Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, March 10, 2003

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Congo Basin and the Struggle to Save
One of World’s Most Important Ecosystems

Rep. Edward Royce Schedules Tuesday Oversight Hearing

BACKGROUND -- The tropical forests of the Congo Basin in central Africa, second in size only to the Amazon, are under siege from logging, commercial wildlife ("bushmeat") hunting and subsistence agriculture. If current deforestation and bushmeat depletion trends are not reversed, the countries of this region, home to the most diverse grouping of plants and animals in Africa, will pay an inestimable economic, environmental, social and cultural price. Recognizing the U.S. interest in conserving this area of extraordinary biological richness, the Bush Administration last summer announced the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), aimed at promoting economic development, alleviating poverty, and improving local governance through natural resource conservation programs in the several countries of the region. The Subcommittee on Africa will hear from three Administration officials about the CBFP. Also testifying and making a visual presentation to the Subcommittee will be world-renowned ecologist Michael Fay, a pioneer in Congo Basin forest conservation efforts who was gored by an elephant last December in Gabon. Fay’s work was recently profiled in the New York Times.

WHAT: Oversight hearing: "Saving the Congo Basin: The Stakes, The Plan"

Subcommittee on Africa, U.S. Rep. Edward R. Royce, Chairman

WHEN: 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 11, 2003

WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES: Panel I: Walter H. Kansteiner III, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State; John F. Turner, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State; Constance Berry Newman, Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development; Panel II: J. Michael Fay, Ph.D, Ecologist, Wildlife Conservation Society

Questions to be raised during this hearing:

bulletWhat is the U.S. stake in conserving Congo Basin forests?
bulletHow well is the Congo Basin Forest Partnership working?
bulletWhat are its odds of succeeding in its challenging mission?