. The timber is exported mainly to Europe, and almost all of it is known to have been felled illegally with little or no monitoring, the UK-based Guardian newspaper reported on 27 August. The scale of destruction in the Congo Basin is now thought to be so serious and rapid that up to 20 percent of the forest could be lost within 15 years, with potential implications for climate control, flooding, and loss of plant species in the region, the paper added.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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