Thursday, September 05, 2002

FOREST PROTECTION FUNDS PROMISED

U.S. Government Commits $36 Million to Protect Congo's Forests; Three International NGOs Match Government Commitment

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Sep 4, 2002 (U.S. Newswire via COMTEX) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announced today that the United States will commit at least $36 million in newly allocated money over the next three years to the Congo Basin Forest Partnership. The partnership will help protect the world's second largest block of intact and interconnected tropical forest.

The Congo Basin Forest Partnership is a United States government initiative to promote the conservation and responsible management of the Basin's tropical forests. U.S. government funds will be used to protect eleven priority areas in six countries -- Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo....

The Congo Basin hosts some of the most charismatic biodiversity in the world, ranging from forest elephants, bongos and chimpanzees to forest buffalos and western lowland gorillas. The bonobo, or pygmy chimpanzee, is also found in this region, where it is restricted to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our closest living relative, the bonobo, is considered one of the most endangered apes in the world....