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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/111

(2003/C 110 E/115) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2825/02

by Kathleen Van Brempt (PSE) to the Commission

(8 October 2002)

Subject: American ‘Congo Basin Forest Partnership’  Commission’s position

At the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, US Secretary of State Colin Powell
announced the American Congo Basin Forest partnership to protect forests in the Congo Basin. To support
this initiative, which is to be carried out with the support of governments of the Central African countries
concerned, other donor countries and a number of non-governmental partners, the US will make available
an amount of approximately USD 60 million, spread over five years.

What is the Commission’s position on the US initiative? Does the Commission intend to participate along
with several Member States? If not, why not? If so, why was this initiative announced unilaterally by the
United States and has Europe allowed itself to be upstaged by the United States in media and political
terms, despite the fact that European Parliament and Council Regulation (EC) 2494/2000 (1) on measures
to promote the conservation and sustainable management of tropical forests and other forests in the
developing countries for the period 2002 to 2006 provides for EUR 249 million, which is significantly
more than the resources anticipated from the United States?

(1) OJ L 288, 15.11.2000, p. 6.

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(18 November 2002)

The Commission, Belgium, Germany, France and the United Kingdom are all partners in the Congo Basin
Type II Partnership for Forests announced in September 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable
Development (WSSD).

The Member of the Commission responsible for Development joined the US secretary of State at his
invitation at the launch ceremony on 4 September 2002 in Johannesburg and addressed the meeting on
behalf of all the Union partners. Also represented among the speakers at the joint launch of the
partnership were the Governments of South Africa, the Republic of Congo, and a representative of a non-
governmental organisation. The Commission considers that the effective delivery of development aid is
best achieved by giving more attention to donor coordination than to competition for media attention.

The Commission foresees spending of approximately EUR 42 million on forests and environment in the
Central Africa region from 2002-2006, as set out in the relevant Country and Regional Strategies. This is
in addition to the approximately EUR 200 million the Commission has already spent on forests and
environment in the region since 1988.

Whilst Budget Line B7-6200 for Tropical Forests and Environment in Developing Countries has a financial
envelope of EUR 249 million for 2002-2006, it is managed through an open call for proposals, and must
balance competing claims for resources from different regions. It is, nevertheless, expected that resources
from this financial instrument will also contribute to the partnership.

The Commission wishes to note that its intention to participate in the Congo Basin Forest Partnership is
also set out in the Regional Strategy for Central Africa, which was approved recently by the Commission.
Community Aid will support regional efforts to achieve conservation and sustainable management of the
forests and natural resources of the Congo Basin. The overall objective is to contribute to reducing poverty
of populations and future generations of the region, by conserving the biodiversity and ecosystems of
Central Africa. In order to ensure complementarity between Community instruments, co-financing will be
sought with other financial instruments, including National Indicative Programmes and Regional Indicative
Programmes from adjacent regions.