The Sub-Group on Protected Areas and Wildlife in Central Africa (SGTAPFS) is holding its 12th meeting in Kigali, Rwanda. The meeting, which runs from September 27 to October 1, 2021, consists of validating two studies, one on the harmonization and improvement of legislative and institutional frameworks related to the management of wildlife and protected areas, and the other on the opportunities for labeling protected areas in Central Africa.
The future of Central Africa’s biodiversity is of concern to the ten member states of the Central African Forest Commission (Comifac). “The forests of the Congo Basin are on the verge of becoming the first green lung of the planet earth after the heavy deforestation recorded in recent years in the Amazon Basin,” said Chouaibou Nchoutpouen, Comifac’s Deputy Secretary General. Recent estimates by Global Forest Watch (GFW) researchers show that the forests of the Congo Basin sequester 600 million tons of CO2 more than they emit per year. Their average emissions and absorption reach respectively 530 million and 1.1 billion tons of carbon.
However, this green lung of the planet remains confronted with many challenges of nature conservation in general and sustainable management of forest ecosystems in particular. These challenges are reflected in the poaching of key wildlife species such as large mammals, illegal logging, abusive and informal logging for energy purposes, and land use conflicts.
The creation of the SGTAPFS, for a sustainable management of biodiversity
To address the challenges and threats to biodiversity conservation, Comifac established in 2011 the Sub-Group on Protected Areas and Wildlife in Central Africa (SGTAPFS). Its objective is to contribute to the sustainable management of protected areas and wildlife in the countries of the Comifac space. Thus, as part of its 12th session, from September 27 to October 1, 2021 in Kigali, Rwanda, the SGTAPFS will proceed to the validation of two studies, one on the harmonization and improvement of legislative and institutional frameworks related to the management of wildlife and protected areas and the other on the opportunities for labeling protected areas in Central Africa.
On the sidelines of this meeting, an updated assessment of the state of protected areas and wildlife in the ten member countries of Comifac will be presented. The recent publication of the State of Protected Areas in Central Africa shows that the sub-regional network currently includes 206 protected areas occupying about 799,000 km2, all categories combined.