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US government commits $36 million to protect Congo's forests

September 4, 2002 (Johannesburg, South Africa) 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.

Government funds will be provided mostly through USAID's Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE). CARPE will provide for up to $15 million a year, an increase of up to $12 million annually, for at least the next three years, with the hope of future commitments.

In addition, Conservation International (CI), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) all announced their intention to raise an additional $37.5 million of new money over the next ten years for their joint efforts in the Congo Basin. The three groups worked closely with the governments involved to set priorities for protecting the most important landscapes in the region.

"What is significant here is that the governments of the region, as well as the U.S., have adopted the landscape conservation priorities based on good science and careful consultation with the people of the area," said Brooks Yeager, Vice President of WWF. "Saving these key areas will make all the difference for the future of rainforest wildlife in Africa."

"These new financial commitments help to protect one of the world's most important rain forest wilderness areas, including the watershed of the second largest river system on Ea
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Contact: Jason W. Anderson
j.anderson@conservation.org
202-912-1464
Conservation International
4-Sep-2002


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