Congo Basin forests continue to disappear, though it'd be worse without the CBFP. As oil fields in some CBFP countries have run dry, governments have scrambled elsewhere seeking revenue, to the forests. In Gabon, Sinopec, a Chinese state-run oil company has been prospecting for new oil reserves in a nature reserve. You will be shocked to learn that Sinopec has been charged with polluting, massively. Reserve areas have been dynamited to create roads, fueling the bush meat trade, creating "empty forests" where elephants, great apes, and buffaloes once lived. China's role bears very close scrutiny. Many CBFP players are operating from a premise that China can be "engaged" on this issue. I have my doubts.
CBFP's implementation needs checking. One of the experts taking part in Tuesday's hearing told us that CBFP aid programs have become too removed from the core mission of protecting parks. Instead of focusing on getting park rangers the equipment and training they need to combat poachers --and it's rough out there-- CBFP funds are backing health, education, and even microloans, things not central to conservation. Goals must be kept focused. Alas, that's not the way of government. I'm going to investigate this CBFP mission creep.
October 02, 2009, 03:00 pm