Enabling rural development, the fight against poverty, preservation of biodiversity and mitigation of climate change: The ‘Geographically integrated ECOmakala+ REDD+ Pilot Project’ simultaneously addresses these four pressing issues in the area surrounding the city of Goma and the Virunga National Park.
Situated at the border of the Virunga National Park in the North Kivu province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the city of Goma has nearly 1.000.000 inhabitants, with the second highest population density in the country. The area has been subject to violence and wars for almost 20 years, resulting in rural migration to the more secure city of Goma. 97% of the population living in North Kivu is dependent on firewood and charcoal, ‘makala’ in Kiswahili, for energy as they do not have access to electricity. Legal forest resources, from outside the Virunga National Park, are insufficient to meet the energy needs of the population of Goma as the forests surrounding the city are almost entirely cleared. The great majority of wood supply to the city consequently originates from illegal, unsustainable logging within park borders. This energy crisis is particularly linked to the lack of involvement of provincial authorities in the management of timber resources, the lack of alternatives to deforestation, and the increase in demand. The energy crisis has major effects on the living conditions of households dependent primarily on charcoal, mainly the poorest, as well as on biodiversity, forest cover and the climate.
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