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UN - Cooperation To Save Central Africa’s Forests

Annan Calls For Across-The-Board Cooperation To Save Central Africa’s Forests

Governments, private companies, local communities and indigenous peoples must all come together to save forests, which play a vital role in fighting poverty and promoting medicine and food security, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has told the leaders of Central Africa.

“Dense tropical rainforests, such as those found in Central Africa, provide an especially wide range of economic, social and environmental functions and services,” he <"">said in a weekend message to the second Central African summit on forest conservation and sustainable management in Brazzaville, Congo.

“Only a balanced approach, such as that of sustainable forest management, will allow us to enjoy these and other benefits over the long term,” he added in the message, delivered by UN Environment Programme (<"">UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer.

“Partnerships among the major stakeholders – including private companies and local communities, especially indigenous peoples – can contribute significantly.”

He stressed the central role of forests in efforts to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development, the livelihood they provide for millions of people and their importance as watersheds and in absorbing carbon and helping to fight climate change.

Their capacity to retain water offers safeguards against flooding and erosion, and the genetic resources found in them are the basis for many advances in medicine and food security, he added.

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