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THE MAGAZINE OF BELGIAN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

S P E C I A L

I S S U E

C O N G O ’ S

F O R E S T S

|

J U N E

2 0 0 7

Our forests,

our future !

S P E C I A L F E AT U R E |

6

A mosaic of uses for the forest

MAP |

16

The DRC’s forests and national parks

LA VOIX DU CONGO PROFOND |

26

Poverty and deforestation

PARTNERSHIP |

28

What is Belgium doing?


3

J U N E 0 7 | NR 2

Mambasa, Orientale Province

EDITORIAL

Claude CROIZER Environmental Adviser, Belgian Technical Cooperation Eddy NIERYNCK DRC Dossier Manager, Directorate-General for Development Cooperation Theodore TREFON Head of the Contemporary History Section, Royal Museum for Central Africa

W

hen

the

Belgian

Minister

The DRC does not operate in a closed environ-

alike. It is incumbent on all stakeholders to

ment. It forms part of a series of ecological

work towards the goals set by the Congolese

systems which are today under threat from

government, which should naturally benefit

natural disasters and hazards resulting from

from the support of all. Given the complexity

climatic changes - disasters and hazards which

of the stakes at issue, a single party cannot

for

its people are not equipped to face. These

meet the challenge alone; multiple-player

Development Cooperation asked us to

challenges cannot be the responsibility of a

partnerships are now more crucial than ever

organise an international conference on the

single country, especially one of the least

and international involvement is a must.

DRC’s forests, we did not realise how much

advanced in the world without the resources or © Randy Olson

enthusiasm it would generate. Thanks to effec-

As regards the shared vision of Belgium and the

capacity needed to tackle these problems.

DRC, our respective societies and institutions

tive collaboration between representatives As a leading player in forest management, the

are each trying to find their own role in the

Ministry of Environment is currently imple-

challenges facing us. By nature, by history and

que and irreplaceable natural heritage, prepa-

menting the National Forest Conservation

by necessity, our two peoples are deeply com-

world but, more importantly, because those

ring the DRC of tomorrow, selecting and

Programme. This makes it responsible for

mitted - albeit with differing sensibilities - to

activists, private sector representatives, etc.

resources are under threat, and none more so

implementing development strategies and

informing the population and the development

finding cooperation-based, multilateral solu-

we feel that we have successfully met our

than the forest and its inhabitants.

moving step by step towards a sustainable

partners about national activities in the fores-

tions. Though travelling different paths, our two

try sector and about their contribution to inter-

countries are gradually coming to appreciate

national environmental protection efforts.

the ever-tighter ties that bind us in a wide range

from the world of science and associations, Belgian, Congolese and international institu-

truction, not just because the country has one

The challenges are multiple: preserving a uni-

tions, and all those who contacted us of their

of the richest set of natural resources in the

own accord, researchers, NGO managers and

development scenario.

goals of drawing the world’s attention to the

FOREWORD

A b e l L é o n K A L A M B AY I WA K A B O N G O Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation, Water and Forests, DRC

challenges facing Congo’s forests, giving a

The forest could play a key role in the country’s

voice to the main players involved, bringing

sustainable development, provided its resour-

By organising this conference with the support

together stakeholders and creating a platform

ces are not given over to single-purpose sche-

of the World Bank, the European Commission

The DRC’s forests are an outstanding heritage

as our positions on practical issues go to show:

for open and constructive dialogue. And, of

mes of ‘industrial exploitation’. Discussions at

and the French and UK development agencies,

for both the Congolese people and humanity

together, we are committed to reducing global

course, alerting public opinion and policy-

the conference highlighted the need to imple-

Belgian development cooperation has reminded

makers to the need for urgent action.

ment effective and truly participatory manage-

its Congolese partners of its commitment to

ment geared towards the long term, whose out-

supporting them in achieving sustainable mana-

This was not the first conference to handle the

put will help to combat poverty whilst primarily

gement of their forest resources.

issue, and there was a big risk of it being ‘just

benefiting indigenous groups and forest inha-

another conference’. To avoid this, we focused

bitants. However, the challenges are nume-

The outcome of the two-day conference was

needs of its population, who, no less than

on the need to move towards new management

rous, conflicts of interest abound, and it is not

the Brussels Declaration, which ends by

other peoples, aspire to wellbeing as a prere-

Congo’s forests deserve special attention from

systems and financing mechanisms and to

easy to gain a clear idea of the nature of the

encouraging the DRC to pursue unremittingly

quisite for poverty reduction.

the international community in this post-

build on the momentum generated by the

problems and of the best alternatives to advo-

the efforts on governance undertaken since

conference through activities to raise public

cate.

2002 as part of the Priority Agenda and

The government’s main focus is on issues

way and gaining momentum, and pressures on

encouraging international partners to support

directly relating to the survival and emancipa-

natural resources, forests in particular, are set

these efforts.

tion of the population, particularly once

to increase. Discussions as to the best way to

awareness and understanding, both in the DRC

of sectors. And our goals are largely the same,

as a whole. They must be managed in a way

macro-economic divides and meeting the

he Democratic Republic of Congo is

T

that helps reduce poverty whilst also protec-

Millennium Development Goals to improve the

emerging from a long period of uncer-

ting the environment. This is a major respon-

lot of the most vulnerable. The Brussels

tainty and must now focus on major issues of

sibility for the country’s government and for

Conference was a step towards meeting these

national reform in order to meet the growing

the national and international communities

objectives.

conflict era. The economic revival is under

and in Belgium. This issue of « &CO » is part

With this in mind, this issue of « &CO » spot-

of that drive.

lights those who live in or from the forest,

neglected groups such as the indigenous peo-

those who use it and those who - consciously

ples, whose knowledge and expertise must be

The previous issue examined the reconstruc-

or otherwise - destroy it. Other articles high-

fully exploited. Congo’s forests are a public

tion of the DRC in the wake of the elections.

light the inestimable value of Congo’s forest

heritage and key to the survival of millions of

For Belgian development cooperation, envi-

for the country’s population and humanity at

The text of the Brussels Declaration can be

ronmental issues are central to this recons-

large, but also its great fragility.

found at

www.confordrc.org

some of the world’s poorest people, as well as to the global environment.

© DGDC/Dimitri Ardelean

2

Nearly 300 participants from various countries attended the conference in Brussels on 26-27 February 2007.

reconcile the economic and social challenges facing the people involved, as well as the need to preserve the great ecological wealth contained in the forests, will hopefully enable the conditions of sustainable development in the DRC to be achieved.


To p i c a l i s s u e s

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>

Congo’s forests

GLOSSARY

Biomass : total mass of living organisms

Ecological treasure-trove and green lung of Africa

within a specific habitat (roots, branches, leaves)

Ecosystem : complex formed by an association or community of living organisms and its geological,

WITH A SURFACE AREA OF 1,700,000 KM2, 400 SPECIES OF MAMMALS AND 10,000 PLANT SPECIES,

Frédéric LOORE

soil and atmospheric environment

Evapotranspiration : total amount of water transferred from ©Greenpeace/Philip Reynaers

THE TROPICAL RAINFOREST OF THE CONGO BASIN IS AN ECOLOGICAL TREASURE-TROVE, THE SECOND LARGEST FOREST OF ITS KIND IN THE WORLD AFTER AMAZONIA. A VAST GREEN LUNG, THREE TIMES THE SIZE OF FRANCE AND FIFTY-FIVE TIMES THE SIZE OF BELGIUM!

the soil to the atmosphere by evaporation from the soil and by transpiration from plants

dioxide (CO2). In global terms, the volume of

the country. Currently, the DRC has the

mal and plant life the forest harbours. Of the

CO2 absorbed by forests is 45 times greater

dubious honour of being 21st in the ranking of

10,000 recorded plant species in the forest,

than annual emissions from fossil fuel com-

greenhouse-gas-emitting countries (ahead of

3,300 are endemic (i.e. only found in the

bustion and cement manufacture. The DRC’s

Belgium, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Switzerland

DRC). There are also 39 endemic mammal spe-

forests account for 8% of this volume, making

and the Netherlands), due almost exclusively

cies. Gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos are

them the largest forest carbon sink in Africa,

to the bleaching of the ‘green carpet’, which is

forest natives, as are the okapi and the Congo

and the fourth largest in the world.

shrinking by the day as the loggers advance.

Finally, we must mention the exceptional ani-

The surprising flora of the Ruwenzori Mountains (Virunga National Park), whose peaks are covered in glaciers and permanent snow.

A

Indeed, according to some forecasts, 40% of

peafowl. The forest is also home to the rare

©UNESCO/Eric Loddé

Marshland near Lake Tumba, where dams and traps are used for fishing.

© Kim Gjerstad

4

A rare and endangered species, the okapi is only to be found in the tropical forests of eastern DRC.

bongo antelope and large herds of buffalo and

Forests: a key player in climate control

Congo’s forests will be gone by 2050. If that

forest elephants. This fantastic biodiversity,

You don’t need a degree in climatology to

were to happen, some 31-34 billion tonnes of

amongst the richest in the world, is echoed in

grasp the potential impact of deforestation on

CO2 would be discharged into the atmosphere,

the lakes and rivers. Lake Tanganyika alone

the climate. Given that the biomass of tropical

equivalent (based on 2000 figures) to

revenue for the state whilst benefiting local

frica was once entirely covered in tro-

Green gold and earthly paradise

contains 2,000 species of fish, over half of

rainforests contains around 180 tonnes of car-

Belgium’s emissions over 267 years.

population groups are a possibility. To this end,

pical forests, from Senegal to Uganda.

