Charcoal in the Mist: an overview of environmental security issues and initiatives in the Central Albertine Rift

This report, "Charcoal in the Mist", describes the environmental security situation and the role of resources in one of the world's most important ecosystems, the Central Albertine Rift. This transboundary eco-region is important not only in terms of its great biodiversity, with many endemic species of birds and mammals, but also in terms of politics and security. As the source of the Nile River, the region is of great interest to other riparian states. Moreover, violent conflicts in the region, to a significant extent related to valuable mineral and natural resources, have (had) a major destabilising effect on states and communities in the wider Great Lakes region.

The report shows how insecurity, an ill-disciplined national Congolese army, high and rising population densities and increasing food and energy needs have resulted in a continuously growing demand for land and firewood, as well as an increasingly attractive charcoal industry in the DR Congo. The resulting environmental effects, such as forest degradation, wildlife poaching, soil erosion, overfishing and water pollution, pose great dangers to the survival of man and nature in this region.

After the analysis of these environmental security threats, this report tries to give an overview of current activities by many (inter)national organisations, in the field of mapping and monitoring, diplomacy and law, nature conservation, finance and economics, empowerment and training and eco-tourism.

Further, by making specific recommendations on "the way forward", this report aims to inspire people and organisations, in order to strengthen environmental protection, enhance security and promote sustainable development in the Central Albertine Rift.

Publication website ( PDF - )

Author(s)Eric van de Giessen
PublisherInstitute for Environmental Security
Place publishedThe Hague
Date / Journal Vol No.May 2008


Related Organisation



1 - ES and foreign and security policy (Mainstreaming environmental factors into foreign and security policy including energy and food security, and security related to other resources such as land, water, living marine resources, terrestrial biodiversity)
2 - ES and development cooperation (Mainstreaming conflict prevention and livelihood protection into development cooperation especially in conflict prone and conflict affected countries, for example, through payment of ecological services and equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms)
3 - ES and peace building (Environmental cooperation for peace building such as through peace parks, river basin management initiatives and cooperation over degraded and environmentally-stressed resources in conflict-prone and conflict-affected zones)
4 - ES monitoring, mapping and early warning 
5 - ES risk and needs assessment and management 


AID Aid / Development Assistance
BEN Bio-energy
CDM Clean Development Mechanism
ENE Energy
FOR Forests
NAT Nature Conservation / Protected Areas
NTR Natural Resources
PEP Peace Parks
POV Poverty
RUR Rural Development
WLD Wildlife

Scope Areas

Africa Great Lakes 
Democratic Republic of Congo