currently invested in the Energy sector (June 2019)
The reduction of the dependence on wood energy was deemed a priority by the DRC President in a 2019 address to the General Assembly, and is an objective of the Letters of Intent of both the DRC and the Republic of Congo.
in the DRC
It is estimated that about two thirds of wood energy production in Central Africa comes from clearing for the development of agriculture, while the remaining third comes from selective wood harvesting dedicated to the production of wood energy. The production of wood energy is therefore closely linked to agricultural activities. Generally speaking, the consumption of wood for heating by rural populations is a lesser issue than transformation into charcoal to supply large urban centres.
The wood energy consumption profiles differ widely, however, between Central African countries, and even within a given country. In Gabon, the production of wood-energy does not represent a major cause of forest cover loss. By contrast, in DRC or Republic of Congo, population increase, the absence of alternative sources of energy, the low surfaces dedicated to plantations for wood-energy, the wide use of poor quality cookstoves in urban areas and weak carbonization yields all lead to forest degradation in areas supplying large urban centres.
Objective 2 of the Letter of Intent is to "develop and implement, in a participatory and transparent manner, an energy policy of sustainable management of wood energy and partial substitute to the latter". Milestones of the Letter of Intent call, for example, for a 10% increase in the use of improved coosktoves in Kinshasa and capitals of provinces with integrated programmes, and to the implementation of wood-energy projects (such as sustainable plantations and agro-forestry) to diversify supply away from natural forests.
To that effect, a sectoral programme was approved by the National REDD+ Fund Steering Commitee (FONARED) in November 2018 to significantly reduce the consumption of wood energy in the country. This will be done through :
Expected results include promoting the use of over 82,000 clean cooking solutions, reaching over 437,000 people (of which 60% of women) and see 250 000 households adopt liquefied gas as a primary or secondary source of cooking energy.
To complement this, CAFI / FONAREDD-funded provincial integrated programmes in 5 provinces will, over the next 5 years :
the National Forest Emission Reference Level estimates that wood energy is responsible for 0,3 MteqCO2/year between 2000 and 2012, although this estimate is conservative as it does not take into account wood collection before slash and burn.
One strategic axis of the National REDD+ Strategy is to rationalize the production and use of wood-energy, and promote alternative clean energy sources. In order to so, the National REDD+ Investment Plan seeks to establish plantations around large urban centres, increase energy efficiency for the carbonization and use of wood-energy, develop directives for domestic energy for main urban centres and increase and improve alternative energies, such as gas, hydro-electricity and solar energy.
The Letter of Intent with CAFI includes objectives to promote sustainable fuelwood and renewable energy, including through the development of forest plantations, and implement the energy sector policy by favoring sustainable alternatives to non-renewable fuelwood resources by involving stakeholders such as public and private sectors and civil society.
Specific milestones include