IRI DRC delivers training and action planning for local chapters in Mbandaka

From 24-27 May, IRI Equateur held a 3-day training in Mbandaka attended by 12 representatives from religious denominations, 4 representatives from the provincial government, 2 indigenous individuals from the Pygmy community, 2 delegates from civil society organizations, 2 higher education institutions and 2 partners (FAO and the ICCN – the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation). During the training, participants conducted an organizational analysis of the IRI Equateur chapter in order to implement a theory of change based on countering three issues: deforestation and forest degradation, illegal logging, and lack of ethics (corruption) among loggers and decision makers. The theory of change entitled “Protection of Tropical Forests for the Benefit of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities of Equateur” will work to ensure that local communities and indigenous peoples have sustainable living conditions by 2030 and that (i) the forests of the Equator Province are managed in a participatory and sustainable manner; (ii) the socio-economic and cultural rights of indigenous peoples and local communities are taken into account in any forest projects; and (iii) that the strategic plan is effectively implemented. Participants were also provided with an initial training on Global Forest Watch to equip the local chapters with alerts and near real-time monitoring data on deforestation in the province.  Participants requested a more in depth session that would include map development and other more sophisticated applications of the tool.