Progress on the Yaoundé Declaration: transborder
From the start of the Yaoundé Forest Summit till the present day, African leaders have been working to save the forests of the Congo Basin.
Regional/Trans-border conservation achievements include:
- A total of 4.5 million hectares of new forest protected areas have been created. These are spread across Cameroon (889,782 hectares); Republic of Congo (1,000,000 hectares); Equatorial Guinea (515,000 hectares); and Gabon (over 2,000,000 hectares). Complementing existing protected areas in the sub-region, these new protected areas have tripled the size of protected areas in the Congo Basin.
- The Sangha Tri-National (TNS), a 2.8 million hectare stretch of forest in Central Africa , was established following an agreement signed between the Governments of Cameroon, Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo. The agreement is on collaborative management of TNS, and represents a big step towards the battle against poaching and illegal logging. The 2.8 million hectares of forests include national parks and surrounding multiple use zones.
- The Dja-Odzala-Minkebe (TRIDOM) trans-border conservation zone of about 14.6 million hectares spanning the territories of Cameroon, Gabon and Congo, has been endorsed by the three governments and accepted by UNDP-GEF for funding of US$10 million. TRIDOM represents 7.5% of the Congo Basin rainforest and are already under protection nationally.
The TNS and TRIDOM are pioneer conservation initiatives that have significantly contributed in forging a new vision within the Congo Basin on development and implementation of trans-boundary conservation programmes.
- A strategic convergence plan called the "Plan de Convergence" for the implementation of the Yaoundé Declaration was finalized and endorsed by COMIFAC (Commission of Ministers in charge of Forests in Central Africa). This involved the compilation of the different action plans identified by the member states. Priority activities were later identified from the Plan de Convergence.
- Sustainable financing of conservation work has become a priority for Central African governments and partners. Two Trust Funds have been launched, one for the Mont Cameroon area (CAMCOF), another for the TNS, which already mobilised commitments of €7.5 million (about US$10 million) as endowment from the German Government and a joint initiative of WWF and the Krombacher brewery.
- A four-year USAID grant of US$53 million was secured with the launching of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership announced by US Secretary of State Colin Powell in September 2002. The partnership will help conserve 29 protected areas, and promote sustainable forestry and community-based conservation in 11 priority landscapes spanning the Congo Basin .