THE GREEN ALLIANCE OF GRAND KATANGA
WHAT IS A GREEN ECONOMY?
The concept of a green economy was developed as a means to grasp the two-way relationship that exists between economic development and the environment. A green economy is one that results in improving the well-being of people and fostering social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and resource scarcity. In essence, a green economy is characterized by low-carbon emissions, resource efficiency and social inclusion. It directs economic development towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly activities and thus creates an enabling environment for the emergence and deployment of green technologies and responsible organisational practices.
WHY CREATE A GREEN ECONOMY IN THE DRC?
In April 2021, President Félix Tshisekedi emphasised the DRC’s commitment to the implementation of the Paris Agreement at the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate hosted by President Biden. Firstly, DRC’s commitment to contribute to the global fight against climate change in the context of sustainable development and poverty reduction. Secondly, to realise DRC’s huge renewable energy potential from hydropower, solar and the sustainable exploitation of the reserves of essential green strategic metals, which will contribute to the decarbonisation of the economy.
An observation of the DRC’s economy reveals that it is currently exacerbating climate change, natural resource depletion, various crises in biodiversity, energy, food security, and the financial systems. In addition, these crises are increasing the vulnerability of the population and their exposure to climatic and economic shocks. The effects are an exponential increase in greenhouse gas emissions, population migration, widening social disparities, underemployment, food insecurity, will constitute major challenges for a country’s development.
A transition to a sustainable and more environmentally friendly economy is needed to reduce poverty and improve the incomes of millions of people, youth and women, who depend primarily on natural resources such as land, forests, fisheries and other types of natural resources. This transition envisages improving the lives and resources of people in unsuitable areas, balancing the use of natural resources while maintaining incomes, and offsetting the risks of change with the opportunities that arise from it.
HOW TO ACHIEVE A GREEN ECONOMY IN THE DRC?
To achieve the vision of a green economy, a diverse collection of stakeholders working together in an alliance is needed, including local actors, public authorities, the private sector (agro-industry, energy, mining, etc.), communities and civil society organisations, and nature conservation bodies (ICCN and its partners). Thus, an “Green Alliance” has to be formed between all stakeholders that will work together to optimise the use of land and resources to ensure a prosperous and sustainable economy in consultation, complementarity and alignment with provincial and national strategies.
The process of creating a “green economy” will require addressing issues such as land tenure security, developing land use plans that include the protection of the open miombo forests and the finding alternative energy sources to wood. All of this will need to be driven by a vision of community development, accompanied by strong, participatory local governance and the engagement of key decision-makers.
KEY INGREDIENTS TO A GREEN ALLIANCE
- A strong vision and a strong The promotion of conservation area management as a sustainable economic driver for the local/national economy in the short and long term, as well as the implementation of climate change mitigation programmes.
- The initiative is Congolese-owned and -led. The champions/leaders of the initiative must be Congolese with strong values and leadership
- The political leadership of the DRC is The support of the DRC president and the ruling elite is essential to secure the national and international support needed to ensure funding and commitment from partners to pursue this initiative.
- Solid institutional This initiative must be led by a strong and reliable governance structure in collaboration with the country’s public authorities with cross party support.
- International team supporting the initiative. To build a world-class system, a world-class team of the best minds in multiple fields of expertise is
- Substantial Access to long-term financial resources should not be a constraint to this initiative, as the quality of the expected results depends on it.
OVERVIEW OF THE GREEN ALLIANCE ACTIVITIES
The industrial development corridor
The Upemba and Kundelungu National Park Complex (CUK) is at the heart of the vision of the Green Alliance of Grand Katanga; the two parks, the hunting areas, and the annexed areas, estimated at over 30 000 km2. The landscape will include the main industrial development corridor between Kasumbalesa
– Lubumbashi – Likasi – Kolwezi, where mining (copper, cobalt, etc.) is the main economic activity and where the main urban populations are also located. There is a need to develop infrastructure and improve social, educational and health facilities as well as the production and distribution of green energy to meet the energy needs of industry and the urban populations.
Livestock and agricultural zones
High potential livestock and agricultural zones for the establishment of sustainable food production systems through collaboration between local communities and the private sector to ensure food self- sufficiency and economic empowerment of communities in the region. The area will also be the focus of rural micro-grid electrification initiatives to ensure that all rural and remote communities have access to affordable electricity.
Sustainable fisheries zones
Furthermore, the alliance recognises the importance of the fishing zones in the river and lake systems of the Lufira River basin. The development and marketing of sustainable fisheries in the fishing zones is a priority in the fight against food and financial insecurity in the riverine communities. This will also provide an alternative to bush meat for the most food insecure populations.
At the heart of the landscape, are the national parks, which represent the conservation zone aimed at restoring the ecological integrity, habitats and wildlife populations historically abundant in these protected areas. This area exists to protect and monitor the carbon and ecosystem services that support the overall landscape and could drive a green economy generating revenue and jobs from carbon finance, community forestry and nature tourism. As observed in several neighbouring countries, such conservation areas have the potential to contribute enormously to DRC’s national income. Above all, the green heart of the landscape is a place for the Congolese to enjoy, relax and reconnect with their natural and cultural heritage.
The Green Alliance aims to mobilise partners and funds to support immediate action in the renovation and construction of essential infrastructure for sustainable energy production and distribution. Without such infrastructure, production capacity will be immensely affected. In addition, by developing small and medium sized sites in the provinces, this initiative will be able to address the energy needs of local communities in order to positively influence
Green Grand Katanga – multisectoral land use plan
In order to plan for land-use optimisation across Grand Katanga, it is essential to consolidate the best land-use concepts into a complementary plan that can provide the highest returns for the greatest scope and impact.
One Health Initiative
The goal of achieving optimal health outcomes for people, animals and the environment in the landscape is possible through interdisciplinary collaboration between health professionals who comprehensively address the complexities and interconnections between people, animals, plants and their shared environment.
Grand Katanga Livestock and Climate Change Project
This project aims to address the interrelated challenges of food insecurity, ecology and climate through a breeding programme of cattle and sheep with the neighbouring communities of CUK, particularly in the upland areas. Cattle and sheep, as grazers, are best suited to the upland grasslands of Grand Katanga (goats are not ideal as grazers). Building on successful livestock programmes in Katanga, the aim would be the establishment of community livestock associations/ cooperatives for marketing livestock products.
The aim of Green Alliance’s education initiative is to contribute to the protection of the environment by raising awareness of environmental issues and promoting more eco-friendly practices among all students and local community members. In addition, this initiative plans to intervene more actively in regions close to conservation areas by developing activities in schools and communities that induce behavioural changes and foster attitudes and practices favourable to the protection of the environment and the development of sustainable activities favourable to nature conservation.
THE LONG-TERM VISION OF THE GREEN ALLIANCE
The vision of the Green Alliance of Grand Katanga is to create a diversified and prosperous economy among the four provinces and territories of Grand Katanga, a vision based on the sustainable exploitation of their natural resources with the aim of playing a global leadership role in the integration of a green economy model capable of meeting the needs and aspirations of its inhabitants.
The longer-term vision of the Green Alliance of Grand Katanga is to extend the collaboration and partnerships to neighbouring areas in Zambia, including Nasumbu National Park and Kaputa Reserve, as illustrated in the map – Figure 1.
The transboundary protected area would protect a large area of the miombo forest together with key elephant migration routes. It will also facilitate the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking in these areas. With the potential to become a UNESCO natural and cultural World Heritage Site, the landscape will involve the participation of governments, local communities and the private sector in order to promote environmental protection through the development of a green and sustainable economy and against the effects of ecosystem degradation.
Figure 1. Map of the Complex Upemba- Kundelungu and the Green Alliance extending towards a transboundary Protected area with Zambia
Figure 2. Map of the diversity of the ecosystems in Haut(Upper)-Katanga
Figure 3. Map of the Forestry concessions of local communities in Haut(Upper)-Katanga