French Development Agency, CI Partner To Promote Conservation and Fight Poverty

7/9/2004

Under the three-year agreement, AFD will invest millions to protect coral reefs in the South Pacific, forests in Africa and to create protected areas in Madagascar and the Caribbean

Washington, DC - In a sweeping effort to improve living conditions for some of the world�s poorest communities through biodiversity conservation projects, the French Development Agency (AFD) and one of the world�s largest environmental organizations, Conservation International (CI), signed a three-year agreement today to work in Africa, the South Pacific and the Caribbean.

Under the deal, the organizations will work together in the forests of the Congo Basin and Mozambique, protected areas in Madagascar and the Caribbean, and coral reefs in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Under the joint agreement, AFD recently invested 3 million euros (US$3.6 million) as part of an 8.7-million euro project to help build capacity among communities in the South Pacific to manage and conserve the region's coral reefs.

"We're extremely excited about this strong new relationship that is developing with the AFP on various fronts relating to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development," said Russell Mittermeier, the president of CI. "France has within its national territory portions of five hotspots - more than any other nation. In addition, it is the only European nation among the 18 Megadiversity countries and one of only three developed nations on this list."

Hotspots are terrestrial reservoirs of biodiversity wealth, and CI is currently working to protect 25 of these regions. CI also works closely with the 18 nations that are the richest in biodiversity � called Megadiverse countries � including France.

From its headquarters in Paris and its 40 field offices, AFD works in more than 60 nations around the globe focusing on a broad range of development issues, including education and environmental projects that have a measurable impact on quality of life.

"The partnership we are establishing between AFD and CI, a major worldwide foundation, will not only help conserve biodiversity but also the fight against poverty in France and developing countries," said AFD Director General Jean-Michel Severino.

Among the joint initiatives, AFD is considering an investment of at least 2-million euros (US$2.5-million) in the Madagascar Protected Areas Trust Fund, which supports existing protected areas and helps create new ones on that island nation. In addition, AFD and CI are studying the opportunity to work with Mozambique and South Africa to help double the size of Kruger National Park � one of the world's most renowned and oldest wildlife parks, established in 1898.

A full copy of the agreement and interviews available upon request

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Created by General De Gaulle in London in 1941, the Agence Fran�aise de D�veloppement, a public institution, belongs to French system of Public Development Assistance (APD). It is active in over 60 countries in Africa, the Pacific region, Asia, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in French overseas areas. It has a network of 45 agencies and offices throughout the world, and carries out its missions on behalf of the State on its own behalf. In 2003, the French government authorized the expansion of its field of intervention to include six new countries: Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Thailand and China. For more information about AFD visit: www.afd.fr

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