Indigenous communities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have decried threats to the forests of the Congo Basin, which has increasingly come under pressure from timber merchants from around the world.
Addressing participants at the launch of Pre-COP 27, the Vice Prime Minister, Eve Bazaiba emphasised on the need to find adequate solutions to the deforestation in DRC and other tropical forests with consideration of indigenous communities.
“So let’s take care of it by investing in forests. Let us also think about the guardians of forests because as such, they are entitled to remuneration. Let the world stop talking and get to work. The planet is burning, and we will burn with it if we keep talking instead of acting,” Bazaiba said.
Lisenga Drothée, a forest activist who equipped herself with knowledge of the environment and climate change has campaigned for more than 20 years defending and speaking for the indigenous people in DRC.
Drothée is one of the hundreds of participants who joined the march for Climate justice torch organized by Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) in Kinshasa, DR Congo on Sunday.
She personally sent an alarming message to the Ministry of Environment on behalf of the autochthone community in DRC.
“Climate change is within our doors and walls. I am speaking on behalf of the Congolese people and especially on behalf of the indigenous people who have been the guardians of the forest for millennia,” she said.
“Today the forest is destroyed and we lose our supermarket, we lose our natural habitat, our poisons, we lose the rivers whose flow is no longer fast, today we decree the fight as habit and we say STOP to climate change,” she added.
DRC contains around 60 per cent of the forests of the Congo Basin, and contributes to the carbon storage capacity.
It is the strategic solution to the climate crisis given its vast forests, which sequestrate Carbon Dioxide emitted by industrialized countries.
It has branded itself as “the country of solutions” however, conditional access to climate finance and massive deforestation are alarming.