Summary of EA programme


The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is emerging from years of misrule and civil war, and the subsequent dependence of the population on a subsistence economy based on exploitation of natural resources. The country has a long history of violations of political, social, economic and ecological rights, and is one of the most visible examples of the so-called “natural resources curse”. DRC is characterized by a deep-rooted fragmentation, mistrust at the political, geographical and local level, where ethnic divisions are exploited by those who hope to gain from instability and conflict. DRC contains about 4% of the world's copper reserves and one-third of its cobalt reserves. However the political elite plunders most of this richness. Up till now the land remains the property of the state and the state retains all rights on the use of that land. There is little investment by local people in the long-term sustainability, exploitation and protection of the natural resources. As DRC is facing an ever-increasing ecosystem degradation, the pressure on natural resources is becoming more present and a potential source of conflict relapse.

Local communities and marginalized groups who are currently living near and dependent upon natural resources are having an impact on natural ecosystems and are unlikely to benefit from economic, social and development opportunities. The program is being carried out in three provinces with a strong national lobby and linking component.


The main goal of the program is to work towards securing ecosystems services for local communities through the strengthening of the application of environmental legislation and the means of local communities to exercise these rights, through land-use plans, as well as helping national and local authorities understand the value and interrelationships between ecosystem health and livelihood security.

Specific objective is to improve resource governance, ecosystem management/restoration and bio-diversity conservation, including the improvement of community rights to use natural resources.

Local Population expressing thier views on Natural Resource Management in DRC:
These local stories were filmed in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This is a series of films dealing with oil exploration in Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and its potential environmental and human rights impact.

These films are intended to give a voice to local communities living in and around Virunga National Park. It is their voice, their fears and feelings about the oil developments in Noth Kivu.

1 / Oil in North Kivu: the fear of oil, is a message of local communities to their leaders, their political representatives and the international community concerning oil exploration in block V.

2 / Oil in North Kivu: The Promise of Oil, expresses the fears of locals and the promises made to local communities by the oil company SOCO during the exploration phase of Block V in Virunga National Park.

3/ Oil in North Kivu: messages from the communities, is a message of locals to their leaders and the international community concerning oil exploration in block V.

Photos: Photo series on Virunga and Local Fishery Communities of Lake Edward in DRC by Jan-Joseph Stok


IUCN NL local partners on NL TV RTL Nieuws : “Virunga Oliezoekers bedreigen Afrikaanse berggorilla”

NEWS Paper (Global Post Serie)