For IMMEDIATE Release
Congo Basin and the Struggle to Save
One of Worlds Most Important Ecosystems
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. Fays 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:
|What is the U.S. stake in conserving Congo Basin forests?|
|How well is the Congo Basin Forest Partnership working?|
|What are its odds of succeeding in its challenging mission?|