But the ‘green gold’ of the forests is also the

which are found nowhere else on the planet.

bon per hectare, it’s not hard to work out how

An economic driving force it may be, but the

Belgium’s

Today, much of it is bare and the tree

country’s economic lifeblood. The central rain-

Most of these lakes and rivers depend on the

much carbon is discharged into the atmos-

forest is also an ecological asset, both for the

Cooperation, in close collaboration with the

loss is accelerating due to deforestation caused

forest basin provides wood for export whilst

forest for their existence.

phere through intensive deforestation. Over

DRC and for the world. We therefore need to

Congolese authorities and other international

by a number of factors, including industrial log-

also acting as the larder for a number of large

90% of above-ground carbon can be lost

find ways of managing the forest that serve

partners, has pledged active support for initia-

ging on the continent (see p.13). Fortunately,

urban centres such as Kinshasa. Furthermore,

Africa’s largest forest carbon sink

through change of land use. The direct impact

both the environment and social justice. Non-

tives aimed at implementing innovative finan-

around two-thirds of the Democratic Republic of

despite the DRC’s rich mining potential, its

As well as their immediate local and regional

of selective logging is considerably smaller,

destructive uses (concessions for tourist, envi-

cing methods for sustainable forest manage-

Congo is still forest – some 145 million hecta-

development is still heavily dependent on the

importance, tropical forests perform a varied

although still significant, and the indirect

ronmental, community use, etc.) that generate

ment in the DRC.

res, of which 86 million are rainforest (40% of

agricultural sector, which derives its water

array of environmental functions whose bene-

effects stemming from the creation of access

the country’s surface area). As we will discover,

from the local forest cover. Another key factor

fits spread well beyond the borders of the DRC.

roads also need to be factored in. This means

aside from the major role they play in maintai-

is the Congo river which, as the DRC’s main

Firstly, they help to purify and recycle water

that the annual discharge volume linked to

ning a balanced global climate, these ecosys-

highway, plays a key role in transporting peo-

and supply nutrients and other nutritive com-

deforestation represents 10-25% of total

tems also provide an exceptional means of live-

ple between the rural interior and the urban

ponents to flood plains, marshes and estua-

human-induced CO2 emissions - roughly equal

lihood for vast numbers of people whose survi-

agglomerations: its flow rate (40,000 m3/s

ries. They also help to limit the impact of

to the amount produced by the global transport

val is intimately bound up with the natural

across the year) is controlled by the forest,

floods and droughts. However, most impor-

sector. For the Democratic Republic of Congo,

EXTRACT FROM THE BRUSSELS DECLARATION

resources they provide. In the DRC alone,

which generates 75-95% of precipitation in

tantly of all they play a vital role in combating

it has been calculated that between 1950 and

around 40 million people rely on the forest for

the Congo Basin through evapotranspiration.

global warming as they are more effective than

2000 emissions from deforestation were 50

« The forests of the DRC are a shared national heritage of inestimable value for both the people of the Congo and for humanity as a whole»

any other ecosystem at absorbing carbon

times higher than those from fossil fuel use in

food, medicinal plants and energy supply.

Minister

for

Development

SOURCES GREENPEACE BELGIUM AND WWF DRC


J U N E 0 7 | NR 2

Special feature

7

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A mosaic of uses for the forest THE CONGOLESE FOREST MUST BE SAVED PRIMARILY FOR ITS OWN SAKE AND BECAUSE IT IS ONE OF EARTH’S LAST REMAINING NATURAL LUNGS. BUT FOR LOCAL PEOPLE IT IS ALSO A SOURCE OF WEALTH THAT REQUIRES PROTECTION AND DEVELOPMENT. TO ADDRESS THESE CHALLENGES, WE NEED TO ENSURE SUSTAINABLE AND WELL THOUGHT-OUT FOREST MANAGEMENT THAT WEAVES TOGETHER A MOSAIC OF DIFFERENT USES. THIS FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS SOME PRACTICAL EXAMPLES OF THE FOREST’S ECOLOGICAL AND ECONOMIC FUNCTION AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE AND WORK THERE. ©Randy Olson

6


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> Okapi Wildlife Reserve. Preparing bouquets to feed the reserve’s captive okapis. The bouquets comprise leaves from around 50 wild plant and tree species.

mine workers need to be evacuated; a basic staff presence and infrastructure must be restored to the parks and surveillance stepped up

Preserving an THE DRC’S NATURAL BIOLOGICAL WEALTH PLACES IT 5TH IN THE WORLD RANKING FOR

to prevent unsustainable forest exploitation.

irreplaceable biological treasure

Another urgent task is to restore site boundaries, with the involvement of local people, as ©UNESCO/Eric Loddé

8

EVERYBODY NEEDS TO PLAY THEIR PART. HERE WE LOOK AT EFFORTS TO REHABILITATE PROTECTED AREAS AND PRESERVE THE MOST ENDANGERED SPECIES AND ECOSYSTEMS.

Olivier STEVENS and Julie LEDUC

greatly on their acceptance by surrounding communities.

has been the case elsewhere in the region,

HOWEVER, THIS EXCEPTIONAL

AND IF WE ARE TO SAVE IT

the success of these measures depends

The end of the conflict also brings risks. As

ANIMAL AND PLANT DIVERSITY.

BIODIVERSITY IS UNDER THREAT,

in Virunga. Local involvement is important as

State of emergency

also had a negative effect on fauna, flora and

ring parties in a bid to establish genuine

poaching is likely to increase as the timber

he history of Congo’s natural parks

T

Currently,

on

the forest preservation structure, which cea-

‘conservation diplomacy’. In addition, structu-

industry picks up and roads are opened into

dates back to 1925 when the Virunga

UNESCO’s World Heritage List are also on the

sed to function. This has left ecosystems all

res have been set up to manage ecological

remote forest areas which were previously

National Park (the first of its kind in

World Heritage in Danger List and many pro-

the poorer, with Virunga hippopotamuses mas-

data and basic maps of the five World

inaccessible to hunters and poachers.

Africa) was created in the north-east of the

tected areas now only exist on paper2. The

sacred, the elephant population at World

Heritage Sites have been developed using

country to preserve the celebrated mountain

problems are manifold but the major cause of

Heritage Sites decimated and only a handful

satellite imagery. This has enabled the rele-

Human resources needed

gorilla. Eight decades later and the DRC boasts

decline in biodiversity is human activity: agri-

of white rhinos thought to remain. However,

vant data to be updated.

Discussions at the Brussels Conference high-

60 officially protected areas, including five

culture, hunting, wood collecting and so on.

this should not blind us to the efforts being

World Heritage Sites. They are home to some of

Other scourges include armed groups who

made to keep this heritage alive, in particular

One thing is certain: rehabilitation of the pro-

materials and infrastructure. Thirty or forty

the world’s most remarkable species, many uni-

poach threatened species, the illegal trade in

by the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation

tected areas will take time as the entire net-

years ago, technical staff were well trained,

que to the DRC, including the bonobo, the nor-

bush meat, forest exploitation and illegal

work has to be re-evaluated. The creation of

but since then, as in other areas, things have

thern white rhino, the Congo peafowl, the extre-

mining.

de la Nature (Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation, ICCN) which is responsible for managing it, and its many partners. The mountain gorilla population in Virunga has risen, thanks mainly to more effective patrols; some occupied land has been recovered and contact has been made with the various war-

new areas has already begun, the ultimate aim

stagnated. Fortunately, the country still has a

being to have 15% of the national territory

small pool of vocational experts, although

designated protected area, as required by the

many of them are now nearing retirement.

Forest Code (compared with around 8%

Studies in 2005 revealed an estimated need

today). The task is a complex one: armed

for around 700 engineers and 2,000 techni-

groups, military outposts, local people and

cians3. New approaches calling for appro-

the

five

national

parks

mely rare okapi and the less well-known aquatic genet. The country’s biodiversity is also evident

With the return to stability, the priority now is

in the profusion of plant species, molluscs,

to get the existing protected areas working

birds, fish, insects and bacteria1. Many of these

properly. The war that tore the country apart

species are still not well known by science.

not only decimated the civilian population but

lighted the enormous need for manpower,

priate skills are therefore required. ©Greenpeace/Philip Reynaers

Local involvement The conflicts of interest that frequently arise between nature conservation groups and peo-

Marshland near Lake Tumba.

ple living on the outskirts of national parks highlight how important it is to involve local communities, in terms of both environmental protection and the use of environmental knowledge. Hunting reserves once served as buffer zones around parks; today, however, demographic pressure is such that they are no longer fulfilling their role. The solution being advocated is one of ‘participatory management’ that attempts to reconcile the interests of all parties. However, if such projects are to succeed, they need to offer economic alternatives to local population groups, e.g. income-generating activities and the provision of socio-economic infrastructure.

Mbandaka, Equateur province. Office of the provincial coordinator for environmental protection. ©Greenpeace/Philip Reynaers


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>

©Royal Museum for Central Africa/Camille Couralet

An innovative idea :

the carbon sinks

Bush meat hunter on an access road in the region of Bandundu. These roads open up the tropical forest, making it accessible to commercial poachers, amongst others.

EXTRACT FROM THE BRUSSELS DECLARATION

« The conference brought to light that the maintenance of the biodiversity of the Congo’s forests, their genetic potential and their contribution to the Earth’s environmental balance are also global issues that go far beyond the boundaries of the Congo itself. They highlight the need for mobilisation on a regional and international scale.»

Tourism: another source of finance Promoting tourism whilst preserving the fundamental balances between natural environments is another task of the ICCN. The return of tourism should generate capital that can be

THROUGH CARBON CAPTURE AND EVAPOTRANSPIRATION, TROPICAL FORESTS HELP TO REGULATE THE CLIMATE AND PLAY A CENTRAL ROLE IN COMBATING GLOBAL WARMING.

used to meet staff and operating costs in protected areas. However, if this is to succeed, transport and accommodation facilities will need to be developed. Rwanda is a good example of what can be achieved in this respect: green tourism, driven mainly by gorillas, is now the country’s third largest source of foreign

Marie-Christine BOEVE

currency after coffee and tea4. SOURCES UNESCO, CIFOR, CIRAD, WORLD BANK

International community ready to act The Conference also called for the introduc-

1.

tion of new financing mechanisms to mobilise 2.

the necessary resources. The urgent need for capital is, indeed, a major concern. Technically,

3.

everything is in place, but this could be jeo-

4.

