Prime Minister promises £8m to protect forests

Gordon Brown has pledged £8m to support organisations working to stop deforestation.

The money, for the Congo Basin Forest Fund, will boost an existing £50m grant already earmarked for environmental schemes in central Africa. The Norwegian government has donated a further £50m and other governments are expected to follow.

The initiative, part of the £800m Environmental Transformation Fund announced by the Chancellor in 2007, will fund a UK-built state-of-the-art camera system to provide high-resolution images that monitor the rate of deforestation and help UK projects working with local communities to map their areas of the forest.

Projects bidding for funds will have to show that they can stop illegal activities and involve local communities in protecting the forest.

"It is a great honour to mark the launch of the Congo Basin Forest Fund," said Brown. "Together we are pledging to work together to secure the future of one of the world's last remaining ancient forests. Preserving our forests is vital if we are going to reduce global emissions and tackle climate change.

"I look forward to working with leaders and groups in the Congo region and from around the world to preserve these forests and sustain people's livelihoods."

Hannah Jordan recommends

Congo Basin Forest Fund

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