LIBREVILLE, GABON — The United States Government is renewing its longstanding commitment to the protection, conservation, and sustainable management of the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest tropical rainforest with the launch of the fourth phase of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment, also known as CARPE. The U.S. Embassy in Libreville detailed the U.S. government’s renewed commitment to the Congo Basin at the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) Meeting of Parties held July 5-8, 2022, in Libreville, Gabon.
Launched by former United States Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and the Central African Heads of State at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the CBFP is a multi-stakeholder partnership to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of forest ecosystems, combat climate change, and reduce poverty in Central African countries.
To date, USAID/CARPE in partnership with, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Forest Service, has invested over $600 million in biodiversity research, mapping and conservation, livelihoods enhancement, economic development, and climate change mitigation since 1995 through the first three phases of CARPE.
The U.S. delegation was led by Dr. Diana Putman, the Acting Assistant Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Africa. A career Senior Foreign Service Officer and second-generation development specialist, Dr. Putman has spent most of her life overseas and has worked for USAID for 39 years, including five years as Mission Director in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where she oversaw CARPE.
Some of the major achievements of CARPE in the region include:
● Raising awareness of the Congo Basin Forest as a globally important ecosystem for biodiversity and climate change mitigation to the entire world.
● CARPE has supported some of the world’s leading remote sensing work that has led to near real time forest monitoring capacity.
● The development of four landscape planning guides for forest management that are now adopted by all CBFP country members through the Central African Forest Commission.
● The development of the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool known as SMART in protected areas throughout the region to ensure park management decisions are based on the best information possible.
● The strengthening of wildlife law enforcement across many of the major protected areas in Central Africa, which is showing significant impact in terms of reduced poaching
CARPE IV will build on earlier successes and lessons learned and support the vision of a Congo Basin with healthy ecosystems and dynamic local leadership that supports stability and prosperity in communities.