Andy Purvis and Andy Hector, “Getting the measure of biodiversity”, Nature 405 (6783), 11 May 2000, pp. 212-219. “Forests in Post-Conflict Democratic Republic of Congo: Analysis of a Priority Agenda”, CIFOR, CIRAD, World Bank (2007) According to Mutambwe Shango – ERAIFT (conference) Guy Debonnet, UNESCO

Villagers are encouraged to breed cane rats to ease pressure on bush meat.

Carbon: a cycle of life

they return to being CO2 in the atmosphere.

fixed operating costs such as wardens’ sala-

transformed by plant photosynthesis into

more than three or four years, whereas nature

(CONGOLESE INSTITUTE FOR NATURE CONSERVATION)

conservation is a long-term goal requiring long-term investment. Another priority is therefore to ensure long-term international commitment, without which there is no prospect of achieving lasting results. The creation of a fiduciary fund for nature conservation is one answer to the lack of secure funding sources.

Deforestation and carbon sinks

Biomass Dead biomass

Oceans

A growing forest acts as a carbon sink. Why? Because the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2)

(soil, peat)

organic matter, which is then ingested by her-

absorbed by growing trees through photosyn-

bivores, who are in turn eaten by carnivores,

thesis is greater than the amount of CO2

all of whom release CO2 as they breathe. Recent studies show that plant matter absorbs

Founded in 1975, the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation, ICCN, is a technical and scientific public body whose tasks are to manage and conserve biodiversity in the protected areas, to encourage and promote scientific research and eco-development, to develop eco-tourism with respect for the fundamental principles of nature conservation and to integrate conservation into the local development process for people living near protected areas. Some 2,000 staff from a variety of disciplines including vets, biologists, geographers, economists, agronomists, financial and legal experts and historians are working to implement an effective conservation plan to preserve the DRC’s biological diversity.

bon cycle and contributes to global warming.

take place: this is known as the carbon cycle. Some of the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the

INSTITUT CONGOLAIS POUR LA CONSERVATION DE LA NATURE

Atmosphere

into various ‘pools’ between which exchanges

atmosphere is dissolved in the ocean; some is

made it impossible for projects to think ahead

Weak fluxes

This ‘additional’ CO2 disrupts the natural car-

example, funding needs to be found to meet

ICCN

Slow fluxes

quantity remains the same and is divided up

pardised at any time by a lack of funds. For

ries. Political instability and conflicts have

Fast fluxes

Carbon is omnipresent on Earth. Its overall

more carbon dioxide (around 2 billion tonnes) than it releases. Fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) resulting form the decomposition of organic life over millions of years constitute ‘trapped’

released by their respiration and by the

Fossil carbon oil, coal, gas

decomposition of dead trees. When most of

Limestone

the trees have stopped growing, equilibrium is

(calcium carbonate)

reached and a CO2 balance attained, meaning that the forest is no longer a carbon sink. This is why only reforestation projects, not natural

carbon. They remain in this form until they are

forests, are counted as carbon sinks in inter-

burnt by humans to generate energy, when

national negotiations.

© Greenpeace/Kate Davison

©Greenpeace/Kate Davison

Cataloguing the forest (measuring trees’ diameter at chest height and identifying their species), at an ‘upward standardisation’ (UH) block at the Luki Reserve in the Mayombe forest, Bas-Congo.

©UNESCO/Eric Loddé

10


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EXTRACT FROM THE BRUSSELS

Ibi-Bateke

The carbon cycle: a precarious balance

Deforestation, or missing the forest for the trees

A daring carbon sink project

DECLARATION

« The Conference acknowledges the innovative character of several initiatives, such as the creation of carbon sinks through reforestation. »

13

>

For a long time, war and political instability protected

Currently, a dozen firms hold over half of the logging

Congo’s forests from industrial logging. Even today, their

permits covering an area of some 10 million hectares.

to development. Another major benefit of Ibi-

Pragmatic development … in the medium and long terms

distance from the sea and the lack of infrastructure

The majority of these are Congolese, Belgian, French,

Batéké is that it will create a vast refuge for

The project’s managers have their sights

(ports, roads) mean they are relatively well preserved

German, Italian, Portuguese and Lebanese. At the start

trees native to the region, help combat the

wildlife, offering subsistence and ideal condi-

firmly fixed on 2020, when the forest cur-

from looting. Nonetheless, between 2000 and 2005, the

of the decade, 340 forestry permits covering an area of

greenhouse effect and contribute to the eco-

tions for reproduction.

rently being planted (acacias, eucalyptus and

country lost over 300,000 hectares of forest a year, equi-

43 million hectares were allocated at risible prices with

pines) will be ready to meet worldwide

valent to 600,000 football pitches. This makes the DRC

no guarantee of transparency. In 2002, permits repre-

Holistic approach is vital

demand for paper pulp fibres and biofuel

the 8th most deforested country in the world.

senting 25 million hectares were declared invalid. At the

he aim of the Ibi-Batéké carbon sink

T

jobs it generates, could provide a major boost

project is threefold: replant a damaged area of Congolese forest using

nomic and social development of a whole region.

carbone

«A lot is at stake here. As so often, we are

cellulose.

Admittedly, compared with other tropical countries, the

same time, the Congolese government introduced a

is the effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) derived

8 million trees over 8,000 hectares

having to use what may seem contradictory

« The main obstacle with this type of project is

rate of deforestation is still relatively low. But looking at

moratorium on the allocation of new forest use rights

from the combustion of fossil fuels and defo-

The project is located on the Batéké plateau,

methods and resources. Our top priority is to

convincing investors and donors of long-term

things in this way, we run the risk of…. missing the

and instituted a forest code, one of whose provisions is

restation? With the carbon cycle now seriously

which stretches from Gabon to Angola, either

save the equatorial forest for its own sake.

profitability,” Olivier Muschiete explains.

forest for the trees. In fact, although the logging is

that classified forests should cover 15% of the DRC’s

disrupted by human activities, these questions

side of the Congo river, two hours from

After much reflection, we feel that a forest

“Here, the first seven or eight years will see no

selective, it is terribly damaging as it takes the best and

territory (as against 8% today).

are becoming vitally important. For man’s

Kinshasa. At these latitudes, with their equa-

area can generate great benefits, both econo-

return. In the Congolese context, this is a diffi-

leaves the rest. Operations are focused on a dozen com-

Although backed up by a presidential decree in 2005,

impact on the carbon cycle is not measured

torial rains, we would expect to find dense

mic and socio-cultural, in the medium and

cult thing to get people to accept. That said, I

mercially valuable species, which account for almost

this moratorium has been consistently flouted. As for

solely in terms of CO2 and the climate, but also

rainforest: instead, natural grassy savannahs,

long

Olivier

have managed to secure the involvement of key

90% of production. To reach these, vast swathes of

controls on forest use, these are non-existent at present.

of disruption to ecosystems. The aim, therefore,

dotted with scrawny bushes, stretch away into

Muschiete explains. Planting, maintaining

local partners such as the Congolese govern-

forest are opened up, into which plough armies of

However, though the battle to preserve Africa’s ‘green

is to conserve as many as possible of the exis-

the distance. The project aims to convert this

and harvesting acacias, eucalyptus, pines and

ment, the various ministries concerned, the

log-hauling vehicles, followed immediately by poachers.

lung’ seems fraught with difficulties, it has not been

What role is played by plant respiration? What

terms,”

project

manager

ting forest CO2 sinks through measures such as

unproductive savannah into a source of rene-

other native species will create a lot of direct

local chiefs as well as international partners

Several varieties are so overexploited that they now

lost yet; it may well be that the challenge of climate

combating deforestation, creating forest reser-

wable biomass, by planting 8 million trees

jobs. “As is often the case with attempts to

who are more inclined to commit to long-term

appear on the endangered species list compiled by

change spurs us on to find alternatives to unsustainable

ves and changing forestry systems.

over 8,000 hectares.

optimise the development potential of Central

projects if there is effective daily follow-up.»

CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered

industrial logging.

First and foremost, it is an ecological way of

African countries, the difficulty comes with

tackling global warming. But it is also a social

thinking in a holistic way that combines the

precious species may disappear entirely. Particularly

and economic revolution for the region: villa-

philosophical and the macro-economic and

endangered are the afromosia, wenge and sapelli.

gers will need to be trained to manage the

creating real projects that involve all players

forest, i.e. to tap its resources effectively.

without deviating from the initial premise,»,

Eventually, the forest, with the resources and

Muschiete says.

GLOSSARY

M-C.B. and O.S.

Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Eventually, these F.L. SOURCES GREENPEACE BELGIUM AND WWF DRC

SOURCES CITÉ DES SCIENCES, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, IBI VILLAGE

Madjoko, Bandundu. A concession

Carbon sink : a natural or artificial carbon pool that is constantly expanding (in contrast to a carbon source). The

A WWF-supported nursery near Virunga National Park. A growing forest acts as a carbon sink.

main sinks were once the biological processes responsible for coal, oil, natural gas and methane hydrates, together with limestone rocks. Nowadays, oceans and certain plant environments are the biggest sinks.

An original initiative : Sponsor a Congolese tree!

Photosynthesis : process whereby plants convert their organic matter using solar energy. Carbon sequestration/storage/fixation : processes whereby

The association IBI offers a service allowing

carbon or CO2 is removed from the biosphere and stored in a

you to calculate your carbon footprint.

carbon sink.

Based on the outcome, a computer program works out the number of saplings you need

Biofuels : plant-based fuels derived from biomass.

to buy to offset your footprint. A selection

Ecological footprint : measurement of the load imposed by group needs to generate the resources it consumes and absorb the waste it produces.

eucalyptus - costing between €1 and €2 depending on the variety. To take part, go to http://ibi-village.cd and click on Action parrainage.

