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Energy Globe Award

With more than 170 participating countries and over 1500 project submissions annually the Energy Globe Award is today's most prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy or utilize renewable or emission-free sources. Award ceremonies are held all over the world. Prominent personalities as well as Energy Globe Ambassadors in 90 countries support the mission of Energy Globe. The activities of Energy Globe attract worldwide media attention - international TV stations report each year with approximately 1,000 hours of broadcasting time. The aim of the Energy Globe is to raise global attention on sustainable, everywhere applicable environmental solutions and to motivate people to also become active in this area.

National ENERGY GLOBE Award 2016

Submitted by: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-East DRC)
Sustainable charcoal

Virunga National Park was established in 1925 in Eastern DRC in the North Kivu province and is Africa’s oldest and most bio-diverse park. It spans 784,368 ha ranging from primary mountainous rain forest, gallery forest, savannah and volcanoes to a high mountain’s massif with the biggest glacier in Africa. It has the greatest variety of wildlife found anywhere in Africa, with more than 200 species of mammals including elephants, chimpanzees and gorillas. North Kivu is one of DRC’s most densely populated provinces, where more than 90% of the population rely on wood for their energy needs. The 1994 Rwandan genocide and the civil wars that have raged across the region since 1996 brought an influx of refugees and widespread migration from rural areas to urban centers, which caused huge environmental and socio-economic problems in the region. The growing population has meant a massive rise in demand for wood fuel, as access to electricity is very limited. As a result, the price of a bag of charcoal has quadrupled since 2001. A study from 2008 showed that 80% of charcoal sold in Goma was sourced from the national park. Outside the park, the area is almost completely deforested. The impact of the ever increasing demand for wood and charcoal is two-fold: Goma’s households are becoming progressively poorer as the price of wood and charcoal rises, and the deforestation rate in the park now stands at around 1%. This rate is considered very high as deforestation is strictly forbidden within the ViNP Park. Also, the rate far exceeds the average annual deforestation rate for the 2000-2010 periods, which was 0,13% worldwide and 0,23% for the Congo Basin. Large scale reforestation initiatives and charcoal production in collaboration with local communities are a relevant alternative to the use of park-forest resources, while contributing to local development. The objective of this project is to supply the major cities in the surroundings of the Virunga National Park with sustainable charcoal through the establishment of thousands of hectares of tree plantations and agro-forestry fields in collaboration with and on lands of mostly small-holders. It consists of reforestation activities, efficient and sustainable charcoal production, and structuring the farmers/planters into cooperatives for the commercialization of sustainable charcoal. Nearly 10,000 ha (8’840 ha of micro-forest plantations and 912 ha of agro-forestry fields) have been established since 2007. Therefore it is now possible to produce and market legal, sustainable, high-quality charcoal that is attractive to the cities' households and communities. The pressure on the national park forest resources due to the illegal harvest of trees for charcoal production has decreased by providing an alternative for the illegally sourced charcoal and by promoting the use of efficient wood stoves requiring up to 50% less charcoal.

Jury-Rating
Virunga National Park was established in 1925 in Eastern DRC in the North Kivu province and is Africa’s oldest and most bio-diverse park. The 1994 Rwandan genocide and the civil wars that have raged across the region since 1996 brought an influx of refugees and widespread migration from rural areas to urban centers, which caused huge environmental and socio-economic problems in the region. A study showed that 80% of charcoal sold in Goma was sourced from the national park. Outside the park, the area is almost completely deforested. This year's National Winner of the Energy Globe Award in the Democratic Republic of the Congo supplies cities in the surroundings of the national park with sustainable charcoal which provides an alternative to deforestation and decreased the pressure on the national park's forests. Congratulations to your initiative!