This week, IRI DRC held a 2-day workshop with the country’s most established religious leaders and faith-based organizations to call on the government of DRC to strengthen its commitment to forest protection in advance of UNFCCC COP27. The workshop was attended by over 60 religious leaders and held in advance of a ministerial preparatory meeting in Kinshasa of UNFCCC COP27. IRI DRC used the workshop to produce a policy paper calling on DRC and all parties to the COP to make the protection and restoration of forests a priority strategy in addressing climate change. “The DRC is particularly well placed to play a leading role in the fight against climate change, especially during the COP27, which will be held on the African continent,” read the statement produced at the workshop. “We, the religious leaders of the DRC, believe that the country is morally obliged to assume greater responsibilities, especially in terms of protection and restoration of forests”. The policy statement also stated that the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) should explicitly commit to ending deforestation by 2030. “This commitment should now be clearly integrated into the DRC’s climate policy.” IRI DRC emerged from the workshop with a promise to issue a series of policy papers and advocacy documents on how the government can demonstrate needed leadership around the protection of forests and forest defenders, not just to address climate change, but for biodiversity, sustainable development and equality goals. Read the full policy statement here.