©Greenpeace/Kate Davison

of species are available - acacia, milletia, pine and

humans on nature; used to estimate the productive surface a ©WWF/Marc Languy

12


Special feature

J U N E 0 7 | NR 2

>

Spotlight on charcoal MOST WOOD FROM CONGO’S FORESTS IS USED FOR HEATING AND COOKING. Hervé JEANMART Université Catholique de Louvain – Department of Mechanical Engineering

smoke an unusual smell. If this smoke comes into contact with food, it tends to alter its taste. Charcoal, meanwhile, is more energy dense, containing around twice as much energy per kilogramme as unprocessed wood. Other benefits of charcoal are that it burns steadily and at a high temperature. It is also easier to package and conserve. Charcoal is produced by thermal degradation of wood at high temperature and in the presence of little (or no) air. When wood is subjected to heat, the water inside it evaporates when the temperature exceeds 100°C. The wood then decomposes into a combustible gas and a carbon-rich residue: charcoal. The tem©BTC/Jan Van Gysel

14

perature at which decomposition takes place is key to the quality of the end product, with around 500°C needed to obtain good quality charcoal. This process, known as ‘carbonisation’, can be performed on most types of wood.

W

will then be processed using a variety of pro-

only 2.5 times less energy than a kilogramme

Benefits of converting wood into charcoal

Democratic Republic of Congo are very similar

of oil when burnt. In industrialised regions, oil

Currently, the most common type of wood pro-

to those in neighbouring countries. In villages,

has largely replaced wood due to its availabi-

cessing

charcoal.

unprocessed wood is often used for cooking

lity and ease of use. In most African coun-

Unprocessed wood is not ideal for domestic

and heating but charcoal is also produced on

tries, however, wood remains the primary

cooking and heating, for a number of reasons.

a very small scale. A fire is lit and fed until the

domestic fuel, although oil is necessary for

The first is the presence of water in the wood.

flames disappear; it is then spread out and

certain kinds of application (such as cars).

This increases the wood’s mass while reducing

allowed to cool. The resulting product is par-

When oil becomes less readily available, it is

its energy content and produces a dense, opa-

tially carbonised wood. The process is ineffi-

likely that we will return to more intensive use

que smoke when the wood is burnt. The

cient as the wood is exposed to the air, cau-

of wood in order to limit our impact on the

second reason is that, when the wood is burnt,

sing much of the carbon to burn away without

Earth’s climate and our environment. Wood

volatile elements are released which give the

producing charcoal.

ood is a natural resource heavily exploited for its energy content. A

cedures geared towards efficient use.

kilogramme of dry wood releases

Charcoal production in the DRC

The DRC is located in the centre of the African forest area Dense moist forests Dry forests and savannahs

p p

Charcoal production techniques in the

is

conversion

to

SOURCE: © 2007 UCL-GEOMATICS, COLOURED COMPOSITION SPOT VEGETATION

Detachable map of Congo FORESTS AND SITES INSCRIBED ON THE WORLD HERITAGE LIST OF UNESCO


D E TA C H A B L E M A P O F C O N G O W I T H T H E F O R E S T S A N D W O R L D H E R I TA G E S I T E S

GARAMBA NATIONAL PARK

The park's immense savannahs, grasslands and woodlands, interspersed with gallery forests along the river banks and the swampy depressions, are home to four large mammals: the elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus and above all the white rhinoceros. Though much larger than the black rhino, it is harmless; only a few individuals remain.

Lake Albert

OKAPI WILDLIFE RESERVE

The Okapi Wildlife Reserve occupies about one-fifth of the Ituri forest in the north-east of the country. The Congo river basin, of which the reserve and forest are a part, is one

Forests and World Heritage sites

of the largest drainage systems in Africa. The reserve contains Lake Edouard Lake Ntomba

the estimated 30,000 okapi surviving in the wild. It also has some dramatic scenery, including waterfalls on the Ituri and Epulu rivers. The reserve is inhabited by traditional nomadic

The protected areas cover 10% of the 2,345,480 km2 of Congolese territory, and include 60 protected areas, 7 of which

threatened species of primates and birds and about 5,000 of

pygmy Mbuti and Efe hunters.

Lake Mai-Ndombe Lake Kivu

are national parks and 5 are World Heritage sites. The latter are all inscribed on the list of endangered World Heritage..

VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK

Virunga National Park (covering an area of 790,000 ha) comprises an outstanding diversity of habitats, ranging from swamps and steppes to the snowfields of Rwenzori at an altitude of over 5,000 m, and from lava plains to the savannahs on the slo-

Atlantic Ocean

pes of volcanoes. Mountain gorillas are found in the park, some 20,000 hippopotamuses live in the rivers and birds from Siberia spend the winter there.

KAHUZI-BIEGA NATIONAL PARK Lake Tanganyika

Vegetation Map

A vast area of primary tropical forest dominated by two spectacular extinct volcanoes, Kahuzi and Biega, the park has a diverse and abundant fauna. One of the last groups of

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

mountain gorillas (consisting of only some 150 individuals)

p p p p p p p p p p p

Alluvial dense moist forest Dense moist forest Deteriorated forest Mountain forest Agriculture Dry forest Tree savannah Bush savannah Grass savannah Steppe savannah Swamp grassland Large river, rivers and lakes

Border Asphalted road Connecting road Railway track Capital Principal town of the province Principal town of the district Important city

lives at between 2,100 and 2,400 m above sea-level. Lake Upemba Lake Moero

Lake Moero Wantipa

SALONGA NATIONAL PARK

Salonga National Park is Africa's largest tropical rainforest reserve. Situated at the heart of the central basin of the Congo river, the park is very isolated and accessible only by water. It is the habitat of many endemic endangered species, such as the dwarf chimpanzee, the Congo peacock, the

This map is a simplified version of the land cover map of the Democratic Republic of Congo that was published in January 2006 (http://www.uclouvain.be/enge-cartesRDC). Carried out by C. Vancutsem, J.-F. Pekel, J.-P. Kibambe Luamba, X. Blaes, C. de Wasseige et P. Defourny. Research Unit Environmetrics and Geomatics, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. With the support of the Belgian federal scientific policy and in close collaboration with Mr.C. Evrard, F. Malaisse, P. Mayaux and Mr. J.-P. Malingreau. A detailed map of each World Heritage site has been designed in the framework of the Sytème de gestion d’Information pour les Aires Protégées (Information management system for the protected areas) (ICCN-UCL-UGent-Unesco, 2007).

forest elephant and the African slender-snouted or « false » crocodile.

(SOURCE

T E X T: U N E S C O )


©BTC/Jan Van Gysel

19

A mound. The wood is covered with leaves and earth, with holes to let air in and smoke out.

method is used. The trees are felled and sawn into logs less than a metre in length. The bark is stripped as it contains minerals that impair

« IT IS THE SKILL OF THE CHARCOAL MAKER, MORE THAN THE PROCESS ITSELF, THAT DETERMINES THE YIELD AND THE QUALITY OF THE CHARCOAL»

the quality of the end product. The wood is

Joël BLIN Biomass and Energy Research Unit, CIRAD

then left to dry in the air. Once dried, it is placed in a pit dug nearby. Alternatively, the wood is piled on the ground to form a mound

©UCL/TERM

For larger-scale production, a different

A pit filled with dried wood. The bark has been stripped off beforehand to ensure a better quality end product.

and covered with leaves and earth, leaving a few holes at the base to let air in and flames

CONTACTS

out. The wood is then set alight and the pro-

in its high-temperature atmosphere until fully

duction near the place of felling, thus avoi-

cess allowed to take its course, although care

converted.

ding unwieldy transportation of unprocessed

is taken to ensure the mound burns evenly by

Successful carbonisation requires experience,

wood. It is particularly well suited to charcoal

covering up some openings and plugging

especially as the duration of the conversion

production for urban centres.

others. If too much air is let in, the carbon in

process depends on the size of the wood

the wood will burn, as in the method descri-

blocks, the total volume involved and the raw

Many other local carbonisation methods exist

bed above. Care must also be taken not to trap

material used. Once the process is complete,

around the world, but they do not differ fun-

the carbonisation gas as this slows down the

the charcoal is left to cool in the pit before

damentally from those described here. Only

process. Once the whole mound is alight, the

being taken out, packaged and transported.

for very large volumes are different processes

air inlets are blocked up and the wood is left

This method enables efficient charcoal pro-

used.

DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR BELGIAN TECHNICAL COOPERATION (BTC)

DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION (DGDC)

Avenue Colonel Ebeya, 15-17 Gombe, Kinshasa – Democratic Republic of Congo T. + 243 81 89 46 611 E. representation.rdc@btcctb.org Resident Representative : Manolo Demeure

Belgian Embassy Building du Cinquantenaire, Place du 27 Octobre - B.P. 899 Kinshasa – Democratic Republic of Congo T. + 243 89 89 24 233 / +243 89 89 34 412 E. kinshasa@diplobel.be

www.btcctb.org

WOOD AND CHARCOAL IN FIGURES – Wood and charcoal provide

80 % of domestic energy in the DRC.

– Each inhabitant of the DRC uses an average of

1m

3

1

of firewood a year.2

47.000 of charcoal annually, equivalent to over 250.000 tonnes of wood. More than 90 % of this wood comes from the Virunga National Park.

– The city of Goma consumes over

Minister Counsellor for Development Cooperation : Paul Cartier SOURCES

1&2 3

Forests in Post-Conflict Democratic Republic of Congo: Analysis of a Priority Agenda, CIFOR, CIRAD, World Bank (2007). The Forests of the Congo Basin: State of the Forest 2006, Congo Basin Forest Partnership (2006).

3


20

Special feature

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21

>

De nombreux projets de développement communautaire touchent à l’éducation des enfants.

