Conservation and Sustainable Management of Wildlife surrounding National Parks of the Congo Basin
On Friday November 25, 2005, the French Global Environmental Fund (FGEF) approved the financing of an ambitious project of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. This project aims to improve the conservation and sustainable management of wildlife in the forest landscapes surrounding some of the major tropical forest national parks of the Congo Basin. With a € 2.5 million budget, this project will contribute to a major UNESCO programme in the Congo Basin, the Central Africa World Heritage Forest Initiative (CAWHFI) and address its second objective: improve the sustainable management of ecological landscapes in the Congo Basin, including networks of protected areas that may be proposed for World Heritage nomination. Current CAWHFI activities focus on improving management of protected areas. The FGEF project broadens CAWHFI's scope through activities that draw particular attention to ecological corridors and landscapes surrounding protected areas.
Central-African ecosystems encompass the most important biodiversity of the African continent. In many cases, wildlife of these ecosystems is highly threatened by the intensification and generalization of poaching related to the exponential growth of illegal bushmeat trade. Concurrent with the general objective of protecting threatened species, the project will thwart the ongoing impoverishment of local population relying directly on wildlife resources for their survival. The project will raise awareness among local populations about the impacts of unsustainable management of natural resources and encourage negotiations between local stakeholders to settle their respective rights on wildlife resources. These activities spread over 230.000 km2 located in four countries (Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of Congo and Central African Republic) and will be implemented in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The FGEF project contributes to the international dynamic focused on forest conservation in Central Africa called "Congo Basin Forest Partnership".