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WWF: Three Basins Summit an important start for cooperation among governments

Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo – WEBWIRE

Heads of state and governments meeting in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo for the Three Basins Summit committed to closely cooperate, but disappointingly the summit did not lead to a tri-basin alliance as hoped.   

WWF welcomes commitments to bolster scientific and technical cooperation, solidarity and inclusive governance across the three forest basins. The summit was an important milestone for the Congo Basin, with strong presence from governments in the region. But more efforts will be needed to enhance concrete collaboration between the three regions to foster real action to halt deforestation, promote restoration as well as protection and sustainable management of forests. 

Ahead of the summit, WWF published an expectations paper calling for a robust alliance, finance and other measures to accelerate efforts to conserve, sustainably manage and restore precious forest ecosystems.

Fran Price, WWF Global Forests Lead, said: “Tropical forests are rich in biodiversity and significant culturally and economically for people globally. But they continue to face threats from deforestation and forest degradation. The Three Basins Summit provided a good start on important discussions about the future of these forests and the solutions that are needed to address the challenges they face, but we are disappointed that it did not result in an Alliance of the three basins, as hoped.

“Going forward, it will be important to have more robust representation and high-level leadership from all three regions and a more structured discussion on topics such as how to collectively tackle drivers of deforestation, promote restoration and sustainable forest management”.  

WWF Director for the Congo Basin, Dr. Martin Kabaluapa said: “We are encouraged by the commitments made at this summit. The governments of the three basins must now use this renewed momentum to foster concrete action to restore forests, bolster scientific and technical cooperation, stop and reverse biodiversity loss and adopt measures to address the climate crisis. These forests are essential for the livelihoods and cultural identity of tens of millions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The leadership of countries across the three basins will be key to ensuring we have a liveable planet for future generations.”

Yustina Lina Dina Wambrauw, Lecturer, State University of Papua, Indonesia, said: “The protection of tropical rainforest ecosystems in the Three Basins will succeed if we include the Indigenous Peoples and local communities who live inside it as main actors. The forest is a sacred home for many Indigenous Peoples and local communities who have been managing it sustainably to live there for generations after generations. For Indigenous Peoples, the forest and the community are interconnected; therefore, the survival of our people is dependent on the longevity of the forest, the full cover of the rainforest canopy, and the availability of food and natural medicines that the forest provides.”

Venant Messe, Coordinator of OKANI an Indigenous Peoples Association in Cameroon, said: “We came to this Summit to drum up support for the recognition and cession of the ancestral lands of Indigenous People. The more Indigenous People are given the responsibility to manage their ancestral land in these forests the better the conservation of forests. We are thus seeking a win-win partnership from this coalition for nature on one condition; that our ancestral land be recognized and we are given full right to manage them.”

Marko Mahin, Indigenous Leader, Institute for Dayak Studies, Indonesia, said: “Tropical rainforest ecosystems in the three basins area, including countries such as Congo, Brazil, and Indonesia, can be successfully restored and protected if Indigenous Peoples and local communities are included in the management process. In order to be able to participate, Indigenous Peoples’ rights must be officially recognized by law and have their right to manage their forest acknowledged so they are empowered to manage their ecosystem sustainably.”

The three tropical forest basins: Amazon, Congo and Asia-Pacific are home to two-thirds of terrestrial biodiversity and provide livelihoods to more than one billion people.

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