SDSN and CENAREST Convene Congo Basin Scientists

On 27-28 February 2023, scientists from across the central African region convened for a meeting of Congo Basin Scientists in Libreville prior to the One Forest Summit.

Responding to a 2021 call by central African environment ministers, scientists from across the central African region spent two days discussing the needs, priorities and mechanisms to strengthen science in and of the Congo Basin. Scientists from the Amazon region and across the world joined them to assess the science needed to inform and improve political decision making of national, regional and global relevance. 

Inspired by the successes of the $100 million, long-term, Large-scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) and SDSN’s Science Panel for the Amazon, the discussions leveraged the significant experience of central African experts, and reflected broad agreement on a range of research priorities. Participants agreed to an inclusive definition of the term ‘Congo Basin’, including the contiguous humid tropical forests of central Africa, mangroves, peatlands, savannas, rivers, lakes, and other ecosystems of the region.

The participants agreed to form a Science Panel for the Congo Basin. Such a Panel would offer a unique, independent platform for scientists to enhance collaboration across countries, undertake a synthesis of what we know of the Congo Basin system, identify knowledge gaps requiring future investment, and help inform policy decisions and their implementation. The Panel will be inclusive in its engagement and consult widely with key partners to deliver a complementary high quality internationally peer-reviewed assessment. 

The participants further agreed to form a Congo Basin Climate Science Initiative, which will develop a long-term, Basin-wide integrated research and training program. This will include long-term flagship research sites across a range of intact and disturbed ecosystems, implementing both observations and experiments across disciplines.

Participants agreed to form an initial International Science Steering Committee composed of scientists from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Brazil (representing the LBA), the United States, and European countries, from complementary scientific fields, to drive this process forward, in consultation with potential development partners and funders.

Inclusive capacity building is integral to both the Science Panel for the Congo Basin and the Congo Basin Climate Science Initiative. This includes but is not limited to centres of excellence, education, mentorship, career development, exchanges, engagement and communication across the Basin.

Download the meeting readout (English)

Télécharger le compte rendu de la réunion (Français)