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YILNAC Network: Launch of the Community Biodiversity Conservation Project by indigenous and local populations neighboring the Itombwe nature reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Publié le 25/09/2023 - Catégorie: Environment ...

Under Program Framework 4: Protection and Management of Biodiversity, Young Indigenous Leaders for Nature and Climate (YILNAC Network) is launching this new project with the objective of promoting the conservation of biodiversity in the Itombwe Nature Reserve, while strengthening the rights and well-being of indigenous and local populations who depend on them.

460 young people and indigenous women (230 young people and 230 indigenous women) from 8 villages surrounding the Itombwe nature reserve are direct beneficiaries of the project in the Mwenga Territory, South Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This project therefore aims to protect the exceptional biodiversity of the Itombwe nature reserve, which is home to a great diversity of ecosystems, plant and animal species, some of which are endemic and threatened such as edible caterpillars, and a source of household income.  The conservation of these ecosystems and these species is essential to maintain ecological balance, preserve genetic diversity, reduce the food crisis and ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem services on which local communities depend.

The project seeks to strengthen the rights and well-being of indigenous and local populations bordering the Itombwe nature reserve. These communities have in-depth traditional knowledge of the region, its natural resources and ecosystems, and play a key role in preserving biodiversity. The project supports their active participation in the management of the reserve, by recognizing and respecting their customary rights and involving them in decision-making related to conservation.

In addition, the project strives to promote sustainable management practices of natural resources, relying on the traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous and local populations. These practices, often based on a balanced relationship with nature, can contribute to the preservation of biodiversity and the resilience of ecosystems in the face of climate change and anthropogenic pressures.

The project also includes capacity building and local economic development initiatives, aimed at improving the livelihoods of communities while preserving biodiversity. This includes the promotion of sustainable agriculture resilient to climate change, sustainable management of forest resources and the valorization of local knowledge and products.

Finally, the project seeks to establish partnerships and alliances with other stakeholders, such as local authorities, civil society organizations and research institutions, in order to strengthen conservation and sustainable development efforts in the reserve natural environment of Itombwe. These partnerships will therefore make it possible to mobilize additional resources, share knowledge and good practices, and strengthen coordination between the different stakeholders.



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