Democratic Republic of the Congo: Conflict - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:18 am on 8th December 2022.

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Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 11:18 am, 8th December 2022

The noble Baroness is right to highlight the importance of the DRC. As I said, it holds 60% of the Congo Basin. The Congo Basin as a whole provides anything up to two-thirds of the rainfall for Africa, so it is not just a climate issue. If it goes, so does the rainfall, and we are facing a humanitarian crisis on a scale that we have never had to consider, let alone deal with. This is therefore a priority, and that is reflected in what we agreed at COP.

We are relatively new to this issue in the DRC. We have done plenty of work around the world in relation to forests, but not so much in the DRC. We have secured a commitment of $1.7 billion from international donors, including the UK. That money is beginning to flow: $300 million so far has already landed on the ground. We have only just joined CAFI, the initiative that the noble Baroness mentioned. We will be chairing it as of March next year. I will be taking a very active role in CAFI, and we hope to use that vehicle to ensure that the delivery of the rest of that finance actually provides the results that we know we desperately need in that region.

Finally, the other countries in the Congo Basin are in a different place. The Republic of the Congo is doing remarkable things, keeping deforestation more or less stable; Gabon is too—a country I have spoken about many times in our debates. There is a particular problem with the DRC, which happens to contain the main area of forest. That is why our focus will be very much on the DRC.