20061231

 

Monkeys uncle

Excerpt article by Jessica Allen, Washington File staff writer posted on the US Department of State, United States Diplomatic Mission to Italy website: "...Why Does America Want to Help Save African Rain Forests?" (Rep. Royce outline commitment at House hearing) Washington.

"...Why is the United States Government donating $25 million to preserve a forest halfway around the globe in sub-Saharan Africa? What compels America's representatives, agencies and the Department of State to devote so much time and money -- up to $53 million by 2005 -- on this area and issue?...On March 11, House Africa Subcommittee Chairman Ed Royce (Republican of California) told government officials, legislators, the press and interested on-lookers why the U.S. cares about "Saving the Congo," the world's second largest forest. According to Royce, when a tropical rain forest is destroyed by overlogging and other industrial development, its precious biochemical information that could spark advances in medical, agricultural, and industrial technologies is lost forever. Royce added that it is important to realize that as the forest is depleted so are the natural mechanisms that provide the world with clean air and water. And if clean air and water, possible cures for diseases, and the evolvement of technology and agriculture are not sufficient reasons to save the Congo rain forest, "the 20-plus million people who rely on its resources to survive are."...According to the Environment and Development Group, a respected non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to conservation worldwide, American efforts in the Congo River basin have been a "worthwhile enterprise" that is "worthy of support."

While the Subcommittee gave answer to the "why" of saving the Congo River Basin, the question of "How it can be saved?" was raised of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Africa Constance Berry Newman. "The people [of the Congo] and their government are concerned about the deterioration of their environment and want action to be taken," she said. In order to help them, she explained, USAID is funding an initiative called the Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) that facilitates partnerships with NGOs to help preserve the vanishing rain forest...The U.S. official said CARPE works to improve logging policies and practices, enhance protected areas within a lived-in landscape, encourage better environmental governance, and strengthen local resource management systems. To accomplish these goals, Newman said, CARPE partners with a variety of environmentalist organizations and wildlife protection agencies around the globe by supplying funds for the individual organizations to enact programs to meet their - and CARPE's - conservation goals...For example, CARPE funds the Wildlife Conservation Society to improve logging policies in the Congo through its work with Congolaise Industrielle des Bois, a major European logging company. "Such collaborations between logging companies and NGOs is new in the area but is proving to be a promising partnership," according to the U.S. official. "CARPE funds are also helping innovative resource management make citizens of the Congo feel a sense of ownership of the forest," said Newman. The U.S. partnership with field-based workers in the area has also improved monitoring of the forest through remote sensing techniques.





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