Stop EU $50 Million Financing of Ecologically Destructive Roads across Cameroon's Rainforests!

This is from Rainforest Rescue, a German Group.

The most immediate threat to great apes and other central African wildlife is illegal poaching, consumption, and trade which is made possible by the logging infrastructure. The media coverage we have seen seems to indicate that there is little to no enforcement of existing hunting laws and as a consequence, illegal timber concessions and poaching have expanded rapidly. BBC and German TV stations have documented the immense damage and the poaching of gorillas and chimps. The ecosystem as basis for the local economy is being destroyed and the pygmy population is losing its life-supporting resources and livelihood causing its social organization to be uprooted.

We understand that this exploding "bushmeat" trade especially threatens the chimpanzee and gorilla and that they will face extinction in the coming decades if action to stop the slaughter of wildlife for meat is not taken.

In addition, recent findings, published in scientific journals, have shown that deadly viruses such as HIV and Ebola originated from chimpanzees and other primates. Furthermore, the spread of these viruses into human populations might be directly linked to the commercialization of the bushmeat trade and as such this practice affects us all.

Having already helped wreck the rainforests around the World Heritage Dja Biosphere Reserve, the European Commission is now proposing a massive new aid program of road-upgrades in the south of Cameroon. The Commission has no plans to conduct Environmental Impact Assessments before proceeding.

With the taxpayers' money the EU plans to give a 52 - 55 million ECU grant to Cameroon for road projects. Neither the EU nor Cameroon is saying which roads they will fund and rehabilitate. The lack of information makes it impossible to comment in details of the transport projects. It is likely that the EU Development Fund will decide on the grant the second week of July but they do not say exactly when. We urge you to inquire about the outcome of the decision after the second week of July to determine what additional action will be taken.

We are urging everyone to write letters (e-mail addresses below) to the European Commission and request that the details of this road project and other projects be discussed publicly so that concerned individuals can be involved. We also need to request that a full Environmental Impact Assessment be done to evaluate the possible effects before the grant is approved. Cameroon needs to be urged to demonstrate effective control of poaching and illegal logging before the approval of this grant. A Sample letter is available for your use or modification.

Address your letter to: Joao de Deus Pinheiro
Commissioner for Development Cooperation
The European Commission
Rue de La Loi 200
1049 Brussels, Belgium

Ask that funding for destructive road building projects is ceased, and that proper safeguards to protect the environment are built into all EC-funded development projects. See sample letter you can use.

Please copy the German development minister who is currently Chair of the EU Development Council:

Frau Ministerin Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul
Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ)
Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 40
53113 Bonn, Germany
Tel: 0228-535-3311      Fax: 0228-535-3325

Those in England may also want to copy:

Clare Short
Secretary of State for International Development
Department for International Development
94 Victoria Street
London, SWlE SJL, England

Ask that DFID, as the UK's representative on the EDF committee, rejects the new proposal for road building in Cameroon.

Please also copy your letter to Rainforest Rescue who is coordinating this campaign so that they can evaluate the progress of this protest. Tell them you saw this at the Bushmeat Crisis website.

Rettet den Regenwald e. V.
Rainforest Rescue - in German
Rettet den Regenwald e.V.
Friedhofsweg 28
22337 Hamburg, Germany
Tel. +49- 40 - 4103804   ~~   Fax:+49- 40 - 4500144

For more information, in English see with sound clips about the impact of a previous EU-funded road project in Cameroon, and a briefing on the latest threats. (click on Cameroon Action Alert)

The Rainforest Foundation UK -
City Cloisters
188 Old Street
London EC1V 9FR, England
Tel: +44 171 251 6345      Fax: +44 171 251 4969

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