80 million people live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but only 9% have access to electricity. Meanwhile, illegal logging for charcoal is decimating forests and impoverishing communities. ELAW partners in DRC are working hard to advance a national energy policy that meets this enormous need for power while protecting vital ecosystems.
ELAW partners Erick Kassongo, Executive Director of Congolese Center for Law and Sustainable Development (CODED) and Olivier Ndoole, Executive Director of Congolese Alert for the Environment and Human Rights (ACEDH), are learning about Congo’s current energy portfolio and exploring the promise of a green energy future.
They are collaborating with a dozen Congolese organizations, including the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations for the Monitoring of Reforms and Public Action (CORAP), to build a Congolese-led vision for energy access.
At a December workshop in North Kivu Province, Olivier brought together dozens of stakeholders to explore how hydro, solar, wind, and biogas could meet Congo’s electricity gap. This series of consultations in North Kivu is making community voices heard as critical decisions are being made about meeting energy needs in Congo. Erick provided technical assistance at these forums.
“Our aim is to influence energy policy at the national level,” says Olivier. “We want a policy that protects the environment, respects human rights, and puts concerns of local communities at the center.”
Olivier supports a local private operator’s solar hybrid project in Goma that aims to serve 5 million people by 2024. He also promotes the use of clean cooking based on renewable energy among women in vulnerable neighborhoods in Goma.
Meanwhile, ELAW is working closely with Erick Kassongo and his colleagues at CODED to study energy laws from other jurisdictions to craft best practices for Congo. “This is an effort to identify options for a strong legal framework for renewable energy, which currently does not exist,” says Erick. He adds that the sector has grown since liberalization and opening to private operators.
Many thanks to The 11th Hour Project for making this vital work possible.
We will keep you informed of our progress.
For more information, please see:
YouTube. January 29, 2022 – 13 min.
Provincial consultations on energy policy and access to energy for all in North Kivu
Africa Law Associate
Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide