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Visit of UK representatives to Mbandaka

MONUC - January 29, 2008


Mr. Barry Gardiner, the special envoy of the British Prime Minister, visited Mbandaka from 23-24 January 2008, accompanied by the Congolese minister for the Environment Jose Endondo and the UK Ambassador in the DRC Nick Kay.

The delegation’s mission was to inform itself of the needs of the native population and the priority actions to be undertaken before the British government grants approximately US$120 million for the development of the forestry sector.

The delegation, accompanied by MONUC representatives, went to Bikoro, 128 kilometers south of Mbandaka, where it met the pygmies, the first occupants of the equatorial forest.

The granting of this gift to the Congolese government, indicated Mr. Gardiner, is related to the respect of certain conditions laid down by the British government, namely the development and the placement of mechanisms guaranteeing the access of the populations to the promised financing.

The objective of this support of the United Kingdom is to help to rationalise the forestry development in the Congo river basin, which comprises 60% of the African rainforest, of which 40% is found in the province of Equateur.

The protection of the forests of the planet is a major objective within the framework of the millennium development goals, in particular the safeguarding of biodiversity, climate change and the rights of native peoples.

Let us note that this effort of the United Kingdom comes in addition to a financing from the African Development Bank(BAD) of US$50 million for the forestry sector. This is in conjunction with the cooperation actions of Belgium, the United States, and the European Union, in prelude to other bilateral and multilateral contributions, according to Minister Endondo.

USAID representative John Flynn, Andrew Ingliss and Holger Grundel of DFID, and Jaap Schoorl, technical Advisor of the GTZ, also formed part of the delegation.

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