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FAO and Brazilian development bank set first steps for agreement on forest monitoring in the Congo Basin

11 countries from COMIFAC will benefit from the FAO-led South-South Cooperation project
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FAO and Brazilian development bank set first steps for agreement on forest monitoring in the Congo Basin

11 countries from COMIFAC will benefit from the FAO-led South-South Cooperation project

Rome, 23 June 2014 - The plan for an agreement to implement a FAO project on forest monitoring system in the ten countries from the Congo Basin officially kicked off this Monday.

According to this agreement, the Brazilian National Development Bank (BNDES) would grant FAO the amount of US$ 36,67 million from the Amazon Fund, which is administered by the Brazilian institution.

With this financial support, FAO will facilitate the implementation of a South-South Cooperation project together with the countries of the Central African Forestry Commission (COMIFAC). Here they are: Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe.

During the ceremony which celebrated the conclusion of this initial stage, the Executive Director of BNDES, Guilherme Lacerda, delivered a letter to the Director-General of FAO, José Graziano da Silva, on which the bank is ready to examine the feasibility of the project and the transfer request.

“While this cooperation project is still pending to be finished and approved, today’s step confirms that we are on the right track towards a stronger cooperation between our institutions”, said Graziano da Silva. “We trust the path is now ready for all of us to engage, so as this exemplary South-South initiative may be launched in the nearest possible future” he added.

FAO Director-General also highlighted that this would be the first agreement to be signed with a development bank of a country from South. "This is a process of mutual learning," said Graziano da Silva, reiterating that a technical mission of FAO should go to Rio de Janeiro, where bank’ headquarters is located, to conclude negotiations. "We will have 60 days to do it, and we will do it" he concluded.

The Executive Director of BNDES, Guilherme Lacerda, explained which is the stage reached. "This letter formalizes an advanced stage of negotiation on which we expect to be completed quickly," said the Brazilian representative.

The event was also attended by the Minister of Agriculture and Environment of Chad and Acting President of COMIFAC, Mrs. Rosine Amane Baîwong Djebergui, and representatives from African countries.

The representative of Cameroon praised the initiative. He added that his country, on June 12th, formalized its adhesion to the project before the Embassy of Brazil in Yaoundé. "We are delighted and optimistic that this agreement will thrive."

The Amazon Fund, administered by BNDES and financially supported by the Governments of Norway and Germany and by Brazilian oil company Petrobras, intends to support forests monitoring in order to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in tropical biomes. So far, the Fund has raised around US$ 1 billion.