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ERA And Wildlife Works Deliver First REDD+ Project In The Congo Basin Rainforest

VANCOUVER, British Columbia and SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ERA Carbon Offsets Ltd. and Wildlife Works Carbon LLC are pleased to announce the validation and verification of the first REDD+ project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The project has earned 2.5 million tonnes of Verified Emission Reductions to date and will generate an average of 5.6 million tonnes annually.

H.E. Mr. Bavon N'sa Mputu Elima, Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism of the DRC stated, "The Ministry welcomes the validation and verification of this project in two rigorous standards - the Verified Carbon Standard and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standard. The Department is pleased to work with ERA- Congo and its partners, ERA Carbon Offsets and Wildlife Works, for the protection of forests in the DRC and the improvement of local community livelihood through REDD+ projects."

The 299,645 hectare Mai Ndombe REDD+ project, a former logging concession in the Bandundu Province, will avoid more than 175 million tonnes of CO2 emissions over the 30-year life of the project.

The local forest community of 50,000 Congolese villagers will receive direct benefits from the project in the form of jobs, schools, health clinics, improved food security through better agronomy and redevelopment of robust native fish stocks, and capacity building of local NGOs and Community Based Organizations all financed through transparent and equitable sharing of the carbon revenues.

"As someone who knows personally the hardships that families in these forest communities have to bear, I am overjoyed at the benefits this REDD+ project will bring, making a brighter future for 50,000 of my friends, family members and compatriots in Mai Ndombe," said local project Manager Jean-Robert Bwangoy Bankanza.

The project area is part of the Congo Basin, the world's second largest intact rainforest after the Amazon. It is part of the Ngiri-Tumba-Mai Ndombe wetland, recognized under the Ramsar Convention as the largest wetland of international importance in the world. It is home to a wide array of biodiversity including highly endangered forest elephants and bonobo chimpanzees, which have been driven away in increasing numbers due to logging and poaching activities. It is expected that the wildlife populations will be restored now that the project area is on a conservation trajectory.

The Government of the DRC will receive a substantial portion of the project income to ensure that REDD+ represents a financially competitive alternative to logging Congo's rich forests.  

The Mai Ndombe REDD+ project is the world's largest REDD+ project to achieve validation and verification under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), and received Gold Level validation from the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standard (CCBA) for exceptional climate change adaptation and biodiversity benefits.

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