Before It’s Too Late: Deriving sustainable value from wildlife in the western Congo Basin

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June 2018
World Bank Group

Wildlife in the Western Congo Basin—defined here as Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo—is rapidly disappearing due to poaching and unsustainable hunting. This trend extends across many species that face pressure from hunting for bushmeat and for commercial export of valuable animal products, as well as habitat degradation. 

Creating economic value from wildlife is key for building a sustainable forest economy and for conservation. This report presents lessons from international experience for creating economic value from wildlife. It classifyies key approaches into three groups: 

  • Creating new economic value, including through wildlife tourism, community forest management, community wildlife management;
  • Distributing benefits to the communities that harbor and use or are directly affected by wildlife, including through protected area benefit sharing, payments for environmental services, and managing human-wildlife conflict; and
  • Creating enabling conditions for deriving sustainable value from wildlife, including through high-level political commitment to improve the governance of wildlife, Improved law enforcement, organizational reform and capacity building and land use planning 

The report emphasizes that building value from wildlife must be part of a broader conservation approach, and that conservation is particularly important in the short term, given the ongoing overexploitation of the resource whose very survival is threatened.