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Biography of René NGONGO

Congo-Kinshasa > Science : René NGONGO

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Born on 20/10/1961 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

René Ngongo born October 20, 1961 is a Congolese biologist  first national from the Democratic Republic of Congo to win the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes known as the "alternative Nobel" for championing forest protection and social justice in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). .


Ngongo,  founded the influential "Organisation Concertee des Ecologistes et Amis de la Nature" (OCEAN) in 1996 to give a voice and infrastructure to Congolese civil society in its fight against forest destruction. A University of Kisangani graduate, he is a renowned ecologist, environmentalist and human rights campaigner. Ngongo is an expert on the impacts of environmental destruction in the Congo Forest Basin. He has also worked extensively with forest communities informing them of their rights with respect to both forest protection and environmental conservation.

"We need to protect the Congo Basin forests to ensure the livelihoods of future generations. Beyond that we also know that we need to save the forests to save the climate. The rich biodiversity our forests house might very well help us and our children adapt to a changing climate, which sadly is increasingly necessary. But, we will only manage to save the forests of the Congo Basin by working together locally, nationally and internationally - hopefully this award will help bring more attention to the issue.


He was born in the eastern city of Goma in 1961.Since 1994, Ngongo has campaigned to protect the rain forests in the central African country by promoting sustainable land use.
"The forests of the DR Congo and the Congo Basin, the planet's second 'lung', are a precious heritage that should be preserved," Ngongo has said, adding:
"It is a living environment, a grocery store, a pharmacy, a spiritual landmark for millions of forest communities and aboriginal people."
He founded the non-governmental organization OCEAN that grouped ecologists and offered outreach programmes throughout the vast country.
During the civil war 1996-2002 that ravaged the DRC, claimed millions of lives and involved armies of several neighbouring countries, Ngongo documented the exploitation of Congo's rich natural resources by the warring parties. This work was often done at great personal risk.

 Ngongo's collaboration with Greenpeace began in 2004 and he has worked for the international environmental organization since 2008. He was the obvious choice to oversee the opening of Greenpeace's first office in Kinshasa. Since then Ngongo has continued to challenge government and international organizations to ensure transparency for on going forest reforms.



Last update : 11/12/2010

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