Interview with Secretary of State for Forests and the Environment

Following the seminar organised on 27th March at the Ministry for Forests and the Environment on biodiversity, and a study and evaluation of the potential of genetic resources in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, the Secretary of State for Forests and the Environment, Santiago Francisco Engonga Esono, offered an interview to, to give his impressions of the seminar.

What was involved in the biodiversity seminar?

“As you know, Equatorial Guinea is part of the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity, and this convention has three main objectives. The first objective is the conservation of biological resources; the second objective is the rational use of these resources, and the third objective is equal access and sharing of the benefits originating from the use of genetic resources.

Along these lines, and based on the third objective, Equatorial Guinea, as a member country of this convention, has certain obligations, together with the rest of the countries.

Equatorial Guinea is one of the wealthiest countries in the subregion with respect to biodiversity. More than 60% of our land surface is covered in forest, and in these forests there are important species of flora and fauna, such as elephants, crocodiles, chimpanzees, gorillas, a variety of reptiles, etc. On a marine level -around 374.000 km� of territorial waters- there are very important species, such as whales, dolphins, etc. This means that Equatorial Guinea is a rich country with regards to biodiversity.

This seminar served to evaluate the potential of genetic resources, look at what is available to us, and how the resources can be used rationally. This within the framework of compliance by Equatorial Guinea with its commitments under the United Nations Biodiversity Convention”.

What has been the initiative at this seminar, as it was the first with this purpose?

“The first initiative was from the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, through the Ministry for Forests and the Environment, and UNEP, which is the United Nations Environment Programme In fact, these two are the financiers, that is to say, the Government and the World Fund for the Environment, through UNEP”.

What report has been produced following the seminar?

The conclusions obtained are the following: to initiate any action at an environmental conservation level in general, and at a conservation of biodiversity level in particular; to establish an action plan, that is to say, within the framework of an objective, which is what we are going to do in the short, medium and long term. Perhaps in the short term, create an inventory of the genetic resources. In the medium term, establish plans for handling these resources, and in the long term, establish management policy for these genetic resources”.

Source: Official Web Page of the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea

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