The Esperanza, the largest ship in the Greenpeace fleet is currently in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of its tour of the coasts of Central African countries with a message: “Give the Congo Basin forest a chance”. It is also the slogan of the ship tour that began in Cameroon on October 13 and will end in the Republic of Congo on November10.
The Esperanza docked on Tuesday, 24 October at the port of Boma, in the Kongo Central province, traveled the waters of the Congo River to anchor at the port of Matadi for ten days. It left the DRC on 4 November for Pointe-Noire, in the Republic of Congo.
During its stay in Matadi, the ship served as a venue for various mobilisation activities aimed at the protection of the Congo Basin forest. Decision makers, donors, civil society organisations and local communities came together on a platform to discuss a new approach to forest management that should benefit forests, communities and the climate all around the world.
The Congo Basin is the second largest forest in the world after the Amazon. It faces several environmental challenges especially industrial logging and industrial agriculture which both have negative impacts on these forests. Local communities and indigenous peoples are also affected as their livelihoods are often destroyed.
By visiting these three countries of Central Africa, the ship tour will seek to establish that economic, social and environmental justice are intrinsically linked and public and political engagement are critical to its attainment. Also, the empowerment of people and the amplification of marginalised voices are prerequisites for the establishment of an environmental justice in Africa and for the protection of global climate.
“With the Esperanza, we want to showcase the rich biodiversity of the Congo Basin forest and the communities that depend on it. It is important to partner with local communities in forest management in order to protect our climate and safeguard the Congo Basin forest and its recently discovered peatlands” said Irene Wabiwa, Greenpeace Africa Senior Forest Manager.