Jane Goodall Institute-US and Bezos Earth Fund Join Forces to Further Conservation in the Congo Basin

Jane Goodall Institute-US and Bezos Earth Fund Join Forces to Further Conservation in the Congo Basin
February 20, 2024 Sylvie Le

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 20, 2024, Washington, D.C. — In partnership with the Bezos Earth Fund, the Jane Goodall Institute -USA (JGI) announced plans to further expand its evidence-based, community-led conservation efforts to protect forests and biodiversity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo (RoC) — a critically important region essential to the healthy functioning of our shared planet.

In a video announcement, Dr. Goodall said, “I would like to truly thank the Bezos Earth Fund for supporting our conservation work in Africa. The protection of these forests, with their rich biodiversity, is crucial not only for the survival of the great apes, but also in efforts to slow down climate change.”

With a $5 million grant provided by the Earth Fund, JGI will continue and expand these conservation efforts across an area roughly the size of Connecticut focused in three regions covering 701,660 hectares in the DRC, and five regions covering 805,828 hectares in the RoC.  JGI will work with Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) as well as the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) in the DRC and Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) in the RoC. The work includes local capacity building, monitoring of biodiversity threats using cutting-edge mobile technologies and new high-resolution satellite sensors, and the development of sustainable livelihoods through climate-smart agroforestry and markets.

“Jeff and I were privileged to experience the Congo Basin’s rich biodiversity and breathtaking beauty firsthand, along with a team from the Bezos Earth Fund, which fueled our determination to protect it,” said Bezos Earth Fund Vice Chair Lauren Sánchez. “Now, in collaboration with one of my personal heroes, the extraordinary Dr. Jane Goodall, we are teaming up to help safeguard it now and for future generations. Simply put, the world can’t afford to lose the Congo Basin.”

This partnership will increase JGI’s efforts to safeguard the integrity and significant environmental carbon value of the larger Congo Basin rainforest and to preserve the cultures and values of local and Indigenous communities and the future of this resource-rich region of Africa.

The Congo Basin is often considered to be the hearth of Africa. It is home to 10,000 species of plants, 400 species of mammals, and 75 million people. Because of its wealth of resources, the region faces a myriad of human threats, including logging, mining, overpopulation, the illegal wildlife trade, and climate change.

The Bezos Earth Fund, with grantee partners, is working to establish and strengthen protected areas in the Congo Basin, focusing on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, and Gabon – which collectively hold two-thirds of the intact forests in the Congo Basin.

“We are very grateful for this support and partnership with the Bezos Earth Fund,” said Anna Rathmann, executive director, Jane Goodall Institute USA. “Not only can JGI continue to advance our efforts with this generous funding, but the project will contribute significant environmental benefit and biodiversity protection to the larger Congo Basin rainforest through this community-led work, with the added benefit of preserving the natural heritage of this incredibly rich region of Africa.”

For more than 30 years, JGI has been applying Dr. Jane Goodall’s pioneering community-led conservation approach — “Tacare” — across the chimpanzee range in Africa and has since used the approach alongside communities in vitally important ecosystems in both the DRC and the RoC. Through this work, JGI has supported local communities, governments, and protected area managers with resources, facilitating tools, and trainings, including the adoption and use of the latest geospatial technologies. These help to inform land-use and conservation action planning, implementation of these plans, and other decision-making on and monitoring of landscapes across these regions.

Since 1994, JGI has been a leader in community-led conservation. In Tanzania and Uganda, JGI has supported 108 villages, 4 districts, 27 parishes and more than 1,800 private forest owners and 287 forest monitors have been engaged and trained. Across Africa, more than 1,200 mobile field data collection devices have been deployed and more than one million observations have contributed to help preserve and protect the precious ecosystems in the care of these communities.

 

About the Jane Goodall Institute 
The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community-centered conservation organization founded in 1977 that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By understanding, protecting and improving the welfare of chimpanzees and other great apes, while inspiring action to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, other animals, and the environment. Learn more at janegoodall.org. Follow Jane and JGI at Facebook.com/JaneGoodall and @janegoodallinst on Instagram and Twitter. 

About the Bezos Earth Fund

The Bezos Earth Fund is helping transform the fight against climate change with the largest ever philanthropic commitment to climate and nature protection. Jeff Bezos has committed $10 billion in this decisive decade to protect nature and address climate change. By providing funding and expertise, we partner with organizations to accelerate innovation, break down barriers to success and create a more equitable and sustainable world. Join us in our mission to create a world where people prosper in harmony with nature.

Media Contacts
For JGI – Erin Griffin, 202-913-2015, egriffin@janegoodall.org
For the Bezos Earth Fund – Claire Pfitzinger, press@bezosearthfund.org