IRI DRC launches provincial chapter in Ituri, along with preparations for chapters in Equateur and North Kivu

IRI DRC has launched its first provincial chapter in Ituri.  The two-day event included training workshops on (i) the importance of tropical forests in the fight against climate change and sustainable development; (ii) the leadership of indigenous peoples as custodians of tropical forests; (iii) the moral, ethical and spiritual basis of the importance of protecting tropical forests, their inhabitants and the need for religious actions to stop deforestation; (iv) basic knowledge of territorial public policies; and (v) the development of a provincial program of IRI DRC.  Participants included religious leaders from different denominations, indigenous pygmy peoples, civil society organizations, academics and government officials, including a representative of the Minister of Environment and the Deputy Mayor of Bunia (the capital city of the province).  Preparatory meetings were also held with the President of the Église du Christ au Congo in Ituri (Protestant) and the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Bunia.  An IRI Ituri Advisory Council was formed and their first meeting was held to develop an action plan and priority activities to protect forests in the province.  Advance missions are now being held to North Kivu and Equateur provinces in preparation for IRI provincial chapters launches in the weeks ahead.