On a recent flight from Jakarta to Denpasar, I stared out the window at the blue sky — a real luxury these days that I was only able to see after passing through toxic haze and smog. I am sure there isn’t a person out there who hasn’t wished for blue skies to return.
UNEP Study Confirms DR Congo Biodiversity Under Threat
Kinshasa – A major Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment of the Democratic Republic of Congo by the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) confirms the country’s wealth of natural resources, but warns that 190 species – including critically endangered Mountain gorillas – are in peril, that the illegal bushmeat trade has devastated biodiversity, and that tropical rainforests are an untapped source of ecosystem revenue worth $900 million annually.
DR Congo possesses half of Africa’s forests and water resources and trillion dollar mineral reserves, and could become a powerhouse of African development provided multiple pressures on its natural resources are urgently addressed.
But the study, Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment of the Democratic Republic of Congo: Synthesis Report for Policy Makers, warns of alarming trends including increased deforestation, species depletion, heavy metal pollution and land degradation from mining, as well as an acute drinking water crisis that has left an estimated 51 million Congolese without access to potable water.
Download the report: [English] [French] (PDF, 5mb)
UN Report Provides Grim Update on State of Gorillas
The future for gorillas in Africa is getting bleaker, according to a UNEP-Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) report that assessed the econimic and environmental pressures threatening the species’ survival. Last Stand of the Gorilla, which was funded by France, UNEP/UNESCO and GRASP as a Contribution to the UNEP/CMS Year of the Gorilla campaign, suggests that accelerating impacts from poaching to illegal logging are hitting great ape populations and habitats faster than previously supposed. UNEP and INTERPOL call for more support for border and customs controls.
Read Last Stand of the Gorilla Interactive e-Book.