WWF's Vision for the Green Heart of Africa

The unique forest, freshwater landscapes and species resources in the Green Heart of Africa are managed sustainably so that biodiversity is conserved, ecosystem functions and services are maintained, global climate is stabilized, and sustainable development and economic growth secure the livelihoods of the people of Central Africa.

Tropical rainforest. Western Congo Basin, Gabon. rel=
Tropical rainforest. Western Congo Basin, Gabon.
© WWF / Martin HARVEY

Three high level goals

In order to stimulate the transformational changes required, and make a significant contribution towards realising this ambitious vision, WWF will targets its efforts towards contributing to the following three high level goals:

Goal 1:

Biodiversity – By 2020, 15 Million hectares of new Protected Areas are gazetted and all PAs are effectively managed and sustainably funded in priority landscapes.

Goal 2:

Biodiversity – By 2020, the rate of net deforestation and associated CO2 emissions are reduced to zero, and bushmeat trade and wildlife off-take are reduced to sustainable levels from priority landscapes.

Goal 3:

Footprint – By 2020, at least 50 per cent of logging concessions (estimated at 25 million ha) are credibly certified, and all major oil and gas, mining, hydropower, agro-industries and associated infrastructure projects which impact priority landscapes implement social and environmental standards that minimize their direct and indirect impacts (on biodiversity and livelihoods.)

Transformational strategies

To achieve these goals, WWF's Green Heart of Africa initiative has developed four transformational strategies. They are intended to lead the way for significant, sustainable and exemplary action.

1: Secure sustainable and innovative financing for conservation through a range of financial mechanisms such as the precedent setting Tri National de la Sangha (TNS) Trust Fund, REDD/Carbon markets and payment for environmental services.

2: Strengthen governance by empowering local people as legal owners and active managers of their natural resources, so that they receive an equitable share of the resulting benefits, and incentives for sustainable management.

3: Best business practices that minimise environmental risk are adopted by private sector and Government through the development and implementation of credible certification and internationally recognised social and environmental standards in all key extractive industry sectors. (Region wide best practice standards for key sectors are adopted, and implemented at the national level.)

4: Build on the transformational Yaoundé Heads of State Summit process by strengthening institutional partnerships including COMIFAC (Central African Forests Commission) and Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), to ensure that existing commitments are fully realised, and that new and ambitious conservation achievements are leveraged and supported by CBPF partners (including China), and that the COMIFAC countries become a unified force in negotiation of International Treaties.

A plan of action

WWF and its partners are working throughout the Congo Basin region to:
  • create a network of protected areas to conserve biodiversity
  • encourage logging and mining companies to promote good management practices
  • promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation of forests
  • support sustainable business practices and financial investments in development and infrastructure projects
  • improve the livelihoods of indigenous and local peoples
  • reduce wildlife poaching and the bushmeat trade
Fishermen rowing on a wooden boat. Dzanga river, Central African Republic
© WWF / Martin HARVEY

Facts & Figures

    • Covering 3.7 million km2- about half of it forested - the Congo Basin spans 6 countries: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of Congo.
    • The Congo River, which flows through the forest, is the second longest in Africa after the Nile.
    • The central part of the Congo Basin receives 2,000-3,000mm of rainfall per year.
    • Some 75 million people live in Congo Basin, including 250 indigenous groups.

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