Petrol Non-Merci ! Civil society organisations push presidential candidates on their environmental commitments in the run up to DRC presidential elections
November 6, 2023
Last week, Congolese civil society organisations knocked at the door of several candidates running for the upcoming DRC presidential elections to ask them to prioritize pressing environmental issues in their electoral campaigns and manifestos.
Activists from Extinction Rebellion Movement of the University of Goma (XR), in partnership with North Kivu-based civil society network Reseau CREF and environmental NGOs APEM and Fecopeile have so far met with Martin Faylulu, Floribert Anzuluni and the team of Marie Josee Ikofu ahead of the national poll scheduled for the end of December.
During these meetings, they denounced the lack of transparency in the country’s ongoing auction of 30 oil and gas blocks, many of which overlap with protected areas, carbon-rich peatlands and ancestral lands of thousands of communities. They highlighted the potential impacts of fossil fuel expansion in these areas, lack of meaningful engagement with local communities and the risks of any future involvement of DRC in the EACOP pipeline project in the Lake Albertine region strongly opposed by community and environmental groups in neighbouring Uganda.
They also appealed to the candidates to put the environment and low-carbon sustainable development at the centre of their vision and political programme by scaling up investments in renewable energies, capitalising on DRC’s abundant arable land and protecting the country’s biodiversity through of ambitious and human rights-centred policies.
They reiterated the support of Congolese civil society in building a common understanding of the challenges faced by local communities and Indigenous Peoples arising from the mismanagement of natural resources and help developing just and more effective responses to DRC’s pressing development needs.
“Ultimately, the sustainable and equitable development of the DRC rests on an inspired and ambitious leadership willing to embrace and seriously tackle environmental issues” said Pascal Mirindi, activist and member of XR Movement University of Goma.
Their aim is to meet with all the 26 presidential candidates in the coming weeks, whilst also engaging with incumbent government representatives on these same key issues, especially ahead of crucial climate talks at COP28 later this month.
Activists from XR Movement University of Goma meet with Presidential candidate Martin Fayulu in Kinshasa.