Paris, 3 September - On the occasion of the visit of President Sassou Nguesso in Paris, President Emmanuel Macron today signed a Letter of Intent committing 65 million US dollars for the preservation of the rainforest in the Republic of Congo.
This deal is made with CAFI, of which France holds the presidency this year. Norway, France and the European Union contribute 45 million US dollars to the agreement from the CAFI Trust Fund, with an additional 20 million from the French Development Agency (AFD), the UK Department for International Development (DFID) ) and the German Federal Ministry of the Environment (BMU).
Covering 23.9 million hectares – which is equivalent to Greece and Portugal combined and represents 69.8 percent of the national territory – Congo-Brazzaville’s forests are invaluable sources of biodiversity and of high carbon stocks.
The agreement will support land use plans for a sustainable management and the protection of peatlands by prohibiting any drainage and drying. Discovered in 2017 in the Congo Basin, these peatlands are vitally important in the fight against climate change, as they contain nearly three years of global greenhouse gas emissions.
In the deal signed today, Congo-Brazza also commits to avoid conversion of more than 20,000 hectares of forest per year, and this only outside of forests that boast high carbon stocks and high conservation value. Congo's vision is to maintain a historically low rate of deforestation while diversifying its economy. Thus, the country is willing to mitigate future risks, including related to agro-industrial exploitation, as it has shown in a recent interministerial decree (2018) that directs these activities to savannah areas.
The agreement with CAFI supports Congo in its path to addressing this complex challenge: working for a sustainable economic development making commitments on key growth sectors such as agriculture, mining and hydrocarbons and minimizing climate change impacts.