Kinshasa, 8 October 2009—Some 50 participants from across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) met in Kinshasa this September to formulate a national action plan to address the issue of trade in wild meat, popularly termed “bushmeat”.
The workshop, organized by ICCN (the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature) under the patronage of the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism) in collaboration with TRAFFIC Central Africa, brought together participants from national authorities, civil society representatives, other elected bodies and print and broadcast media.
They met to brainstorm how to identify the factors underlying the unsustainable management of wildlife in the DRC, to formulate a plan to address these issues and enable sustainable management of wildlife resources, and to develop a plan of action with defined objectives, expected outcomes, actions to perform, indicators, sources of verification and funding.
Stéphane Ringuet, Technical Advisor to TRAFFIC’s Central Africa Programme, noted that TRAFFIC’s role in the workshop was to support the development of a strategy and National Action Plan on bushmeat, and commented: “This strategy will help guide and focus the future efforts of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to establish a framework for action throughout the country.”
Dr Petrus Ndongala-Viengele, representing the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism welcomed the support of development partners and stressed that the strategy would allow the DRC to conserve its present wildlife resources and give nature the time for them to regenerate.
“Personally, I am worried about the future of our natural ecosystems: the cry of alarm inherent in the term ‘empty forest syndrome’ unfortunately became a reality for the forests of the DRC”.
“It would be a disaster for our country, home to endemic species including the Bonobo and the Northern White Rhino, to lose such animals. This workshop, to develop a nation management strategy for bushmeat, is therefore vital.”
Mr Idi Omari India representing the ICCN underlined that his organisation is “looking forward to see the end of the current process launched during this workshop to elaborate the national bushmeat strategy and action plan.”
Participants identified the three main areas on which to construct the future strategy and action plan on bushmeat in the DRC, namely: (i) improvement of the efficiency of legal and institutional frameworks, (ii) the initiation and the promotion of alternative activities to bushmeat consumption and trade and (iii) promoting awareness of the bushmeat problem by all stakeholders.
Workshop participants included representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, General Secretariat of Defence, General Secretary of the Interior, Directorate General of ICCN, regional environmental co-ordinators, national parks staff, COMIFAC (Central African Forest Commission), the Regional Programme for Central Africa for the Environment (CARPE/IUCN), the Biodiversity and Forests of the German Technical Cooperation, the University of Kisangani, the Working Group Forest (GTF), the Lukuru Wildlife Research Project (LWRP), IUCN, WWF, national NGOs and international organizations.
The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provided the financial support for the workshop.
Workshop report (in French) (PDF, 3 MB)
Eva Paule Mouzong, Communications Officer, TRAFFIC Central Africa