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. This article describes the
detrimental impact of armed conflict on this biodiversity and the dangers posed
by the return of peace, which 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, and this article discusses methods to realize the value of
biodiversity in the DRC through the benefits of ecosystem services and income
generated from monetizing biodiversity. It concludes by arguing that 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.