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Congo to host international tropical forest summit

By Ruth Hendry - 18 Apr 2011 20:21:0 GMT
Congo to host international tropical forest summit

Tropical forests need our help - can the summit in Congo halt deforestation? The objective of the summit is to ensure sustainable management of forest ecosystems and to contribute to climate regulation. To achieve this, the summit aims to establish a formal agreement between the three tropical forest basins, which will encourage them to share conservation strategies.

Henri Djombo, Minister for Sustainable Development, Forests and Environment of the Congo announced a ''Summit of the tropical forest basins of the world'', to be held in Brazzaville, Congo on 31st May.

The Congo, Amazon and Borneo-Mekong forest basins make up 80 percent of the world's tropical forests. These forests are incredibly important - they are home to around two thirds of the Earth's terrestrial biodiversity and provide food, shelter and livelihood for more than 1 billion people.

However, deforestation in these areas is continuing at an alarming rate, furthering the effects of climate change and affecting local people who rely on these forests for survival.

The objective of the summit is to ensure sustainable management of forest ecosystems and to contribute to climate regulation. To achieve this, the summit aims to establish a formal agreement between the three tropical forest basins, which will encourage them to share conservation strategies and develop their programme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

A joint statement on tropical forests, climate and sustainable development will also be signed and presented at COP17. This could be a valuable tool for conservation in these developing countries.

Henri Djombo announced that the Summit, involving 35 nations and covering the three major rainforest regions in Africa, Latin America and Asia, will foster discussion about sustainable management of forest ecosystems. Efforts to manage tropical forests sustainably will lead to a greater contribution to global climate regulation, eradication of poverty and economic development.

The Summit is part of the International Year of Forests and will analyse ways in which the tropical forest basins could support each other. Jan McAlpine, Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests, said ''The goal is to celebrate the role of forests and people''. In addition, the Summit will stress that forest nations need to lead the way on conservation strategies and support the International Year of Forests. Here's hoping this Summit can kick start a new wave of tropical forest conservation.