DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
The Congo Basin is home to the second largest rainforest in the world.
About 60% of this forest lies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which is the second largest tropical forested country in the world and has the greatest extent of tropical rainforests in Africa, covering more than 100 million hectares.
Forest cover in the Democratic Republic of the Congo stores 7% of the world’s forest carbon – making it one of the largest forest carbon stocks in the world.
40 million people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo rely on the forest for food and fuel.
In the Congo Basin, conflict has discouraged the kind of investment in agriculture and infrastructure seen in the Amazon Basin. Because of this, deforestation has remained relatively low. With increased stability however, the forest faces growing threats from infrastructure and development.
In 2017, the Democratic Republic of the Congo saw more forest loss than any other country outside of Brazil — some 3.6 million acres, up 6 percent from the previous year.
REVEREND MATTHIEU YELA BONKETO, COUNTRY FACILITATOR
Reverend Matthieu Yela Bonketo brings in a vast experience in protecting tropical forests and autochthonous people. He was the National Director in charge of Forest and Climate at the Church of Christ in Congo and was also responsible for defining the ECC policy, advocacy and mobilization of member communities for sustainable forest management and climate change mitigation. Reverend Bonketo is also the founder and coordinator of Defense of the Environment (CEDEN) NGO and brings in 17 years of project planning, management, evaluation and advocacy for the protection of tropical forests and the rights of local communities and indigenous people. He has implemented different programs with the Bantu and Pygmy people in major forest provinces of DRC (Equateur, Mai Ndombe, Mongala, Tshopo) and has worked in influencing public policy on tropical forest in the country.
Reverend Bonketo has conducted different theses at the Protestant University of Congo focussing on how religion can contribute to the safeguarding of rainforests in DRC and the contribution of the church to the sustainable management of tropical forests.