A holistic view

Children learning the secrets of the Ituri forest.

of the forest

evil exuded by individuals towards others is the

©Randy Olson

cause of man’s misfortune, as it provokes disOlivier STEVENS

gust and anger amongst the spirits and drives them away from the camps. In fact, the real masters of the forest and its resources are always the spirits, who enable men to find sub-

« WESTERNERS OFTEN VIEW THE FOREST AS HOSTILE AND FRAUGHT WITH DANGERS. FOR PYGMIES, THE FOREST MEANS PARADISE, PROTECTION AND DEVELOPMENT.»

sistence by driving animals towards hunters’ weapons. It is the soul of the forest that initiates human beings into knowledge of the world bit the deep equatorial forest, which Jean Nke

or matrilineal societies, chieftain societies, etc.)

and into community life by means of initiation

Ndih calls “the most complex and diverse

rub shoulders and inevitably influence the cul-

rites. It protects them but also presides over

ecosystem on earth”. Over 4,000 plant spe-

ture and customs of other groups. The Pygmies

their life, death and rebirth as forest spirits.

cies, 700 species of vertebrates, a heteroge-

are one such group, with their own important

If we examine all the rituals of the three main

neous, mosaic-like forest structure, resulting

identity.»

Pygmy groups of Central Africa, we observe similar structures and functions in spite of

©Greenpeace/Philip Reynaers

in an uneven availability of game, ground now

Nkwete, Equator province A hunter explains how to transport fire over long distances by wrapping embers in palm leaves.

Interview with Jean Nke Ndih, a Cameroonian anthropologist and Executive Secretary of the African Green Federation (Fédération des partis écologistes d’Afrique).

marshy now dry, alluvial plains such as the

Link based on « fusion» with the forest

extreme diversity of detail. Their cosmology

Cuvette, home to the Aka people, rolling hills

« Studying the stories and songs of different

has an invisible world of undifferentiated spi-

like those inhabited by the Baka people to the

Pygmy groups tells us about their understan-

rits acting as mediators between the living and

south of the Adamawa Plateau, but also stee-

ding of the world and where they came from.

a forest spirit known as the ‘active god’, as dis-

per landscapes such as the region occupied

Typically, Pygmy tribes believe that when peo-

tinct from the now-distant creator god. When it

by the Mbuti.

ple die their spirits join those of the ancestors,

comes to addressing the spirits, there is no

who haunt the spirit world of the forest. There

caste of ‘priests’ responsible for religious wor-

they go on living as they did when alive, in

ship: any initiated adult male is deemed fit to

large camps swarming with women and chil-

communicate with the forest. The religious

players in the field, Congolese or Belgian

means we should take a comprehensive view of

« Great biological, ecological and human diversity »

policy-makers and administrators or academic

problems, whether economic, political or cultu-

« Pygmies are often described as « the forest

dren, where they take part in mythical hunts

practices of the Pygmies fall into two groups:

researchers, is that you cannot address this

ral. »

people » Jean Nke Ndih goes on. « But we

and live for ever. An important detail in this

big public ceremonies involving the whole

mustn’t forget that the Pygmies are not the

cosmogony, which is key when considering the

community, and intimate small-scale rites per-

only inhabitants of the equatorial region stret-

relation between the Pygmies and the forest, is

taining to private matters. These forest-related

ching from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes,

that these spirits, the ancestors of today’s men

rituals have three basic functions: winning the

issue in a compartmentalised way. The only

ean Nke Ndih is one of Africa’s top spe-

holistic one, » explique-t-il.

Diverse natural environment and complex social relations

cialists on indigenous forest peoples and

« In African tradition, from birth through to

The Pygmies do not grow crops or keep ani-

more than 4,500 km away. In fact, there are

and women, are impartial when it comes to

favour of supernatural forces to secure abun-

was one of the first on the continent to

death, popular belief systems revolve around

mals. As hunter-gatherers, they are one of the

almost 150 different ethnic groups inhabiting

their descendents and act beneficently or

dance and fertility, discovering the causes of

draw a link between the environment and

the idea of environment. Each individual is

few peoples to live on the wild products of

this area. We need to bear this in mind when

malevolently depending on how the living

disturbances or the likely outcome of some

defending

holistic

marked by his or her relationship with nature,

their environment. The Pygmy peoples live

addressing issues of culture and identity. Like

behave towards each other, towards the ances-

future action and appeasing angry spirits in

approach to the cultural dimension of forest

whether in the form of group ties, a taboo or

scattered over vast areas of land in the forest

political, economic or social approaches, such

tors and towards plants, trees and other spe-

times of hardship or conflict or after the death

peoples is breaking new ground in the acade-

some other element that highlights the living

block of the Congo Basin, from the Atlantic

issues cannot be dealt without taking into

cies living in the forest. »

of an animal during a hunt.»

mic world. He is currently researching the

nature of their surroundings. Whether in hun-

coast to Rwanda. They include a number of

account this ethnic « mosaic» , as well as the

« The forest, i.e. nature as a whole, is imbued

Pygmy peoples of Central Africa.

ting or agriculture, fishing, picking or gathe-

distinct groups, which vary considerably in

corresponding biological « mosaic». »

with vital principles. From these, an individual

ring, the whole rural population is imbued with

terms of physical appearance, language and,

In this area, a number of different language

can derive spiritual power, either through inhe-

Death, hunting with spears, misfortune and puberty

Approaching the issue of forest inhabitants

this closeness to nature and natural resources.

to a degree, culture. There are thought to be

families (Ubangian, Bantu and Sudanese),

ritance or through initiation, which will assist

« In addition, four circumstances in the lives

This knowledge of the natural environment, this

between 100,000 and 200,000 Pygmies left

types of economy (agriculture, mixed hunting

him in whatever he does. However, there are

of the Pygmies have their own specific rites,

« The first thing I want people to understand,

age-old cultural and ‘philosophical’ approach,

in Africa today: the exact number is very diffi-

and agriculture, fishing and gathering) and poli-

also evil forces which are irresistibly attracted

which are common to all groups. These are:

both in Africa and Europe, whether local

which we also see in traditional medicine,

cult to assess, for obvious reasons. They inha-

tical systems (acephalous societies, patrilineal

by the malevolence and bad words of men: the

death, hunting with spears (known as assa-

meaningful approach is a comprehensive,

J

Pygmy

identity.

His


22

Special feature

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23

>

Ituri forest. A choir.

The word

on the ground ©Randy Olson

Elise ODIEKILA

Adolphine Muley , married, mother of two Indigenous women’s representative

Ituri forest. Collecting honey. ©Randy Olson

“I

first got involved in combating illegal forest exploitation back in 1998. I feel

that if we don’t act fast and take the necesfact, most Pygmy groups speak their own lan-

In other words, then, the Pygmies have not

the transition to an urban existence, they are

sary measures, the Congolese forest could

hunt is extremely important and illustrates the

guages which are specific to themselves yet

lived cut off from the rest of the world in some

faced with identity problems and a sense of

disappear. The government and donors give

holistic link between the Pygmies and the

also related to other African languages. This is

kind of ‘forest cocoon’. For centuries, they

disorientation. Today, governments have a vital

priority to economic interests without taking

environment in which they live. Each hunt is

evidence of age-old ties. The mythological

have been involved in the movement of peo-

role to play in safeguarding these peoples.

into

preceded by a divination session during which

importance of the Pygmies in the eyes of the

ples, playing a select role in a group of inter-

Enshrining the right of peoples to exist and

Congolese forest is home to around 40 million

the soothsayer ‘reads’ the flames of a great fire

Grands Noirs is another argument in favour of this. These ties are found in religion, cosmogony and magic, as well as possession rites, traditional therapies and enthronement rites. Based on this, many people believe that the forest Pygmies acted as guides for the Grands Noirs during their migrations. This deep-founded relationship is more relevant than ever before and is critical when considering the problem of deforestation. More than a purely economic tie, it is a genuine alliance in which the social system of each partner needs the other to survive and relies on the contribution of the partner society.

connected societies. By keeping alive their

the protection of minorities must go hand-in-

people! How scandalous would it be if it and

nomadic lifestyle, their music, their language

hand with an effective forest policy, founded

all its inhabitants disappeared! No more hun-

and religion, they are striving to maintain their

on a combination of our scientific knowledge

age-old familiarity with the equatorial forest.

and the intuitive knowledge of the Pygmies.

to discover how the hunt will progress and the best direction to take. He also tries to establish the cause of misfortunes and illnesses. In extremely simplified terms, it is the spirit of

©Kokolo Nganga

gais), misfortune and puberty. The ritual of the

account

the

social

aspects.

The

ting, no more picking or gathering – it would be a death sentence for all those poor peo-

Seeking to « remove» the Pygmies from some

ple.” This politically committed women, who

Plea for a pragmatic and philosophical approach

nature reserves is ridiculous; it merely attests

is also President of the Union for the Emancipation of Indigenous

to a desire to separate them artificially from

Women (UEFA) in Bukavu, is scathing in her criticism: “When the

« Deforestation is like a genocide without the

an environment that frightens us. Thinking

loggers come, they often take no account of the indigenous people,

weapons, » Jean Nke Ndih concludes. « The

along the lines of Rousseau’s ‘social contract’,

even though the forest belongs more to them than to anyone. In

Pygmies and other forest peoples can teach us

what we need today is a « natural contract»-

exchange for a handful of salt or a few bars of soap, they destroy great

the real meaning of « to take away ».

