I am delighted to join you from Washington, D.C. for this event to mark the approval of terms of reference for the United States and Democratic Republic of the Congo Bilateral Sustainable Development Solutions Working Group.
We appreciate your commitment to avoiding the worst effects of climate change, and we welcome President Tshisekedi’s vision of the DRC as a country that conserves and protects the Congo Basin Rainforest. We also recognize President Tshisekedi’s desire to deliver socioeconomic development and prosperity to the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Now more than ever we need to work together on sustainable development solutions that support both people and the planet.
The United States and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have a longstanding relationship, built on a shared commitment to advancing regional security and supporting environmental conservation.
Today, our joint efforts to tackle the climate crisis have led to the approval of terms of reference for a Bilateral Sustainable Development Solutions Working Group. The working group commits us to identify and support sustainable development opportunities in the DRC and the conservation of vital ecosystems.
I look forward to leading the working group with Vice Prime Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development Ève Bazaiba.
Recognizing the DRC’s interest in expanding opportunities for sustainable economic development, the working group will support DRC efforts to assess the environmental and social impacts of oil and gas exploration. This will help achieve the DRC’s stated objective of ensuring that critical ecosystems are not damaged by potential extractive activities. The United States supports the DRC’s intentions to ensure that any action follows domestic laws and international best practices and that they incorporate public input.
The working group intends to explore opportunities to grow the DRC economy both sustainably and inclusively. The group will examine areas such as energy access, including renewable energy and clean cookstoves. We will review forest conservation and management, agroforestry, agriculture, carbon markets, food systems and eco-tourism. Finally, we will help the DRC to mobilize support for development projects from a range of partners, including the private sector.
This working group builds on the strong relationship between our two nations, and with the shared objectives of empowering the DRC on climate solutions.
Thank you and congratulations for taking this important step.