The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to the second largest area of forest in the world. However, this important resource is threatened by the country’s agriculture and energy access practices, which are key drivers of deforestation. In particular, fuel wood is currently meeting 90% of total energy needs in DRC, despite the high potential for renewable energy.

Against this backdrop, 75 national stakeholders validated a Low-Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) and two proposals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the energy sector from 15-17 June in Kinshasa. The documents were prepared under the UNDP Low Emission Capacity Building (LECB) project with technical assistance from SNV World. The stakeholders were drawn from key line Ministries, academia, the private sector, NGOs, and banking.

Photo: CIFOR | A woman carries a basket filled with sticks in the forest.
Photo: CIFOR | A woman carries a basket filled with sticks in the forest. | Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Africa. The DRC is home to the second-largest single block of forest in the world. Addressing the drivers of deforestation with mitigation actions in the energy and agriculture sectors forms the basis of the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution.

As with DRC’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, the LEDS prioritises the three sectors that generate nearly 99% of GHGs -- energy, agriculture, and forestry –and will be implemented in four phases. The preparatory phase (2016-21) focuses on resource mobilization, the institutional framework, and capacity building. Priority mitigation measures for the energy, agriculture, and forestry sectors will be implemented in phase 2 (2021-30), while low-emission actions for the remaining economic sectors come into play in phase 3 (2031-50). The final phase (2051-2100) envisions the move toward carbon neutrality. A principle of continuous improvement underpins the strategy, with a review process proposed every five years.  The LEDS is also fully aligned with the National Strategic Plan for Development that is in preparation.

Photo: NAMA Trainees | Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Photo: NAMA Trainees | Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The two Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) on energy were drawn from DRC’s Sustainable Energy for All action plan. One looks at the capture of flared gas for use as an energy source, while the second takes a full value chain approach to producing and standardizing sustainable charcoal, beginning with major urban centres.

More than 40 of the national experts who participated in the validation process had also recently completed an intensive, hands-on training on NAMA design in May with SNV. The objective of the training was to provide national stakeholders with the tools to continue to identify and design mitigation actions that can contribute to the country’s low-emission development pathway. The training was the culmination of a series of capacity development efforts that were initiated in 2012 under the LECB project to create a stronger institutional framework in the country.