, a holistic view offering Westerners and other

swathes of forest. The worst thing is there are no reforestation sche-

Westerners often view the forest as hostile and

local tribes a different relationship with nature

mes.” She goes on in the same vein: “Civil society must support the

fraught with dangers. For Pygmies, the forest

and hence with society. In this era of great cli-

government in establishing effective management of this natural heri-

means paradise, protection and development.

matic change, only the Pygmy peoples appre-

tage and ensuring that it takes into account the interests of local

the Pygmies and the Grands Noirs* has provi-

In their world, nature sets the tone. We are

ciate the daily impact of certain choices we

communities. I also want to see women getting involved in the fight.

ded balance in the life of African societies. «

already reaping the benefits of this in the field

make. We need to take a long, hard, philoso-

Whether as advisers, mothers or wives, they can make a substantial

As I said before,» Jean Nke Ndih continues,

of pharmaceuticals; our knowledge comple-

phical look at the repercussions of our econo-

and positive contribution to effective forest management in the same

«the Pygmies are not the only people to occupy

ments theirs. Deforestation poses a threat to

mic decisions. Globalisation is also a ques-

way they manage their homes - but they have to be allowed to get

them and they do not have the organisational

tion of detail. »

involved. Women have some valuable comments to make which can

the forest that whispers the answers, its constant aim being to ensure a balanced regeneration of the world. »

Multiple interrelations Contrary to popular belief, the Pygmies are not isolated peoples who evolved away from the rest of the world. From time immemorial, the social, cultural and economic pact between

this forest area. Linguistics, oral tradition and ethnolinguistics can teach us a lot about their relations with the peoples of Central Africa. In

*The Grands Noirs (Tall Blacks) are the Pygmies’ Bantu neighbours. The term was used by the first Westerners to reach Pygmy encampments, which were always situated deep in impenetrable forest.

structure to defend themselves. Often caught

generate good ideas and positive changes, if only they are taken on

mid-way between their ancestral lifestyle and

board. »


Special feature

J U N E 0 7 | NR 2

René Ngongo , 46, married, father of four Environmental activist

25

>

Jacquie Batasemae 44, widowed mother of 12

Mother

Iyane Oyongo Luison 46, married, father of four

“W

Forest worker

e began raising public awareness through radio programmes back in 1992. That wasn’t enough so we set up OCEAN

Praveen Moman , 55, married, father of one Investor in ecotourism

“I

ended up in this job partly through fate, partly through pas-

“B

©Kokolo Nganga

usiness and forest protection are totally compatible: in

sion. I’ve been doing it for 23 years! I studied agriculture

return for a certain sum, tourists can go off and discover

but moved into forestry on the advice of my tutors. I found it easy

a site. » This is the ecotourism vision of Volcanoes Safaris. Co-

to adapt and the forest has become my second home. I love my

founder Praveen Moman explains: « We offer a range of eco-

work: looking for good quality forest with valuable timber and

friendly tourist activities in natural environments whilst also

negotiating with environmental partners, with a good outcome at

contributing to the local economy. We have been based in the

the end of the day. »

n Kinshasa, it is women who are the bread-

I

east of the country, notably Rutshuru, Buindi, as well as in

winners for their families. Widow Jacquie

Rwanda and Uganda, for almost a decade. The tourist potential

Batasema is one such woman. For her, wood

of this region is huge. We would also like to bring our

tematically surveying a forest to ascertain

is the best way of generating income. It isn’t

expertise to bear in the Kahuzi-Biega and Virunga

whether or not it can be worked. It is the basis

easy work, especially for a woman of her age.

national parks in Kivu. We are interested in these two

of all forestry activity. The work is done by a

But her military training has given her back-

parks because of the great apes, gorillas and chim-

team of about 15, led by an engineer. They

bone. She walks mile upon mile, no longer

panzees. But financially it’s a risky undertaking given

travel to the site to inspect the location. The

afraid of the forest.

the pockets of insecurity that still remain in those

work involved is enormous and local youths

What does the work comprise? « Forest prospecting involves sys-

regions. Along with the lack of basic infrastructure,

are hired to help out. They are given quick

She says: « I go to the forest twice a week to

that is the biggest obstacle to our business. »

training and paid at the end of the job.

cut wood. My son often goes with me. When

A company that serves the local economy: « The local

Technological progress has made forestry work

I’m feeling very fit, I fell the trees myself. That

people are benefiting from our presence in the region.

easier. Results used to be fairly inaccurate

can take several days. By the end, I feel

We train them and provide them with paid work. »

©Kokolo Nganga

[Organisation Concertée des Ecologistes et Amis de la Nature] to raise awareness amongst the various players about the importance of preserving the forest and make appeals at local, national and international level. OCEAN now operates in the Eastern Province and North and South Kivu and has been up and running in Kinshasa for the past two years. Forest exploitation in the DRC has been pretty disorganised until now, » he continues. « Before the Third Republic, there were a lot of shady practices in the sector. The then Environment Minister signed a moratorium but this was flouted by his own ministry. The present government has only just started work so it’s difficult to judge. That said, I hope that it will stick to its pledges, including the one on transparent management of natural resources. » He goes on to list his demands: «We want to see compliance with all legal provisions. The code was passed in August 2002 but there are not enough support measures. We need to speed up the conversion process and ensure that everybody’s rights are restored. Those who don’t meet the conditions should hand back their supply guarantees to the state. In this respect, OCEAN is in favour of a moratorium until government capacity is strong enough and national and participatory zoning is in place. » Ngongo believes another measure is vital: « We also need certification for logging firms. The European and American markets are increasingly particular about wood from tropical forests. They want legal, certified timber. Consumers who buy the wood don’t want to feel they are contributing to deforestation in Africa or anywhere else in the tropical zone. The government needs to work alongside the private sector and civil society on this.

©Kokolo Nganga

exhausted and am sometimes taken seriously

due to the equipment used. Thanks to new technologies, the scientific equipment is now highly sophisticated (satellites, aerial photos

ill in the forest, far from my children. But I

and GPS), giving us an accurate overview of the working area. »

don’t have any other choice if I want to feed them. I don’t use the wood at home; I live in Kinshasa and my house has electricity. I sell

Ultimately, the biggest problem in Luisen’s view is a human one:

it to my customers - women who sell chik-

« The local people don’t always understand what we’re doing.

wange [fermented dough made from water

They think that loggers just come along and destroy the forest

and manioc flour] and lotoko [a drink made

whereas in reality logging is in no way intended to harm people’s

from fermented maize]. I also sell it at big

interests. »

Often, we see logs being driven past and our immediate reaction is to

events when people use wood to cook with.

He stresses: « Loggers abide by the forest code, unlike some

condemn the logging firms. But take a closer look and you realise that

Some housewives also come to get wood for

others. Most of the locals are illiterate and don’t understand how

local communities are also abusing the forest. A few years ago, you

cooking. »

the system works. Often they believe the small NGOs who bang

weren’t allowed to fell caterpillar trees. Now they’re doing it in the villa-

on about overexploitation and poor forest management. In fact,

ges. People no longer have jobs and this is the only way they can make

logging in the DRC has been proven to have minimal impact. It

ends meet. On top of this comes the problem of slash-and-burn agriculture. Villages cut down large swathes of forest to make way for fields. Two or three years later, these fields are no longer productive and they have to create more by felling more trees. »

©UNESCO/Eric Loddé

24

even takes account of the needs of local people by offering some Okapi Wildlife Reserve. The wardens know their patch like the back of their hands and often risk their lives in their efforts to protect the country’s heritage.

of them jobs. »


L a Vo i x d u C o n g o P r o f o n d

J U N E 0 7 | NR 2

27

>

Loading charcoal bound for Kinshasa. Charcoal is easier to package and transport than wood.

« WHEN THE FOREST IS DAMAGED, FARMERS’ INCOME FALLS » Alain HUART

Sustainable forest

productivity will eventually drop due to the

management and poverty The great majority of the DRC’s rural population rely on the forest for their day-to-day needs.

IMPROVING CULTIVATION PRACTICES AND INCREASING THE COUNTRY’S ELECTRIFICATION RATE (CURRENTLY 6%) ARE KEY TO PRESERVING THE DRC’S FORESTS. YET ON THE GROUND VERY LITTLE IS HAPPENING IN THESE AREAS. « LA VOIX DU CONGO PROFOND » PROVIDES A LINK BETWEEN FARMERS AND THE AUTHORITIES, IN AN ATTEMPT TO CONVERT The forest of Mayumbe, in the province of FARMERS TO CULTIVATION Bas-Congo, has been severely damaged as a PRACTICES THAT PROVIDE result of reckless industrial exploitation. DECENT YIELDS WHILST ALSO How has this deforestation affected local SAFEGUARDING THE ECOSYSTEM. people?

In your view, what is the link between deforestation and poverty in urban and rural areas? ALAIN HUART

>

In rural areas, we are seeing log-

©BTC/Alain Huart

©WWF-Canon/Martin HARVEY

Near the Virunga National Park. The cultivation of food crops is now likely to be the biggest direct cause of deforestation. Firewood collection also has a big impact around towns and cities and in densely populated countryside.

decline in soil fertility. In the urban areas, few households have electri©Greenpeace/Philip Reynaers

26

city. Most families cook with charcoal. The wood used to make the charcoal is cut on the outskirts of the town or city. If you travel outside Kinshasa you won’t see any trees within a 100 km radius,

is available for agriculture. The humus impro-

they have all been destroyed. The farmers have

ves the soil’s fertility, due to fixation of atmos-

How can we balance forest preservation with the everyday needs of local people?

to grow their crops further away.

pheric nitrogen by the acacias, resulting in at

VA N G U L U T E T E >

City-dwellers are also worse off because the fire-

least double the agricultural yields.

help needs to focus on the agricultural sector,

wood is expensive. In fact, the poorer you are

This means increased charcoal production and

on which two-thirds of Congolese depend. Our

the more expensive it is, because you have to

better agricultural yield due to the fertility of

aim today must be to help these people find

buy your wood in small quantities. Ultimately,

the soil: Increased rainfall and a return of wild

solutions, because when you’re fighting for sur-

the only way to cut this dependence on wood is

game to the 10,000 hectare site have also

vival, preserving biodiversity is not the major

electricity. Failing that, the urban poverty spiral

been observed. In other words, the project has

concern.

will continue.

managed to recreate an ecosystem where peo-

If we can give people back the purchasing

ple can live in a balanced way and still make a

power to buy food and generate enough income

reasonable income.

to cover their primary needs, we can make real

Are attempts being made to improve farmers’ cultivation practices in a way that helps preserve the forest? VA N G U L U T E T E >

This is a task for both the

ging operations on both an industrial and smal-

Ministry of Environment, Land Management

To solve poverty in the DRC,

« WHEN YOU’RE FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL, PRESERVING BIODIVERSITY IS NOT THE MAJOR CONCERN »

ler scale, including trees felled for firewood and

and Agriculture and the Ministry of Rural

Mayumbe forest has indeed

itinerant slash-and-burn agriculture. Such

Development. However, to ease the pressure on

been severely damaged. This has had three

slash-and-burn agriculture is flagrantly wasteful

firewood, we need to create an agro-forestry

This project has been going for 30 years and

inroads into poverty. Each region needs agricul-

consequences. Firstly, there is a dwindling sup-

and the traditional environment is declining as

zone where charcoal can be produced without

should inspire many other similar projects

tural activities that afford farmers a decent

ply of timber. Most of the forestry companies

there is not an inexhaustible amount of space

causing too much damage.

around the main urban centres. The villagers

income. On the back of this, we will see pres-

and sawmills have shut up shop. Secondly, the

available.

