On October 20, 2016 in Limbe, Cameroon, the Alliance for the Conservation of Great Apes in Central Africa (GSAC Alliance) was born.
Six African civil society organizations (CSOs) were behind the initiative; ERUDEF and TF-RD in Cameroon, ESI-Congo in Congo Brazzaville, GACEBB and MMT in DRC and PROGRAM in Gabon. These CSOs were, and still are, partners of the Small Initiatives Program (PPI) funded by the French Environment Fund (FFEM) and implemented by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
This collective initiative was built step by step. In April 2016, these 6 NGOs organized a first strategic workshop held in Nkala, DRC, at the headquarters of the NGO Mbou Mon Tour (MMT). This strategic workshop laid the foundations for the creation of this network: on this occasion, the missions, the vision and the strategic objectives of the Alliance were defined by all the NGO members. Exchange visits were then made between the representatives of these six actors in order to reinforce the cohesion between them and to share the experiences of each one. An important first step.
This initiative was formalized later in October 2016 in Limbe, Cameroon, during a constituent General Assembly.
An environment where harmony between great apes and populations generates sustainable socio-economic well-being for the preservation of World Heritage.
The members of the GSAC Alliance are all working on issues of great apes conservation and local development support in the Congo Basin forests. They intervene in territories with major ecological challenges and gradually accumulate valuable expertise and credibility.
Protecting the forests and apes that inhabit them is the only way to secure a favorable future. We share a common belief: we have a community of origin and destiny with all living beings on this earth and man can not detach his branch from the tree of life. Protecting our closest cousins and the forests that shelter them is an unavoidable challenge facing humanity.
Developping synergie the proven expertise of member NGOs, enhance their visibility, and influence policy decisions to make great ape conservation actions in the forests of the Congo Basin more effective.
It is in Africa, and especially in the Congo Basin, that the great majority of great apes inhabiting our planet are found. On this continent of contrast, we can not ignore that the most basic needs are not accessible to all men and women. But we can not resign ourselves to sacrificing, on the altar of economic development, that unique legacy that constitutes our common past and common future. Echoing the paths led by Diane Fossey, Jane Goodall and more recently Sabrina Krief, these NGOs present themselves as custodians of a world heritage whose humanity is probably not worth the whole value.
The world of conservation is changing step by step and the postulates influencing it are evolving with it. Civil society and citizens of Central African countries have a major role to play in issues of biodiversity conservation and rural development support, otherwise there is every reason to believe that the conservation goals set in national, regional and global scales can not be sustainably achieved in a fair and efficient manner.
The creation of the GSAC Alliance responds to a strong desire of the founding members to pool their efforts following a shared observation : despite the effective contribution to the protection of great apes and their habitat every day on the ground, the role played by African civil society is currently not sufficiently recognised by all stakeholders working on the issue. This reality, combined with a crying lack of visibility of the actions carried out, has a direct impact on the support these actors receive, and consequently on the conservation of great apes on the ground, in a context of increasing efforts in this area. It is this initial observation that led to the creation of this unprecedented group of local stakeholders.
The GSAC Alliance functions both as a technical platform for exchanges on development issues and the protection of endangered species, but also as a political and institutional instrument to increase the legitimacy of its members, both nationally and internationally. The logic associated with the functioning of the network is based on the collegiality of decisions and the collective construction of actions and solutions.
African civil society has a major role to play in taking charge of species conservation processes; the GSAC Alliance is an opportunity for its members to legitimately establish themselves as indispensable actors in the sub-region in terms of community conservation of great apes and their habitat. As such, the GSAC Alliance has defined 3 major areas of intervention: Increase the professionalization of members and the GSAC Alliance, Influence biodiversity conservation policies, and finally, Valorize and mutualize members' conservation actions.
The Statute of GSAC Alliance is searchable.