The network of protected areas in the DRC covers about 11% of the national territory (260,000km2). It is made up of seven national parks, plus nature reserves, game reserves and other types of protected areas.

The DRC government has repeatedly expressed its wish to consolidate and expand protected areas to cover 17% of the national territory. The main threats this will address are:

  1. Unsustainable exploitation of natural resources
  2. Shortfalls in coordinated land-use planning
  3. Weak management capacity
  4. Increased pressures arising from the global demand for raw materials.

WWF’s strategic approach for managing protected areas will also help reduce poverty and contribute to national development goals.

© WWF/Julie Pudlowski
An extensive forest block in DR Congo.
© WWF/Julie Pudlowski
© Bruno Hugel
WWF promotes the use of energy-efficient stoves in Eastern DRC.
© Bruno Hugel

Objective and approach

The Support Programme to the Network of Protected Areas (PARAP) is a joint programme of ICCN and WWF.

The objective of the programme is to establish a network of protected areas representative of the rich biodiversity of the country. This will contribute to DRC's conservation and development objectives and honour its commitment to expand protected areas to 17% of the national territory.

The programme is structured around three key stages:

  • Assessing the current network of protected areas
  • Consolidating the network to ensure effective representation and protection of biodiversity
  • Planning the extension of the current protected area network

The programme gives special importance to building the management capacity of the ICCN, the official body in charge of protected areas in the DRC.

© WWF/Julie Pudlowski
Small-scale slash and burn agriculture on forest edge in Mai Ndombe region, DRC.
© WWF/Julie Pudlowski