Gabon and other nations are receiving very little support for their efforts to preserve rainforests, according to the country’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba.
“Some 88% of Gabon is covered by tropical rainforest and we have one of the lowest deforestation rates on the planet,” Bongo told his counterparts from France and Africa at the One Forest Summit in the capital Libreville on Thursday.
“Rather than applauding our achievements, the developed world seems to be not interested. We have not yet received from partners what they promised.”
He said the international response remains “weak” compared to the efforts countries are putting in, stressing that the push to save tropical forests deserves “the best investment.”
He called for a “radical change” in economic models and global equity systems.
“We will have to overcome the collective reluctance of developed nations to pay for the services provided,” he asserted.
French President Emmanuel Macron agreed on the need to support countries of the Congo Basin in ecosystem preservation policies and the thorny issue of carbon credits.
“We have decided to make more than €100 million ($106 million) in additional funds, including €50 million ($53 million) from France, available to countries that wish to accelerate their strategies to protect vital carbon and biodiversity reserves within the framework of positive conservation partnerships,” he said.
These countries have already done a lot for humanity and need support and investment, not aid, he said.
Macron called for a “fair agreement” between the international community and the countries, as well as their Indigenous populations.
The key challenge is to complement carbon finance with more comprehensive mechanisms that integrate the notion of stock and of carbon and biodiversity, and that are more robust and regulated, he added.
“It’s a bit absurd because we have a market that doesn’t recognize the value of stocks. More money is being put into fixing the mistakes that have been made, but not at all into helping to preserve the treasures that we already have,” he said.
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