A new forest project is to set up national monitoring systems and strengthen regional cooperation in the Congo Basin. It will be managed jointly by COMIFAC and FAO.
A new regional initiative will help ten Central African countries to set up advanced national forest monitoring systems, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) announced in the End of July 2012. The ten countries are part of the Congo Basin. They include:- Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and São Tomé and Principe.
The forestry project will be managed jointly by the Central Africa Forests Commission (COMIFAC) and FAO in close collaboration with the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The Congo Basin Forests Fund, launched by the Governments of Norway and the United Kingdom through the African Development Bank, is funding the initiative with Euro 6.1 million.
The forests of Africa's Congo Basin, approximately 200 million hectares, are one of the world's largest primary rainforests, second only to the Amazon. The region's forests support the livelihoods of some 60 million people.
"This project will reinforce regional capacity and allow COMIFAC countries to strengthen their cooperation in the forestry sector, in particular with regards to their capacities to provide transparent and reliable data and information on forests. All COMIFAC countries are currently implementing forest conservation policies, and the national forest monitoring systems that will be supported through this project will allow countries to report on their results," said Raymond Mbitikon, Executive Secretary of COMIFAC.
FAO will provide technical support to the countries enabling them to use remote sensing technologies to estimate forest cover and forest cover changes as well as to estimate the amount of carbon stocks contained in forests in the region. The project will assist countries in preparing funding proposals for creating reliable and sustainable forest monitoring systems for each country, as part of the REDD+ initiative (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries). It will also help strengthen regional cooperation and experience sharing.