DRC: Yangambi climate resilience project gets €2m from Unesco

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DRC: Yangambi climate resilience project gets €2m from Unesco©CIFOR

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has announced support worth €2 million. The funding will ensure the preservation of the natural potential and climate resilience around the Yangambi reserve located 282 km from the capital Kinshasa.

“We are very pleased to mobilise about €2 million from our partners, especially Belgium. This funding promised by Isaias Barreto, the representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is intended for the implementation of the “Yangambi pole of excellence for biodiversity and climate” project in Tshopo province.

The project, which will be implemented around the Yangambi reserve created in 1939, will notably improve the living conditions of the local populations (about 3 million inhabitants) through the equitable sharing of the benefits of agroforestry as well as the reinforcement of security in the protected areas. This 230,000 hectare site was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1977 thanks to plant species such as afrormosia (Pericopsis elata), iroko (Milicia excelsa), ilomba (Pycnanthus angolensis) and sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricum).

“Currently, most households rely on the exploitation of natural resources for their livelihoods: logging, slash and burn agriculture, hunting and fishing. The initiatives that are being implemented in the landscape aim to create jobs and re-involve local communities in research and conservation work, which can improve their living conditions and the success of a green future,” says the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INERA) in Yangambi.

Biodiversity at the heart of climate issues

In 2020, the University of Ghent (UGent) in Belgium, the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the R&SD Society and the Regional Post-Graduate Training School on Integrated Management of Tropical Forests (ERAIFT), in partnership with the National Institute for Agronomic Studies and Research (Inera), jointly launched the Yangambi Research Centre. The centre is currently managed by Congolese technicians working with IRENA.

Read also-DRC: Kinshasa relies on technology to achieve the SDGs

At the same time, these technicians have developed a 55 m high ‘carbon flux’ tower (15 m above the forest canopy), the operation of which will fill the data gap on the importance of African rainforests in capturing global carbon dioxide emissions, changes in local and regional rainfall patterns, and the effect of deforestation on global warming

Benoit-Ivan Wansi

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