DRC: Preserving the Salonga National Park with future generations
According to UNESCO and UNEP, there is no greater contribution or more essential element for long-term environmental strategies for a sustainable development being respectful of the environment, than the education of future generations.
In this perspective, the Salonga National Park Management is developing an ambitious program of awareness and environmental education for an all-out mobilization of schoolchildren to preserve this green treasure of the African continent.
To this end, 2500 schoolchildren (1479 boys and 1021 girls) including 148 teachers (125 men and 23 women) from 12 schools in the Salonga landscape - 3 schools in Oshwe, 8 in Lokolama and 1 in Bombole - have been educated and trained with regard to this . For a better understanding, students were organized in school level groups - elementary, intermediate and terminate - and facilitators’ interventions were carried out in Lingala for primary schools, in French and Lingala for secondary schools. 2 collaboration agreements were signed with the Ministry of Education administrative sub-divisions in provinces that enabled implementation of the activity with the schools. 4 schools including 2 primary and 2 secondary schools also benefited from agricultural equipments consisting of Machetes, hoes, spades to set up school orchards.
Schoolchildren and teachers have been educated and sensitized on the importance of environment, climate change basic concepts, environmental management, importance of natural resources in everyday life, fundamental ecological cycles, climate change adaptation and mitigation, interactions of local and global actions and their implications for climate change and environmental issues, and Sustainable Development. It should also be remembered that one of the key objectives of the Salonga program is to raise public awareness and get public participation in the preservation of the landscape biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources.
The 33,350 square kilometer Salonga National Park is in fact the largest national forest park in Africa and the second largest tropical forest park in the world after Tumucumaque National Park in Brazil. Established in 1970 and listed as a World Heritage Site in 1984, the Salonga National Park is still the largest intact plain forest block in the Congo Basin and is accessible only by water or air.
In August 2015, WWF and ICCN signed a three-year co-management agreement for Salonga National Park and surroundings. The Salonga National Park benefits from the financial support of EU, USAID, KFW and NORAD and technical support from ISCO, OXFAM, WCS, MPI-LMU, ZSM.
As the Salonga Landscape provides both a vital ecological refuge for the park’s biodiversity and an important carbon sink recognized through the National REDD+ Strategy, activities in the park dually focus on scalable climate change goals and biodiversity goals, achievable through successful long-term park management and land-use planning.