Congo-Brazzaville President Named AU’s Lead Climate Change Spokesman Before UN
BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo, has been named the lead spokesperson for the African Union on climate change. The appointment was made at the AU’s Special Summit in Tripoli, Libya last week.
President Sassou will address the United Nations General Assembly on September 22nd on the impact of climate change on Africa and regional efforts to ensure global sustainability. Sassou will also represent the AU in this capacity at the climate change treaty negotiations in Copenhagen in December.
As one of the stewards of the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest rainforest, President Sassou has long been committed to conservation, sustainability and other environmental protection measures.
Sassou Nguesso is launching a new initiative to safeguard the Congo Basin from deforestation, one which unifies the six countries that make up the Congo Basin region and presents an African solution to climate change. Nearly two million acres of Congo Basin forests disappear every year due to illegal and legal logging, mining, agriculture and the needs of a growing population. The United Nations estimates that more than two-thirds of the Congo Basin forest could be lost by 2040.
Earlier this year, the Republic of Congo signed a landmark agreement with the European Union to create new sustainable forest management practices for the country’s forests. The European Forest Institute called the agreement “the culmination of several years of work between the EU, the government of Republic of Congo, and civil societies groups.”
In October 2008, Sassou Nguesso hosted the 6th Global Forum on Sustainable Development in Brazzaville with ten African leaders to outline a broad sustainability action plan. Provisions of the plan include increasing the number of protected areas, better treatment and respect for indigenous populations and greater care for forests.
The Congolese government also plays a significant role in wildlife conservation, and has been particularly key to protecting endangered western lowland gorillas. Last summer, an enclave of 125,000 gorillas was discovered in the north of the Republic of Congo.
In an editorial, the New York Times said the discovery was “extraordinary” and served as “a powerful incentive to create new protected areas to help western lowland gorillas the way other national parks in the Congo Republic have already done.” Dr. Steven Sanderson, head of the Wildlife Conservation Society said, “For the last 17 years we have been working with the government of the Republic of Congo to ensure conservation in the northern part of the country and that seems to be working. But the credit and the joy should be in the government of the Congo and among the citizens of Congo because they’ve really committed to this even in light of a lot of other pressing demands.”
This material is distributed by Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates on behalf of the Office of the President of the Republic of Congo. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
SOURCE Office of the President of the Republic of Congo