CBD COP11: Conservation must shed colonial past and empower communities

Rio Conventions Pavilion TV, CBD COP11 (18/10/2012) – Dominique Bikaba, Executive Director of Strong Roots, discusses his work on grassroots, community-led conservation projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Bikaba stresses the importance of preserving the Democratic Republic of Congo’s one million square kilometres of tropical forest – comprising half of the tropical forests in Africa.

Bikaba affirms that many lives have been lost over the last 15 years of war in the DRC, limiting efforts to conserve the nation’s rich and unique biodiversity.

Bikaba describes the work of his organisation, Strong Roots, which attempts to integrate local and indigenous communities in the long term preservation of protected areas in the DRC. He says that gorillas are a particular focus of this work.

Bikaba explains that Strong Roots is putting more focus on policy work now that the government of the DRC has plans to expand the nation’s protected areas. He argues this is a good opportunity for the country’s conservation strategy to advance from its outdated colonial origins to become a way to empower communities.