At the initiative of the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF) and the European Union, the mayors of Central African countries are meeting from Tuesday 27 September in Gabon. The conference ends on Wednesday and focuses on the protection of forests and ecosystems in cities and their suburbs in the face of real estate pressure.
The Libreville meeting which opens this Tuesday has several objectives. According to Baudelaire Ekoumajou, a Cameroonian expert in urban forestry, this meeting will allow African mayors to share knowledge on the issue of communalization of forests. Also, to participate in the classification and management of forests and the conservation of forest ecosystems.
“It is important for the population’ living environment and for carbon sequestration,” he says.
Mangroves affected, fisheries production down
Landry Lignabou, president of the NGO Plurmea, watches over the well-being of mangroves in the neighborhoods of Libreville and its surroundings. He says he is very saddened every time he discovers that this vegetation where fish and crabs are born is being attacked by property developers.
“Just yesterday, we were able to observe new buildings that are inside the mangrove. And not only is the mangrove destroyed, but there is also a net decrease in the crustaceans that we used to see.”
Mangroves are ecosystems composed of mangrove trees, trees that are able to grow in intertidal areas where the soil is regularly covered with salt. Some species even have their roots immersed in sea water twice a day.
Accelerated urbanization, a real threat to vegetation
Apart from the mangrove, all the protected forests of Libreville are threatened with disappearance. A phenomenon that is observed throughout the African continent, says Baudelaire Ekoumajou, a Cameroonian expert in urban forestry. “Cities are not stopping growing. By 2050, nearly 75% of the world’s population will live in urban areas.”
The meeting of Central African mayors for the safeguarding of urban ecosystems ends tomorrow, Wednesday 28 September. The conclusions of the Libreville meeting will be presented in November at the COP27 in Egypt.