October 6, 2021
Dr. Jonathan Pershing, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate visited Kinshasa October 4-5 to discuss the United States’ and the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s common interest in addressing the climate crisis and promoting sustainable development. His visit also underscored the importance of the U.S.-DRC Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, which recently added Preservation of the Environment as an additional key pillar of focus under the Biden Administration.
During a meeting with President Felix Tshisekedi, the President and Deputy Special Envoy Pershing discussed the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) and ways the U.S. and DRC can cooperate to raise global ambition and protect critical ecosystems like the Earth’s second largest rainforest, the Congo Basin, to address the climate crisis. The United States particularly appreciates President Tshisekedi’s leadership and commitment, including as Chair of the African Union, to present the DRC and Africa as part of the solution to this global challenge.
Coming days after Vice Prime Minister of the Environment Bazaiba’s meeting with Special Envoy John Kerry in Milan, Pershing met with VPM Bazaiba to follow up and discuss progress towards the design and implementation of a Forest Policy that covers land use, management of logging concessions and forest product, and integrates climate change. Pershing also met with Minister of Land Use Planning Guy Loando Mboyo to discuss climate adaptation and land management, with the Chair of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice Tosi Mpanu Mpanu to discuss preparations for COP26 as well as with private sector leaders.
Pershing highlighted the urgency of the problem and the opportunity for the DRC in the solution, saying:
“Most critically, we must act now to combat the climate crisis. There is no time to delay. Rapid, sustained and deep cuts in global emissions in this next, critical decade will be required to minimize future catastrophic global warming The DRC can most definitely be part of the solution and merits the support of the international community,” Pershing further explained,“My visits in Africa are in no small measure a listening tour, a question of eliciting from our partners: How can we develop next steps that are serving the needs and the opportunities that our partners identify? We are striving for cooperation that advances our mutual objectives and promotes solutions to address climate change.”
Regarding his visit, Special Envoy Pershing in particular emphasized the importance of the Congo Basin forest, stating that “Through effective management of the vast resources of the world’s ‘second lung,’ the DRC can show all nations that it is possible to create climate change solutions while prioritizing the economic development of communities who live in these precious and biodiverse rainforests. ” He also noted the potential for environmentally sound extraction of the critical and strategic minerals so essential to power the new, global renewable energy economy and further propel development in the country.
The United States looks forward to expanding our work together to enable the DRC to manage its precious resources while delivering results for the Congolese people that enable it to reach its true economic and social and environmental potential.