Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, hosts the first regional forum on conservation and the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples. This meeting brings together state and non-state actors from several parts of the Congo Basin, to share and learn from successful or failed experiences in promoting rights-based conservation in the DRC. The start ceremony took place this Monday, September 18.
“We are committed to the conservation and protection of biodiversity. But, there are people who live to protect this biodiversity. They live in inequalities. We must talk about their rights because we have adopted many laws and measures, but their application poses a problem. We have just launched this forum for everyone to express themselves and make recommendations,” said Benjamin Toirambe, Secretary General for the Environment and Sustainable Development.
Over three days, participants will focus on specific questions, particularly on the DRC government’s strategy to promote rights-based conservation within the framework of the 30×30 agenda.
“It is for the first time that we are bringing together conservatives, the State, and civil society which supports local communities and indigenous peoples to question nature conservation in relation to community rights. In view of the experiences that the country will share, we can say that there is progress. This is why we said that other countries in the Congo Basin can come and learn,” said Théophane Gata, executive director of CAGDFT (Tropical Forest Management Support Center).
For Tenure Facility, which finances this first edition, it is a reason for encouragement which underlines the firm conviction that community land rights and the conservation of biodiversity are inseparable.
“The urgency of organizing such a forum is to meet the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples. But above all also the climate emergency. We must act immediately. During these 3 days, we will learn lessons during these exchanges. These lessons will be shared with the world in order to build new outcomes. This is a start, and we hope there will be more,” said Nighisty Nghezae, Tenure Facility operations manager. “This forum is the model for a similar Tenure Facility Learning exchange that Tenure Facility is co-organizing next month in Kenya, just 2 months before COP28.”
Note that the Democratic Republic of Congo is the second largest tropical rainforest in the world with a rich biodiversity and a great diversity of cultures and peoples. The country is committed to achieving the 30×30 biodiversity objective.
Alfredo Prince NTUMBA