Institutional cooperation in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Originally initiated under the auspices of the Royal Museum for Central Africa, in cooperation with the RBINS and Meise Botanic Garden, the Centre de Surveillance de la Biodiversité (CSB) was created in 2010 at the University of Kisangani (UNIKIS) with funding of the Belgian Development Cooperation and inaugurated in 2014. It has been the object of institutional capacity building ever since.
Under impulse of CEBioS, the CSB became ‘Secondary CHM’ for the DR Congo in 2017, mandating the institute to contribute to the NBSAP and to contribute to the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The CSB-CEBioS programme contains the development of the DRC’s Clearing House Mechanism site, the digitisation of the library of biodiversity research at the Faculty of Science of the UNIKIS, the strengthening of national networks for mainstreaming biodiversity-governance knowledge and training in scientific skills and raising awareness about the Nagoya Protocol among scientists.
Moreover, the introduction of Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) projects increased the team’s monitoring skills and strengthened the insights on how decision makers can be influenced on a science base. The CSB is focusing, in a team-effort, on social-ecological and biomonitoring of important ecosystems outside protected areas, with, among others, the study of zoonoses, linking biodiversity to public health (One Health). All activities are executed in close collaboration with the Faculty of Science of UNIKIS.
Support from Ministry
CEBioS’ activities with the CSB are known, approved and followed-up by the ‘Ministère de l’Environnement et Développement Durable’ and its ‘Direction de Développement Durable’. The mutual trustful relationship ensures that the ministry calls more easily and automatically on the CSB to contribute to national reporting exercises, to advise when preparing legislation, to help raise awareness among politicians in commissions, and the general public.
The CSB together with its Belgian partners organised a first International Conference on the biodiversity of the Congo basin and, with as important output, a first ‘Etat des lieux’ of the knowledge about the biodiversity in DR Congo.
A second ‘International Conference on Biodiversity in the Congo Basin’ and major national workshops or training sessions are also planned.
The longstanding cooperation with the state agency Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) serves to develop guidance for habitat monitoring in protected areas (including the production of lexica), based on scientific knowledge generated with the cooperation of the local universities (UOB, UGom, UNIKIS, UNILU, UNIKIN). Special attention is devoted to the valuation or creation of value chains for local people in and around protected areas as well as for applied research on pollinators, mushrooms and other forest by-products.