As the World Forestry Congress begins in Durban, Greenpeace activists call on the delegates to take action to protect the Congo Basin Forest. Activists hold banners outside the meeting which read “Stop Forest Crime in the Congo Basin.” Governments and corporations must back up their words with action to achieve ambitious global targets to combat deforestation.

Letter from Greenpeace Africa to the Inter-Donor Group for the Environment in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Subject: Concerns of the Democratic Republic of Congo oil blocks auction and donors’s Pre COP27 financing 

1. Greenpeace Africa would like to take this opportunity to alert you to the death threats our staff has received from anonymous callers related to its criticism of the 28-29 July oil and gas auction.

These threats occurred as Greenpeace was preparing to set out on field missions to potentially impacted communities in Tshuapa, Equateur and Haut-Lomami provinces. Villagers we met with were unanimously opposed to any future oil activity on their ancestral lands.

The death threats come in a climate of extreme animosity towards Greenpeace stoked by public statements by the two ministers you will be meeting with tomorrow, Minister of Hydrocarbons Didier Budimbu and Environment Minister and Vice-Prime Minister Eve Bazaiba.

In a 30 July press conference Ms. Bazaiba denounced Greenpeace as “anything but green and peace” – in effect insinuating that the NGO espouses violence.[1]  Ms Bazaiba’s Ministry has previously denounced Greenpeace as an “organization […] full of pathological and unrestrained animosity towards the government”[2] and labeled Greenpeace staff “beneficiaries of imperialist backers.”[3]  Mr. Budimbu has repeatedly questioned the patriotism of NGOs against the auction, implying that their concern for Virunga National Park means they’re indifferent to M23 atrocities there.[4]

We call on you publicly to insist that the DRC government stop encouraging hate speech and threats against environmental defenders.

2. We would also like to take this opportunity to make perfectly clear our position regarding the oil and gas auction.

We are scandalized that the auction has gone ahead and continue to demand its cancellation. No Environmental and Social Impact Assessment or other study should be used to justify it.  

We call on you to join us in denouncing the green light that Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) donors gave to the oil and gas auction in the $500 million forest “protection” agreement they signed with DRC at COP26 last year.[6]

We call on you to publicly denounce the auction.

3. In addition to being a climate, biodiversity, health and rule of law catastrophe in the making, the 28 July auction appears also to be simply illegal.

Three of the five calls for tenders the Ministry issued on 28 July contain a flagrant anomaly.

The Graben Albertine call for tenders refers to an 8 April 2022 meeting of the Council of Ministers as having authorized the tendering of the titles on offer, but the official minutes of this meeting contain no such authorization.[7]

The Graben Tanganyika call for tenders also refers to the 8 April 2022 Council of Ministers meeting, but includes seven blocks absent from the meeting minutes.[8]

The Lake Kivu tender refers to a 15 July 2022 Council of Ministers meeting which contains an ambiguous mention of the blocks on offer, but no authorization by the Council of Ministers for adding them to the initial 16 oil blocks authorized on 8 April 2022.[9]

We call on you to demand clarification from Mr. Budimbu tomorrow of the legal basis on which he tendered the 14 oil and gas blocks for whose tendering the Council of Ministers provided no green light, according to the official minutes of its meetings.

4. Finally, we request clarification of GIBE financing of the pre-COP27 Ministerial and scientific meetings in Kinshasa (3-5 October 2022) and Yangambi (5-7 September 2022). Coming on the heels of the launch of a giant oil and gas auction, we consider these meetings a farce, and donor financing of them pure greenwashing.

As you know, an April 2022 draft budget puts the cost of the pre-COP27 Ministerial meeting at $6,002,798, the cost of the international scientists meeting at $2,696,243 and the cost of setting up and running an organization committee and unspecified commissions over a 12-month period at $1,869,525.

A May 2022 draft budget for the international scientists meeting earmarks $413,000 for delegates’ per diem, $159,000 for “imprévus,” and $80,000 for Congolese and international media.

We call on you to publish GIBE-member countries’ contributions to the financing of these events, and to provide detailed information regarding modalities for the funds’ disbursement and traceability.  We call on you to insist on the immediate publication in the DRC of the final itemized budgets of these events.

We look forward to your public report of GIBE’s meeting tomorrow with Mr. Budimbu and Ms. Bazaiba.


Irene Wabiwa Betoko
International Project leader for Congo Basin Forest Campaign Greenpeace Africa
[email protected] ,