On June 20, U.S. Ambassador to the Gabonese Republic and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe Cynthia H. Akuetteh, U.S. Embassy Yaounde Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Roberto Quiroz II, Congo Basin Forest Partnership Facilitator Matthew Cassetta, and Economic Policy Staff Officer Ameliah Croft – both assigned to the Department of State in Washington, D.C. – joined Cameroonian government, civil society, academic, and traditional leaders in a Congo Basin Initiative program held in Yaounde. Their visit included a briefing on studies conducted by the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and partners on Cameroon’s birds as well as promotion of agricultural sector growth in support of the Congo Basin. The visitors also attended a signing ceremony of the “Collaboration Agreement Between the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and UCLA to Collaborate Regarding the Establishment and Operation of the Congo Basin Institute.”
In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, His Excellency Essimi Menye, thanked the American people and UCLA for its partnership with IITA and Cameroon to establish the Congo Basin Institute.
In his remarks, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Roberto Quiroz II lauded the collaboration as an example of the partnership between the American people and Cameroon to preserve the Congo Basin. “Known as the lungs of Africa, the Congo Basin must be preserved for future generations. UCLA exemplifies the spirit and commitment of the American people to partner with IITA, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the people of Cameroon to promote scientific research in this basin and agricultural sector growth. This is especially important as this nation’s fertile land offers immense opportunities for economic development and growth of jobs for youth in support of ‘Vision 2035.’ This partnership unifies the talents and contributions from American and Cameroonian academia, the Cameroonian government, traditional leaders, and the communities served,” he said.
In their remarks, UCLA officials underscored their commitment to partner with IITA and Cameroon “to find integrative breakthrough solutions that conserve the environment and meet the vital needs of the developing world.. Per their vision, UCLA is committed “to create a network of permanent, multi-disciplinary enterprises focused on innovative, evidence-based solutions to critical development challenges. The first will be the Congo Basin Institute (CBI) located in Cameroon, Africa, dedicated to finding solutions to the interconnected issues of climate change, human disease, food and water security, and loss of biodiversity.”
See Facebook album of event: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10155724753100716.1073742040.312546460715&type=3.
For additional information, please see UCLA’s website: http://www.environment.ucla.edu/ctr/initiatives/cbi/.