Kinshasa, 27 August 2019. Since August 21, more than 6,902 fires in Angola and 3,395 fires in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo have been documented, predominantly in the savanna area. Like the Amazon, the Congo Basin rainforest is facing a risk of being hit again by uncontrolled fires [1]. Greenpeace Africa calls on the Congo Basin governments to take immediate measures to prevent fires from hitting the rainforest. For the long-term, governments must end all industrial activity within the world’s second largest rainforest.

“We must learn from the ongoing fire crisis in the Amazon and take the necessary steps to ensure the flames are controlled and do not spread further in the Congo Basin forest”, said Irène Wabiwa Betoko, Greenpeace Africa Senior Forest Manager.

The Congo Basin forest is home to about a million of indigenous people who are its first guardians, as well as thousands of species who depend on it. It also serves as a carbon sink and plays a vital role in regulating the global climate.

“Climate change and industrial activity in the forest make it more vulnerable to fires. Without forest protection, we will not be able to face the climate crisis”, warned Wabiwa Betoko. “Forest management rights should be given to indigenous peoples in line with traditional knowledge and environmental standards instead of giving concessions to destructive multinational corporations”, Wabiwa Betoko concluded.

Notes: 

[1] In 2016, one of the largest forest fires ever witnessed in the Congo Basin forest occurred in the Republic of Congo logging concession of the German-owned Danzer Group – certified “sustainably managed” by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Contact for interviews and more information:

Irène Wabiwa Betoko, Greenpeace Africa Senior Forest Manager, irene.wabiwa@greenpeace.org, +243976756102 

Tal Harris, Greenpeace Africa International Communications Coordinator, tal.harris@greenpeace.org, +221 776730496