If we compile a list of projects, we can see

are willing to replant with acacia provided they

sure on the environment and the forest decline

production of non-wood forest products is in

In North Kivu and other regions, we are seeing

there aren’t a great number. There is an acacia

are helped with the saplings.

over time.

decline. Thirdly, the deforestation has led to

moves towards sustainable, permanent cultiva-

reforestation project covering almost 10,000

Meanwhile, other pilot replanting schemes to

This is a complex procedure requiring coordina-

climatic disturbance and a decline in soil qua-

tion around habitations. Instead of striking way

hectares at Mampu, 120 km from Kinshasa, on

assist local communities are under way: at

tion and complementary approaches from the

lity due to the loss of the humus layer and ero-

out into the forest, they grow crops around and

the Bandundu road. It’s an agro-forestry project

Luki, Bas-Congo, with WWF support and

government and its partners.

Alain Huart, is a Belgian cooperation expert

sion. As a result, soil fertility has dropped along

in the immediate vicinity of their homes. As a

combining timber and charcoal production on

Belgian funding, and at Lubumbashi in

working at the Congolese Agriculture Ministry,

with agricultural yields.

result, they have to produce compost, organic

the same site.

Katanga, Lisala in Equateur and Bas-Fleuve in

and Vangu Lutete, is assistant to the FAO’s

The inhabitants can no longer find game either

matter and fertilisers.

Acacia is a fast-growing tree, which matures

Bas-Congo with the support of the FAO and fun-

representative in Kinshasa. Both write for « La

to feed their family or to set up a small busi-

When the forest disappears, all the non-wood

within four years. After that it can be cut. It

ding from the Netherlands and, in particular,

voix du Congo profond ».They talk to us about

ness, subject to checks on endangered species.

resources and associated activities decline. And

provides a yield of 350 35-kg bags per hectare,

Belgium.

their experiences in the field and explain why,

Generally, all the forest’s resources are decli-

once the balance has been upset and the forest

which is a lot. Once it has been harvested and

This community-based management aims to

La Voix du Congo profond is a monthly magazine

in their view, deforestation only exacerbates

ning thereby threatening the food security of

has been damaged, the farmers’ income falls

cut for charcoal, there is a gap of two or three

create income sources for local people whilst

published by the Congolese Agriculture Ministry

poverty.

local people.

and, even if the forests are replaced by fields,

years before the trees grow back when the land

ensuring sustainable management of resources.

(see p. 30).

ALAIN HUART

Amédée MWARABU KIBOKO

>

VANGU LUTETE


Partnership

J U N E 0 7 | NR 2

29

>

Reforestation in the region of Luki, Bas-Congo. Young acacia and improved manioc saplings are being planted.

What is Que fait Belgian development cooperation

of community forestry The project aims to strengthen the legislative

©WWF

laforcoopération doing Congo’s forests ? belge

Development and implementation

framework of the Forest Code. Supporting political resolve to involve rural communities in forest management is a particular priority. The

Belgian Scientific Policy is financing a pro-

Forest management

gramme entitled Système de Gestion de

BELGIAN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION IS FINANCING OR CO-FINANCING A NUMBER OF ACTIVITIES PROMOTING THE PROTECTION AND SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF FORESTS IN THE DRC. HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES …

EDDY NIERYNCK

Education Support for the Ecole Régionale post-universitaire d’Aménagement et de ges-

©UNESCO

tion intégrés des Forêts Tropicales (regional post-university school for integrated development and management of tropical forests, ERAIFT - Kinshasa) ERAIFT is the only regional school of its type in the DRC. It trains experts in a range of disciplines associated with the development and sustainable management of natural resources. ERAIFT works in close cooperation with the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation, ICCN), some of whose activities are also financed or co-financed by Belgium. IMPLEMENTATION

Third year of the specialist vocational training diploma (DESS) in integrated development and management of tropical forests and territories (2005)

: UNESCO

BELGIAN CONTRIBUTION

l’Information sur les Aires Protégées (Protected Area Information Management System, SYGIAP), intended to support the ICCN. Basic maps and satellite image maps of the five World Heritage Sites have been published as part of the project. The programme is also working to develop an information and monitoring system (Geographical Information System – GIS) that will enable the ICCN to manage collected data relating to biodiversity, as well as patrols and illegal activities. Finally, in collaboration with the Royal Museum for Central Africa and the European Commission/Central African Forests Observatory, the project aims to integrate socio-economic and cultural data in order to compile pressure indicators and develop a participatory approach to the creation of development plans and zoning of parks and buffer zones. : UNESCO, ICCN, Ghent University, Université Catholique de Louvain BUDGET : €850,000 (2003-2008)

IMPLEMENTATION

Conserving nature and protecting biodiversity

Two botanists identify samples before entering them in the herbarium created by the NGO WCS.

concepts and to develop procedures for negoSupporting sustainable development and

tiating with the private sector, notably by

conservation of forest ecosystems by helping

means of implementing decrees.

to safeguard forest tax revenues for the State and boosting the contribution of forest exploitation activities to the socio-economic

Accurate and up-to-date forest data are valuable for drawing up policies, managing protected sites and protecting threatened species and ecosystems.

IMPLEMENTATION

: FAO

BELGIAN CONTRIBUTION

: US$ 1,219,270 (2007–2009)

development of local people. The programme operates on three fronts. Firstly, it provides technical support at national level for the development of forest policy and drawing up decrees and by-laws based on the new forest legislation. Secondly, an agreement has been reached with the operator of a forest concession in the Cuvette region regarding social development and the preservation of biodiversity in the concession. The company will undergo checks with a view to securing

The bonobo. The last of the great apes to be discovered; also the least well known and the least protected

forest management certification and timber labelling. The third component is situated in Bas-Congo, a region where much forest clearance has taken place and where pressure on the remaining forest ecosystems is intense. It focuses on conservation and development in a buffer zone around a forest reserve in Luki.

: €375,000 (2001-2003) / €500,000 (2004-2007)

project is working to refine community forestry

©Greenpeace/Filip Verbelen

28

Forest Governance Joint multi-donor fund for improving forest governance This joint initiative, managed by the World

: WWF : €1,750,000 (2003-2008)

IMPLEMENTATION BUDGET

Bank, supports implementation of the Forest Code and the Priority Agenda for Congolese

Biodiversity protection programme at World Heritage Sites in the DRC

reforms.

This multi-donor programme aims to conserve five UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Virunga,

The joint fund has four main components:

Kahuzi-Biega, Garamba and Salonga national parks and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve). These

1. Sustainable forest use and improved gover-

parks are home to globally important but seriously endangered biodiversity (including rare and

nance in the forest sector;

endemic species such as the mountain gorilla, bonobo, okapi and northern white rhino).

EXTRACT FROM THE BRUSSELS

Currently, Belgium’s support is financing the implementation of emergency action plans to reha-

DECLARATION

bilitate the Kahuzi-Biega and Virunga national parks and the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. A national

« Given the complexity of the stakes at issue, a single party cannot meet the challenge alone. Multi-player partnerships are now more crucial than ever, and international involvement is a vital factor. »

community conservation strategy is being prepared in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). : UNESCO, ICCN PROJECT PARTNERS : Gilman International Conservation (GIC), German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) BELGIAN CONTRIBUTION : €652,520 (2001-2003) / €1,400,000 (2004-2007) OTHER FUNDING : United Nations Foundation, Italy IMPLEMENTATION

2. development of communities of forest populations; 3. overarching support for implementation of the Forest Code; 4. administrative support and institution building. Belgium is contributing €500,000 (France €200,000 and the European Commission €3 million). UK development cooperation has also pledged US$ 500,000.

©UNESCO/Eric Loddé

©Greenpeace/Philip Reynaers


30

News

J U N E 0 7 | NR 2

Exhibition «Knock on wood» is a new temporary exhibition, due to open at the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren, Belgium) in October 2007. Boasting a contemporary and interactive format, this multidisciplinary exhibition will allow visitors to find out more about wood in general, and tropical woods in particular, and will look at sustainable management of Central Africa’s forests.

Publications Quel avenir pour les forêts de la République démocratique du Congo? Innovative instruments and mechanisms for sustainable management of the forests. Belgian Technical Cooperation's scientific review. This issue aims to build on the discussions and debates at the Brussels conference on sustainable management of forests in the DRC. The review contains three chapters: the tools of knowledge; institutional instruments for good forest governance; and economic instruments supporting non-extractive activities. Can be downloaded (in French) from: www.btcctb.org

The Forests of the Congo Basin: State of the Forest 2006 Published by the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), 256 pages A summary of available information on the state and development of forests in the Congo Basin, the threats facing them and the impact of human activity. Can be downloaded in English and French from: www.cbfp.org ou www.comifac.org

One of the centrepieces of the exhibition.

