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Equatorial Guinea is now part of a Global Environment Facility (GEF) project titled ‘A Regional Focus on Sustainable Timber Management in the Congo Basin’, an initiative backed by international development organizations, national NGOs, and government officials. One of three pilot countries, Equatorial Guinea will begin a series of regional activities in which all GEF participants will collaborate closely to address illegal logging and ensure the sustainability of forest production.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) project will focus on improving forest management and conservation in order to preserve the Congo Basin and is a task of The Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC), The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Rainforest Alliance.
Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, has made Equatorial Guinea’s commitment to conservation management clear. At the most recent G20 Economic Summit in Cannes, France, he acknowledged government leaders from around the world who took part in an agricultural working group, stating, “While we in Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are focused on our local environment and economy, we always think in a global perspective when seeking to achieve higher growth in the agricultural sector. In many ways, our success depends on our own efforts, though Africa and the greater global community can play a role.”
By participating in the GEF Congo Basin Strategic Program, which this project forms a part of, Equatorial Guinea is improving the welfare of local communities and forest conservation, while protecting its people’s interests in terms of commercial activities. The World Resources Institute (WRI)’s Project Director and Director of Forestry for Central Africa, Pierre Methot, stated, “This project will reinforce WRI’s already strong presence in the region and enhance our efforts to improve transparency and governance in the Congo Basin that focus on timber management, REDD, and other aspects of sustainable forest development.”
At the national level, efforts of this kind have already had a significant impact yet there is still a need to confront regional and cross-border issues. To this effect, the regional launches of the program have been held throughout March, in the Central African cities of Douala, Cameroon; Bangui, Central African Republic and Brazzaville, Republic of Congo; Equatorial Guinea will hold it’s own launch event in the city of Bata in April 2012.