Libreville, 2 March 2023 (TDI): A two-day conference (One Forest Summit) to highlight the key environmental role and value of the Congo Basin rainforest has started from Wednesday in Gabon.

African leaders as well as French President Emmanuel Macron are attending the Conference. French President and Gabon’s President Ali Bongo are co-hosting the one Forest Summit.

At the conference leaders of African tropical countries are expected to support new opportunities for regional growth compatible with maintaining Congo Basin’s crucial biodiversity and its crucial role in climate regulation.

Governments within and outside the region will focus on research, sustainable products, and creative financing for climate and wildlife protection.

Long recognized as heaven for biodiversity, Congo Basin is increasingly acknowledged also as a buffer against climate change.

However, tropical forest especially Congo Basin is under threat from loggers. Between 2015 to 2021, around 10 million hectares (25 million acres) of forests were destroyed annually, according to United Nations figures.

The Conference also prioritize how to minimize and preserve tropical forests for their values in supporting biodiversity and strong carbon emissions.

Notably, the host nation, Gabon, became the first African nation to be recompensed through carbon credits for protecting its forests.

Gabon “absorbs around 100 million tons of CO2 per year, three tons every second,” President of Gabon Ali Bongo told the reporter ahead of the conference.

Further, he added, “A big focus at the conference will be on the forests of the Congo Basin, a crucial carbon “sink” and haven to rare species that is second in size to Amazonia.”

UN Webinar to assist One Forest Summit capabilities

Earlier, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network also hosted a webinar session before the One Forest Summit.

It set the foundation for a synthesis of current Congo Basin research as well as a new, extensive research initiative to increase regional expertise and capacity.

Also Read: UN calls for SDG stimulus for climate action in developing countries

Modeled on the successful large-scale Biosphere atmosphere experiment in Amazonia the LBA Program, was a collaboration between Brazil, the US, and Europe.

Formerly begun in 1998 and led by Brazilian scientists, the LBA Program was a ten-year, 100-million-dollar climate science investment.

The Scientists from LBA Program and experts and professors from the African region also participated in the Webinar session.