21 December 2007

Congo-Kinshasa: Climate Change snd Future Challenges

A climate change conference was held in Kinshasa's Grand Hotel on 21 December 2007. Organised by the UNDP who launched the "World Report on Human Development 2007/2008", the conference defined the nature of climate change in the DRC, and presented the challenges for the future.

In front of ambassadors, senators and civil society representatives, UNDP DRC Director Dr. Adama Guindo explained that the DRC was an environmental treasure, whose forests contain huge biodiversity and 30% of Africa's freshwater resources.

"There is a consensus that developing countries are more vulnerable to climate change. The issue is how to define the politics that will permit a consideration of the problem, and to find the best solution for the present and the future," he said.

Climate change in the DRC negatively affects agricultural production and rainfall levels, while causing more extreme storms, the extinction of ecosystems, and increasing the risk of diseases.

Dr. Guindo went on to say that even though those most responsible for climate change are the richer industrialised countries, between 2000 and 2004 one in 19 people in the developing world were affected by natural disasters induced by climate change, compared to one in 500 in the developed world.

"This conference will look for a road that will focus on adaption to climate change, actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation, but also the technological transfers and financial mechanisms required for reducing the impacts of climate change," he said.

"What is climate change in the DRC? How does it manifest itself, and how can we, civil society, politicians and the international community, come together to plan and find a solution?" Dr. Guindo concluded.

DRC Senate president Mr. Leon Kengo said that the senate was determined to examine the problem of climate change in 2008.

"We will conduct a workshop on 2 January 2008, regarding the forestry code and it application. It will examine what role senators can play in responding to the problems in this vital sector," he explained.

He went on to say that they will listen to the expectations of local communities, the private sector and the international community in facing the challenge of forestry and climate change.

In explained the challenges ahead Mr. Kengo said: "How can we aid our government in overcoming the history of poor management of these forests? What is lacking for the best application of the forestry code? I hope that in future debates on climate change the proper response will be found."

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