Democratic Republic of the Congo


The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been improving, although not all benefits have reached those most in need. Three out of four people remain under the poverty line and the DRC has the lowest human development index in the world, which is mostly attributed to poor governance. Moreover, DRC’s fragile state of conflict is an important aspect that must be taken into account in every policy and project.

Collecting firewood in Basankusu - Francish7
Collecting firewood in Basankusu - Francish7

Environmental policy

Fighting poverty is one of the major objectives of EU-DRC cooperation. To achieve this objective, programs aim to promote inclusive and sustainable growth that benefits the population while protecting natural resources. Climate change will also be a major and transversal concern as it risks undermining growth.

You can find more information on the link between poverty reduction and environmental management here (Example of DRC page 36).

Focal Sectors

The National Indicative Program for the Democratic Republic of the Congo can be found here (FR):

* Environment is a cross-cutting issue and a focal sector at the same time. The Congolese forest is indeed considered a global public good (See the 2013 Report) and an exceptional biodiversity reserve. It is important, therefore, that environment be integrated in every sector policy.

In the environment sector, the main objective is to protect the unique environmental capital of the country while promoting economic benefits for the population. Some specific objectives emerge:

  • To protect the forest of the DRC and its exceptional biodiversity as a global public good.
  • To reinforce the use of sustainable natural resources in the economic development of the local population. In this perspective, a National Agricultural Investment Plan was adopted (PNIA 2013-2020 (FR)).
  • To stabilize deforestation and increase carbon sequestration. For that, DRC started to negotiate a voluntary partnership agreement under the European initiative against illegal logging (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT)).
  • To improve sanitation in the city of Kinshasa and reduce environmental impact of poor sanitation.


In the forest field, the EU cooperation for the 2008-2013 period helped reverse the decline of biodiversity in important protected areas. The sustainable management of natural resources will have positive effects in long term, thanks to management training. However, institutional strengthening remains low and its improvement will continue to be an important element for the coming years. (More details about the evaluation of the past cooperation (FR))

Other focal sectors have environmental aspects also:

  • The environmental impact will be limited in the health sector. However, remediation of villages may have a positive impact on local pollution.
  • A specific attention must be given during works on transport infrastructures, such as the national Road 1.

Would you like to react to this article? Do not hesitate to post a comment right below.

Do you work on environment and/or climate change in DR Congo? Share your experience or suggest an idea!

DISCLAIMER: This information is provided in the interests of knowledge sharing and capacity development and should not be interpreted as the official view of the European Commission, or any other organization.

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last update
18 November 2016

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