Democratic Republic of Congo is pivotal in the global fight against climate change as it contributes to meeting demand for critical minerals needed for green transition and has one of largest carbon sinks helping regulate the Earth’s temperature

January 25, 2024 – Kinshasa

IMPACT is launching a new project today to support local populations in Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) artisanal mining communities driving the transition to a low carbon future protect their forests and adapt to climate change.

The Powering Resilience project aims increase the resilience of DRC’s communities vulnerable to the impacts of mining, particularly critical minerals such as cobalt, which are vital for the green transition. The project will enhance the capacity of communities to restore and safeguard their ecosystems. It will center women’s leadership and promote Indigenous knowledge as part of efforts to support communities to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

The project’s launch today in Kinshasa, brought together the environmental and mining governance authorities, the technical services of the environment sector and mining administration, international donors, and civil society. Stakeholders discussed the linkages between the mining sector and climate change—and ultimately how creating a healthier environment will contribute to sustainable economic development.  

“Democratic Republic of Congo is key in the global fight against climate change—from its abundant reserves of critical minerals needed for the green transition to its wealth of forests that contribute to carbon stock (CO2) and help to regulate global warming. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that as mining expands—local ecosystems such as plants, waterways, and whole forests are disrupted or destroyed,” said IMPACT’s Executive Director, Joanne Lebert.

Almost 70 percent of DRC’s land is covered by forests—around 152 million hectares. It is estimated that the countries deforestation levels are rising each year, with more than half a million hectares lost in 2022 alone. This accounts for 13 percent of all global deforestation that year—and puts DRC in second place behind Brazil for the number of trees felled.

The Powering Resilience project will strengthen the knowledge and technical capacity of local communities to implement actions to restore and protect degraded forests, as well as create new economic opportunities from their ecosystem to replace those currently threatened by climate change. In addition, the project will strengthen community governance mechanisms, giving voice to local interests within ecosystem management, centering women’s leadership and Indigenous knowledge.

In northeastern DRC, the project will work with communities in Ituri and Tshopo provinces. This region is part of the Congo Basin tropical forest—the second largest in the world after the Amazon. More than a quarter of the forest risks disappearing by 2050 if deforestation persists at current levels and all of DRC’s primary forests could be razed by 2100.

In southeastern DRC, the project will work with communities in Lualaba and Haut Katanga provinces, part of the Miombo woodlands, defined by dry forest and savannah. In this region, the environment has already seen significant ecosystem degradation and deforestation after decades of mining, with the area dry, dusty, and not many trees.

“DRC is already facing the adverse effects of climate change such as heavy rainfalls, droughts, and rising temperatures which increase food insecurity among households. By supporting artisanal mining communities with actions to safeguard their environment, they will be better prepared to withstand the shocks of climate change,” added Lebert.

IMPACT is implementing the project in partnership with local DRC civil society partners:

  • Action pour le Développement et la Gestion des Ressources Naturelles (ADGRN)
  • Protection des Ecorégions de Miombo au Congo (PREMI-Congo)
  • Organisation Congolaise des Ecologistes et Amis de la Nature (OCEAN)
  • Programme d’Appui aux Populations forestières en République Démocratique du Congo Les Pygmées Aussi (PAP-RDC)
  • Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral (SOFEPADI)
  • Tropenbos DRC

The four-year project is funded by Sweden.


IMPACT transforms how natural resources are managed in areas where security and human rights are at risk. We investigate and develop approaches for natural resources to improve security, development, and equality. We are an independent non-profit, collaborating with local partners for lasting change.