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April 17th, 2012
The Countries of the Congo Basin are Using Geo-spatial Technologies for the Sustainable Development of Forest Ecosystems

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The partnership established in 2010 between the AFD and Astrium aims, in the long term, to freely distribute SPOT satellite images to governments, public institutions and NGOs that work for the sustainable management of forests in Central Africa.  This programme for the provision of SPOT satellite images, which is financed by the AFD for a total sum of 8.5 million Euros, is now entering its second phase. It is piloted by French institutions specialising in the field of spatial observation united as a consortium led by IGN France International (IGN FI) and made up of the National Centre for Spatial Studies (CNES), the National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information (IGN) and the Institute of Research for Development (IRD).

Spatial observation has long been used by professionals in the forestry field as a decision-support tool for the planning and management of forests, inventory work and forest cartography. SPOT satellite imagery combines a large coverage capacity with resolutions spanning from 20 to 2.5 metres, allowing for accurate monitoring of forest coverage. The archive images (from 1990 to 2011) serve as reference data in order to assess the commitments related to REDD+. The acquisition of new images allows for the updating of information over time in order to follow the evolution of deforestation and adapt environmental policies.

Vincent Kasulu Seya Makonga, Director of Sustainable Development and representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the framework convention of the United Nations on Climate Change (UNFCCC) welcomes the deployment of this project in his country: “The SPOT data is an essential information source and its provision provides real added value, especially for the Measurement, Reporting & Verification (MRV) system that we are implementing in the context of REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and the Degradation of forests), as well as for the development of our National Forest Inventory.”

The processing of the satellite images will allow the beneficiaries to be able to more easily analyse these data and to better use them in order to shape their strategic choices. The second phase will also contribute to the preparation of reference scenarios in terms of deforestation and the degradation of forests that are helpful for establishing national climate plans in the context of goals for the reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases.

Indeed, the forests of the Congo Basin represent 22% of forestry coverage worldwide and form a carbon reservoir of more than 56 gigatonnes. Their sustainable development is essential in preventing climate change.
Thanks to this initiative, the countries of the Congo Basin are reinforcing their commitment to the prevention of climate change.

About the French Agency of Development

The French Agency of Development (AFD) is a public institution that has been working for seventy years to fight poverty and favour development in Southern and overseas countries. It implements policies defined by the French government. With offices in over 50 countries and 9 overseas departments and territories, the AFD finances and supports projects that improve populations’ living conditions, boost economic growth and protect the planet: education, maternal health, support for farmers and small companies, water supply, preservation of tropical rain forests, prevention of global warming… In 2010, the AFD devoted more than 6.8 billion Euros to the financing of actions in developing countries and in favour of the overseas territories. They will contribute to the education of 13 million children, the improvement of the drinking water supply for 33 million people and the granting of micro-loans for a little over 700,000 people. Energy efficiency projects over the same period will save nearly 5 million tons of CO² per year.

About IGN France International

IGN France International was created in 1986 and is the international subsidiary of the French IGN (National Institute of Geographic and Forest Information). Over the years, the company has shown itself to be an indispensable player in both of its sectors of intervention: geographic information (acquisition, processing, modelling) and geographic information systems (implementation and integration). It works on all types of projects in the following fields: Cadastre and land administration, urban planning, energy, environment, risk management, water, security/precision work, agriculture.

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