Monday, July 14, 2014

Biodiversity of the Congo Basin

The forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin constitute the second largest area of contiguous tropical forest in the world and represent approximately twenty percent of the world’s remaining closed canopy tropical forest. They are home to conservation worthy animal species such as bonobos, mountain gorillas and okapis. These forests do not only play a significant role for global biodiversity conservation, they also provide essential regional and global ecological services as carbon sink and as a freshwater catchment basin. Millions of people depend on these natural resources for their survival in a unique ecosystem that is endangered by deforestation, poaching, over-fishing and mining activities.

This conference brought together African and international scientific communities and other stakeholders to exchange information, compare and jointly analyze data to facilitate efforts to conserve the biodiversity and the natural resources of the Congo basin. 

The main outcome of this conference will be a strengthened network of interested parties, also from the Amazon Basin, that provides improved access to up-to-date information on their biological and ecological resources to the governments of the DR Congo and other countries of the Congo Basin. This enhanced flow of information can be helpful to these countries to develop the national strategies on their renewable natural resources and to facilitate well-founded decision making in this regard.

Over 220 participants from 23 countries attended the conference in early June. Their contributions were made available via the conference website which also contains a joint statement of all participants. It contains recommendations for a future research agenda for the biodiversity in the Congo basin and the conditions required to support their implementation.

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