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EC provides over €6 million in support of forests, biodiversity

[DRC] Small boat on Sankuru river in central DRC

David Snyder/Christian Relief Services
Sankuru River, central DRC, with forest in the background.
The EC has provided over €6 million (US $6.49 million) for two programmes to protect tropical forests and to promote biodiversity conservation in the central Africa region, the EC announced on Friday. The first programme, totalling €4.41 million, seeks to bolster the capacity of two institutions that provide training in natural-resource management in central Africa: the Ecole nationale des eaux et forets in Gabon, and the Ecole regionale post-universitaire d'amenagement et de gestion integree des forets tropicales in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It will help to provide technical assistance, to improve programmes and curricula, and to better manage teaching staff. In a statement, the EC reported that the regional dimension of the initiative was an important aspect of the project, as the two schools had helped found the Central Africa Forestry and Environment Training Institutions Network, which brings together at a regional level the best-known institutions in this sector so as to avoid any duplication in their work. Furthermore, the project will serve to strengthen links between the institutions belonging to the network, through exchanges of teachers and the harmonisation of student recruitment procedures, and by tailoring training programmes to potential job opportunities. "The forests of central Africa are crucial for the economic and ecological future of the region and the whole planet. They can aptly be described as 'green gold', and are the basis for any policy of sustainable development," the EC said. The second programme, a joint effort of the EC and the Gabon Ministry for Development Planning and Programming, totalling €2.3 million, of which the EC will provide €1.7 million, will focus on the study of animal species indigenous to central Africa - forest elephants, gorillas, turtles and whales. Specific studies will be made of the demographic structure and population dynamics of these species, their current conservation status and the reasons behind their geographical distribution. "The conservation of central Africa's biodiversity is not only of international ecological importance but also offers a potential source of income through the development of ecotourism," the EC said. The EC reiterated the importance of regional cooperation to this project, which will include cross-border sites and draw on the results of similar work being carried out in other central African countries. There would therefore be a significant partnership component, operating through an extensive regional network, involving research, conservation and environmental organisations, local community and civil society groups, businesses active in the tourism sector, and government departments.

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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