At the Wallonie Bruxelles Centre in Kinshasa today, we launched the “Voices Of The Forest” poetry book, a collection of 77 poems written by Congolese youth about their wishes to protect the forests of the Congo Basin. 30 of the young poets attended the launch of the book by Bavon Nsa Mputu, the Congolese Environmental Minister.

These students, from different schools around Kinshasa, represented the 2600 youths who participated in our “Future Of The Forests In Poetry” competition last year.

These forests, which contribute to the country's development and climate of the whole planet, are being damned to destruction that is growing every day, ruining the livelihoods of thousands of people.

Far from being disengaged on the topic, the students were able to find the right words to express their thoughts on their forest, calling us to act in time to stop complete forest destruction.

Whether they live in the city or the country, the Congolese youth have shown that they know how important their country’s forests are, and how threatened they are too. They are actively challenging their elders about the management and the future of their forests.

 “The destruction of the forest means a lot of resources are being taken away from the next generation," said a young poet.

Christelle Ekelo from Oshwe in Bandundu province, adds “African forest, you are our heritage, we have an obligation to ensure your protection.”

Clémence Mvumbi concludes, "Forests, I’ll speak out for your jeopardized future!”

“Voices Of The Forest” is also the title of the song that Greenpeace Africa recently launched. The song is performed by 11 musicians from the Congo Basin and the lyrics were drawn from the competition poems of students.

The singers agreed to take up the poets’ message about the protection of the forests so that the world would know the realities facing the Congo Basin forests and the people who depend on them for survival.