|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference on Tropical Forest Summit in Brazzaville, Congo
Forest loss was accelerating across forest basins in the Amazon, Congo and Borneo-Mekong regions, areas that together comprised 80 per cent of the world’s tropical forests, were home to two thirds of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and provided livelihoods to more than 1 billion people, Henri Djombo, Minister of Sustainable Development, Forests and Environment of the Congo, said today, announcing that his country would soon host a high-level summit to generate solutions.
Speaking at a Headquarters press conference, Mr. Djombo said the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Amazon, the Congo and the Borneo-Mekong Forest Basins, to be held in Brazzaville from 31 May to 3 June, would foster discussion among 35 nations covering the three major rainforest regions in Africa, Latin America and Asia, and contribute to the sustainable management of forest ecosystems. Those efforts, in turn, would ensure a greater contribution to global climate regulation, poverty eradication and economic development efforts.
The Summit would produce an agreement that would serve as a formal framework for consultation on forestry and climate issues, Mr. Djombo said. A joint statement on tropical forests, climate and sustainable development also would be signed, which would feed into the seventeenth meeting of the parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change — to be held in Durban, South Africa, in December — and the Earth Summit 2012, to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next June.
He said the format would include an expert meeting from 31 May to 1 June; a ministerial meeting on 2 June; and a high-level segment on 3 June. A technical meeting — organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) — would be held from 12 to 14 May in Rio de Janeiro to consider the draft working documents to be submitted at the Summit. Partners included 13 donor countries, multiple branches of the United Nations, the African Union, and the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC), among others.
In addition, the Summit would be part of the celebration of the International Year of Forests, said Jan McAlpine, Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests, which aimed to raise awareness about managing and conserving all types of forests. “The goal is to celebrate the role of forests and people”, she said. “We’ve heard too much negative and not enough positive.” The Summit would analyse similarities and differences among the basins and ways they could support each other.
“Tropical forests are a global treasure and national resource”, declared John Robinson, Executive Vice-President of Conservation and Science at the Wildlife Conservation Society. His organization was working with the Congo to protect such parks as the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, as well as with private timber companies to protect wildlife and logging concessions. The Summit would stress the leadership of forest nations to conservation and guide actions in support of the International Year.
Rounding out the panel, Richard Carroll, Vice-President of the Africa Programme at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), said his organization was helping to fulfil the regional conservation plan developed by the Governments of Central Africa. COMIFAC, established in 2005, represented the world’s second-largest forest area, with the “unprecedented” involvement of 10 countries in the conservation and sustainable joint management of forest ecosystems. For its part, the Congo had been the first to launch several initiatives, including an international workshop on the rights and needs of indigenous peoples.
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