- Environmentalists celebrate the "rapid progress" made in saving the precious rainforests of the Congo Basin, second only to the Amazon. Vast areas are now effectively protected and sustainably and responsibly managed.
According to the environmentalist group WWF, the last decade has seen an immense progress in protecting the world's second largest rainforest; a major lung in the global ecosystem and one of the most important home to biodiversity. Not only have vast areas been protected, but in contrary to the Amazon, they are also being effectively managed.
According to WWF, the Congo Basin is now home to over four million hectares of sustainably managed forests following certification by the Forest Stewardship Council of numerous locations in the region. This follows a "milestone" certification process in Cameroon and Congo Brazzaville finalised this year and adding to certification of well-managed forests in Congo Kinshasa and Gabon.
Coupled with this announcement, total Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification has now been achieved for forestry operations on 4.6 million hectares in the Congo Basin since December 2005. This represents about a tenth of forests allocated for logging.
Also the timber industry has contributed to the sustainable management certification process. "This is a major milestone in our efforts to progressively increase our production and trade of FSC-certified products," says Olof von Gagern, Danzer Group CEO for Africa. "It boosts our motivation to increase our efforts towards the certification of our concessions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)."
The WWF's Richard McLellan also celebrates the announcement as a significant milestone, adding that this "indicates a clear sign of the African forestry industry's desire to implement strategies to protect Congo Basin forests that are vital to global climate regulation, biodiversity and the rights and welfare of indigenous peoples."
WWF Africa says it has an aim of achieving forest certification for 7 million hectares by 2012, with another 5 million hectares progressing towards credible certification. It is now focusing its work on Congo Kinshasa (DRC), the country representing the largest part of the basin's rainforests.
The achievements and momentum gained from recent achievements in responsible forest management in the Congo Basin are influencing both policy and business practices. As an example, Congo Brazzaville recently joined a voluntary partnership agreement with the European Union (EU) to ensure the legality of its timber exports.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.