The local communities and the indigenous groups feel it is important to maintain these traditional forest management practices. As Richard Miniota argues, ‘ICCN [the national conservation authority] can’t be everywhere. We need to set up a system of co-management between local communities and the authorities.’ This is a crucial aspect for the next steps of the Itombwe participatory process. The DRC national conservation law in its present form does not include co-management of protected areas. The outer limits will soon be defined and validated out of this unique participatory experience. The next step of integrating the communities in the protected area management will be a critical one: ‘We want community conservation. If you come with other forms of conservation, even recognized by the land tenure law, we will oppose. We will conserve as our ancestors used to conserve. The rights of local populations must be recognized and respected’, declares Richard Miniota.
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From collection: State of the Rainforest