The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is endowed with an abundance of natural resources, and the presence of high-value resources such as coltan and diamonds is well known. The country is also endowed with a wealth of biodiversity, although the value of this is often overlooked.
The detrimental impact of armed conflict on this biodiversity and the dangers posed by the return of peace is likely to result in increased biodiversity exploitation. The resulting loss of key carbon-sinks crucial to the global fight against climate change will affect not only the DRC, but also the international community.
Biodiversity is therefore identified as a threat to security but also a valuable asset for development; however there are methods to realize the value of biodiversity in the DRC through the benefits of ecosystem services and income generated from monetizing biodiversity.
The false dichotomy of conservation and development as separate entities and objectives needs to change so that conservation becomes a central pillar of security and development work in the DRC and other regions of current or recent armed conflict around the world. Richard Milburn