Clima Virunga

Climate mitigation and adaptation in Virunga National Park through forest- agriculture around Lake Edward (Democratic Republic of Congo)

The Clima Virunga project aims to mitigate the effects of climate change by improving the management of natural resources and safeguarding the exceptional biodiversity of Lake Edward in the Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo). The Virunga Park is characterized by its high ecological value. However, the park is threatened by extreme poverty of the majority of the local population in a context of ongoing humanitarian and security crisis that has plagued North Kivu province for more than 25 years. The program aims to plant 1,500 hectares of trees (local species, fast-growing species and fruit trees) around the community fisheries of Nyakakoma, Vitshumbi and Kyavinyonge on the lands allocated by the Virunga Park. Between 2000 and 2018, 4,642 ha of forest was lost in a 10 km perimeter around the lake in Virunga Park, and about 1,500 ha of tree cover was lost around Vitshumbi.

The project is entirely aimed at mitigating the local impact of climate change and increasing the resilience of the riverbank population against the dangers of climate change. By focusing on the sustainable production of fuelwood, the project aims to limit the impact of the communities living around the lake on the park's ecological resources and develop a sustainable energy system. The socio-economic development of the communities (mainly fishermen and their dependents, approximately 63,000 people) is promoted. At the same time, it contributes to reducing gas emissions and increasing CO2 capture. In addition, the project will immediately contribute to better protection of the primary forests of the Virunga Park and its biodiversity. The program will be jointly implemented by Meise Botanic Garden and the Virunga Foundation with a strong involvement of the local communities who contribute to the stabilization of the region around the Virunga Park.

Financed by: Flanders, Departement Omgeving