Paris, 26 October 2007: A new and legally-binding
Agreement for the conservation of gorillas is open for
signature in Paris today.
Representatives of nine African Range States hammered
out the terms of the new Agreement to protect man’s
closest relatives, at a meeting earlier this week hosted
by the Government of France and the United Nations (UNEP)
Convention on Migratory Species.
The main objective of the Agreement
is to conserve and restore Gorilla populations in Central
and West Africa through an Action Plan covering education,
research and forest protection. The Gorilla Agreement
will provide legal teeth to support an urgent conservation
and sustainable development programme under the Great
Apes Survival Project Partnership (GRASP), an alliance
of over 30 Governments, UN agencies and numerous voluntary
bodies whose new programme “Plan It for the Apes”
was also published this week. The CMS Secretariat will
work in close co-operation with GRASP to the Gorilla Agreement.
At the request of the Range States, the new Agreement
also links gorilla conservation explicitly to the objectives
of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) which convenes
in Paris today. Speaking to the Ministerial session of
the CBFP, Robert Hepworth, Executive Secretary of CMS,
emphasized the opportunity to achieve environmental and
development objectives simultaneously:
"We have GRASP mobilizing a grand
alliance of Governments and civil society to “Plan
It for the Apes”. We have the Congo Basin Forest
Partnership mobilizing resources for forests and the millions
of many poor people who depend on them. We have outstanding
examples in Uganda and Rwanda of how Gorilla tourism can
help local communities to become self-sufficient. We have
a new report from UNEP today about responding to the environmental
causes and consequences of the current conflict in DRC
particularly by developing new and greener energy to reduce
demand for fuel from the forest where gorillas and many
other endangered animals and plants live. We have a clear
understanding of how important - and relatively cheap
- the conservation of existing forests can be in creating
a carbon-neutral planet.
Now the Convention on Migratory Species
has joined forces with gorilla Range States and France
to negotiate a new "Treaty for the Apes" in
record time - 3 days of concentrated negotiations.
We have to use the opportunity to weave
the strands represented by these key objectives into a
robust cloth which will allow humans and the gorillas,
as our closest relatives, to live in harmony and peace".
here to see meeting documents and outcomes...
UNEP / CMS Secretariat
United Nations Premises
53113 Bonn, Germany
Tel. (+49 228) 815 2425
Fax. (+49 228) 815 2449