WASHINGTON DC (August 10, 2022) — On the back of their face-to-face meeting in Kinshasa, Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula, announced a formal working group to protect forests and peatlands. The DRC is currently exploring a plan to auction off 27 oil blocks and 3 gas blocks, a move that would condemn the country and its rich biodiversity to irreversible environmental destruction.

Aerial view of Monboyo River and peatland forest of Salonga National Park south-east of Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Greenpeace is documenting ground-level research into satellite data on vast peatland areas recently discovered by scientists in the swamps of the Congo Basin rainforest, as well as affected communities and the natural environment. The most carbon-rich tropical region in the world is estimated to store the equivalent of three years’ worth of total global fossil fuel.

In response to the announcement, Irene Wabiwa Betoko, International Project Lead for the Congo Basin forest at Greenpeace Africa said, “No new fossil fuel project is compatible with a 1.5 degree world. You cannot extract oil from peatlands and protected areas while claiming to be a “solution country” for the climate crisis. We stand with the local communities who oppose the destruction of their lands.”

Head of Forests at GPUSA, Diana Ruiz said, “The Biden Administration needs to understand that fossil fuel expansion and all forms of extractive industries will only move the world toward a climate collapse. It would be egregious to permit any form of extraction on carbon-rich peatlands. Protecting peatlands is essential to protecting human rights and combating climate change.” 

Tal Harris

Greenpeace Africa Press Desk: [email protected]