Creation of the Belgian Reference Centre for Expertise on Central Africa (CRE –AC) Its tasks are to: – catalogue available expertise in Belgium (private sector, scientific research and NGOs) on issues relating to Belgian development cooperation priorities in Central Africa; – create synergies between these three platforms; – formulate recommendations for improving development activities.

Understand the forest, its role and how it is managed, and learn about wood as a material - probably the oldest yet also the most contemporary material available. The exhibition is aimed at a broad public, including families and schools. A number of special events (meetings, discussions, lectures) will be held to complement the exhibition and a Wood Collection catalogue of the RMCA’s xylarium and scientific work will be made available. www.africamuseum.be

This book catalogues sustainable use and management of forests in Central Africa over the past decade.

Forests in Post-Conflict Democratic Republic of Congo: Analysis of a Priority Agenda Published by CIFOR, the World Bank and CIRAD, 2007, 82 pages This book profiles the Congolese forestry sector at the start of 2006. It analyses the reforms implemented since 2002 and recommends priorities for the next four to five years. Can be downloaded in English and French from: www.cifor.cgiar.org

forests in the DRC (Brussels, February 2007) :

1. increased budget for raising public awareness in Belgium and Europe; is a monthly magazine published by the Congolese Agriculture Ministry. It was launched in January 2007 with the technical and financial support of the BTC consultancy fund and provides a link between the central government, the decentralised departments of the Agriculture Ministry and the farmers. The magazine offers a conduit for information on the comparative advantages of each DRC province as well as business opportunities in the agricultural sector. It also features new cultivating techniques and encourages farmers to maximise their yields. Infos: solopanzu2002@yahoo.fr

A SELECTION OF REACTIONS TO THE FIRST EDITION OF « &CO », WHICH SPOTLIGHTED THE POST-ELECTORAL EMERGENCY PROGRAMME, CLEAN-UP WORK IN KINSHASA, WATER MANAGEMENT AND BTC PROJECTS IN THE DRC, AMONGST OTHER ISSUES.

I read the first edition of your magazine with some interest. As the head of a local NGO, la Dynamique des Jeunes pour la Paix et le Développement, I have a particular interest in the issues raised (…) I hope that &CO will give us the opportunity to start a dialogue on the effectiveness and efficiency of activities in the field. About clean-up work in Kinshasa: (…) We are sometimes scandalised to see well-to-do Congolese hurling bananas skins or bags out of their air-conditioned cars and their less well-to-do counterparts throwing rubbish next to Council bins. Basically, the Congolese in general, whether university graduates or farmers, have not been brought up to a culture of cleanliness; (…) All the BTC’s action programmes are worthwhile and may well reap temporary rewards. However, these actions need to be incorporated into our culture if they are to be efficient and durable as well as effective. (…) Faustin KOMBE

(…) I hope you realise that we in the east are (…) in great need of any encouragement and initiatives that will help us to launch, and in particular, consolidate the peace process and bring together communities on an objective basis. I think that your magazine will be a vital tool in this respect (…) The magazine will also hopefully be a way of diffusing the animosity felt by young people due to their perception that all the country’s woes are predominantly down to Belgium and the Belgians. Not an easy task (…)

7

2. political intervention to place Congo’s forests on the agenda of the next G8 meeting; 3. creation of a Belgian Task Force to study the possibility of Belgian involvement in the two fiduciary funds to be set up by the World Bank (financing conservation concessions and nature conservation measures); 4. the new Belgian Reference Centre for Expertise on Central Africa (CRE-AC) and the Royal Museum for Central Africa will monitor the working groups shortly to be set up by the Congolese government to prepare the 3rd Forest Forum in Kinshasa.

« (…) Belgium must press its partners for a truly independent justice system and laws that apply to all (…) In the water sector, we need to revitalise Regideso [the national water authority] – whilst encouraging private initiative in other areas – and focus on instilling a culture of responsibility in all Congolese: the consumer pays! Or the payer consumes! What is it about our society that makes even the best-off Congolese think they can «consume without paying» ?

7

Abbé Justin LINGBOTO Philosopher | Economist at the Séminaire Universitaire (FCK)

«The information is relevant and the layout is very professional and attractive. In future editions, I would like to see how the work covered in the sanitation feature is progressing and also hear from the people involved, such as members of the municipal sanitation teams.»

7

Emmanuel BUNKETE Accountant, Emergency Programme, BTC, Kinshasa

Jean Pierre KASUKU Lecturer at CIDEP/UO, from Goma/North Kivu.

« I see this magazine as a perfect complement to La voix du Congo profond . It is innovative and should help to change perceptions of development amongst both the Congolese partners and donors. Poverty and the desire for peace, challenges such as water, roads and hygiene in our cities, not to mention electricity… For solutions to these problems we must also look to decentralisation: financial, territorial, even political. These are all inescapable issues of immediate concern to all involved in development in this challenging country. A small section devoted to practical training on development and education for peace would be welcome. »

7 « It was great to learn about specific BTC activities. The content is most interesting and we plan to use it on future radio programmes. That said, I would like to see more articles on BTC’s activities in the provinces, especially South Kivu. »

7

philosopher FCK

rence on sustainable management of

« La Voix du Congo profond »

Readers’ letters

7

Belgium’s pledges during the confe-

Exploitation et gestion durable des forêts en Afrique Centrale Robert Nasi, Jean-Claude Nguinguiri, Driss Ezzine De Blas, Ed. L’Harmattan, Paris, 2006, 404 pages

31

>

APEFE Wallonie-Bruxelles, Lubumbashi

CONTACTS

Jonas SEBA Station Manager, Radio Baraka/South Kivu

« It’s a shame that virtually the whole magazine was taken up with BTC’s activities in Kinshasa. I’d like to have more news from other provinces, especially activities in the field. Here in Lubumbashi, we hear a lot about BTC but see very few activities on the ground. »

7

CLÉMENT

Member of a development NGO based in Lubumbashi

BELGIAN TECHNICAL COOPERATION (BTC)

Avenue Colonel Ebeya, 15-17 Gombe, Kinshasa Democratic Republic of Congo T. + 243 81 89 46 611 E. representation.rdc@btcctb.org Resident Representative : Manolo Demeure DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION (DGDC)

« I was very interested by the various special features. However, I think you should attempt some gender mainstreaming by showing that women are not only beneficiaries of many projects but are also active forces in promoting the country’s development. »

7

BIJOU

Belgian Embassy Building du Cinquantenaire, Place du 27 Octobre B.P. 899 Kinshasa – Democratic Republic of Congo T. + 243 89 89 24 233 | +243 89 89 34 412 E. kinshasa@diplobel.be

Student at UNIKIN

Minister Counsellor for Development Cooperation :

Paul Cartier

« I loved the cover photo – a welcome change from the images of misery and negativity we’re used to see. I’d like to hear more about BTC’s activities in other provinces besides Kinshasa. »

7

ANTOINETTE UNDP employee

www.btcctb.org


Carl Michiels | Rue Haute, 147 | 1000 Brussels – Belgium / Printed on FSC paper using vegetable-based ink

THE MAGAZINE OF BELGIAN DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Planting the Mwabi tree (Photo E.Vincke)

Painting on canvas by Kasanda wa Tshipele, Kinshasa, 1988. (Coll. E.Vincke)

According to Luba-Kasai belief,

the Mwabi

CONTENT OFFICER:

(Sterculia quinqueloba) is one of the « spirit trees» used to communicate with the spirits of the ancestors. These bush trees provide a bridge between nature and culture. The Mwabi is used to ask the ancestors for help in certain cases of « misfortune» (at work, illness, etc..), or to protect an individual’s « beauty» (bulengela) ), i.e. the set of intrinsic qualities gifted by the ancestors which have to be protected from the envious. The painting shows the highpoint of the ceremony: the chief men are sitting in the

shade, the women are standing. The woman for whom the ceremony is being held is seated; at her feet a man sacrifices a chicken to the ancestors, with the eyes of all upon him. Depending on how the chicken dies, conclusions will be drawn regarding the woman’s problem. Behind the patient can be seen a cutting; if the cutting takes, it is a sign that the ancestors have accepted the sacrifice. The ceremony is still practised today. Édouard VINCKE | anthropologist

is the unusual name of this new development magazine. « CO » stands for COngo, COoperation, COmmitment, COmmunication, etc., while the ampersand (&) suggests the special bond uniting the DRC and Belgium. The magazine is aimed primarily at key stakeholders in Congolese society: governmental and non-governmental players, the media, associations, NGOs, students, the general public and anybody else with an interest in the country’s development. This special issue on the Congolese forests examines the main topics dealt with at the international conference on sustainable management of forests in the DRC, which took place in Brussels on February 26-27, 2007 at the initiative of the Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation. For more information, see the conference website: www.confordrc.org

« &CO » is produced by BTC’s external communications department and is distributed free of charge. EDITOR IN CHIEF: CONTRIBUTORS:

Marie–Christine Boeve | EDITORIAL

COORDINATORS:

Carol Sacré and Julie Leduc

Frédéric Loore, Olivier Stevens, Elise Odiekila, Hervé Jeanmart, Amédée Mwarabu Kiboko, Eddy Nierynck, Edouard Vincke, Marie-Christine Boeve, Julie Leduc

SCIENTIFIC ADVISER:

Claude Croizer

Aplanos | PRINTER : Imprimerie Philippe Lozet COVER PHOTO: Greenpeace/ Philip Reynaers | PHOTO EDITING: Constant Dupuis Thank you to all those who contributed to this issue: Lola Mukendi, Alain Huart, Jan Van Gysel, Pierre Defourny, Christelle Vancutsem, Carlos de Wasseige, Guy Debonnet, Philippe Deboeck, Yvette Kaboza, Ivette Fabbri, Camille Couralet, Marc Languy, Geert Lejeune, Lutete Vangu, Olivier Mushiete, Olivier Servais, Théodore Trefon, Jean Nke Ndih, Théophile Gata and to BTC’s team in the DRC. GRAPHIC DESIGN:

This issue is available in English, French and Dutch.


&CO 2 Our forests, our future