First-of-its-kind Webinar Details ‘Unrivalled’ Positive Impacts That a Congo Basin REDD+ Project is Having on its Community and Biodiversity

16th December 2021

Indigenous people and local community leaders share how protecting their forest is helping them gain access to basic needs.


KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dec. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Everland in partnership with Innovation Forum just released the latest recording as part of its 'From the Forest Frontlines' webinar series, Live from the Congo Basin: The impact of market-driven solutions that preserve forests, tackle climate change and improve livelihoods of local Indigenous communities.

Mai Ndombe REDD+ Project Village Chief Wilondo Baswa of the Lobalu clan from the Ntombezale tribe



The Congo Basin is the second-largest tropical rainforest and the world's largest carbon sink. Preserving the forest is essential for mitigating the impacts of climate change, maintaining biodiversity, and sustaining 80 million people.

For the first time, the webinar convened leaders from the DRC Government, Indigenous people and local communities, and conservation groups to report on the progress made since the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project was started by Wildlife Works and Ecosystem Restoration Associates (ERA Congo) in the Congo Basin in 2011. The project protects over 300,000 hectares of Congo Basin rainforest and achieves an average reduction of 3.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. It drives climate finance directly to local communities in a way that benefits their overall well-being and biodiversity across the region.

The panelists voiced appreciation for the project and discussed how proceeds from the sale of verified emission reductions are used to build schools, healthcare facilities, and clean water infrastructure in exchange for protecting the forest and wildlife.

The DRC's Secretary-General of the Environment, Benjamin Toyrambe was the first to speak followed by: Dr. Jean-Robert Bwangoy Bankanza Bolambee, DRC Country Director at Wildlife Works; Chief Basabo Booto of the Indigenous Batwa Pygmies in the village of Ikita; Chief Bantu Bola Bakali Ba Wema who is Chief of the Lokanga Groupement in the village of Lokanga; along with Mai Ndombe community representatives.

  • Benjamin Toyrambe, DRC's Secretary-General of the Environment, said:
"The Mai Ndombe REDD+ project is unrivaled in helping the DRC meet its National Determined Contributions and SDG goals. We are incredibly proud of the positive climate, community, and biodiversity impacts this project is providing to our country."

  • DRC Country Director at Wildlife Works, Dr. Jean-Robert Bwangoy Bankanza Bolambee, said:
"Forest protection is done in collaboration with members of local communities, where we work with them to identify alternative economic incentives to deforestation that enable them to continue to work whilst preserving their forests."

  • Chief Basabo Booto of the Indigenous Batwa Pygmies in the village of Ikita, a driving force behind the forest conservation work in Ikita, said:
"Since the arrival of the project, my community members and I welcome[d] it… Thanks to this project, all of the animals that had fled have returned to the forest and the trees have begun to grow again. [The project] has achieved everything it promised… they built schools, drilled water wells, and teachers are paid. School children receive uniforms, and our community has benefitted from access to healthcare for all."

Wildlife Works and ERA Ecosystems Services Group implemented the REDD+ conservation strategy in 2011 to channel carbon credit revenues to create sustainable development opportunities for the local community while protecting the project area from deforestation. Today, it is a Wildlife Works project operated in-country by its ERA Congo subsidiary.

An article on the 5 key takeaways from the webinar can be read on the REDDimpact site under Articles.

REDD+
REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is a climate change mitigation strategy introduced by the United Nations to help stop the destruction of the world's forests, the second-largest source of climate change. The carbon market is used to support these efforts that bring direct benefits to communities. REDD+ Verified Emissions Reductions (VERs) are issued on an annual basis after third-party verifiers conduct an on-site audit to confirm the forest has been successfully protected and sustainable economic alternatives have been created for the community leading to local improved livelihoods.

Everland
Everland represents the world's largest portfolio of high-impact, forest conservation (REDD+) projects that protect wildlife and enhance the well-being of forest communities. The company brings together forest communities and corporations in a common cause to protect some of the world's most important and vulnerable forests.

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