Esombo “Flory” Botamba is WWF’s REDD+ Project Manager in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He currently manages one of WWF’s most successful REDD+ initiatives to date, the Mai Ndombe project in DRC’s Bandundu Province. This project covers more than 30,000 square kilometers and is part of a WWF Forest and Climate Initiative programme funded by the Government of Norway through a grant administered by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).
He has played an important role in bringing REDD+ and climate change awareness to the DRC. As part of this, Botamba has designed and carried out REDD+ training initiatives and has supported the development of the DRC’s national REDD+ strategy.
A national of the DRC, Botamba spent many years working on related issue before helping to drive REDD+ efforts in the country. After more than a decade of studies in Belgium and the U.S., his career began working to conserve one the DRC’s most threatened wildlife species, the bonobo. At Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia (U.S.), he served as a research assistant with the university’s Bonobo Language Acquisition Program. Upon his return to the DRC, Botamba continued his efforts as chairman of the Great Apes of Congo Center (GACC), where for ten years he spearheaded awareness campaigns on great ape conservation, responsible fishing, participatory mapping and capacity building of civil society organizations (CSOs).
He then went on to expand his conservation work as Deputy Country Director for the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), where he helped the Maringa – Lopori – Wamba (MLW) region to be recognized by the DRC government as the first official pilot site for land use planning and zoning activities.
Botamba has now taken his efforts to the international arena. In December 2011, he participated in several official side events at the UNFCCC COP17 in Durban, South Africa, ensuring that WWF’s REDD+ initiatives and the DRC’s REDD+ readiness efforts were recognized by global policy makers.
When not working in his Kinshasa office, he can often be found interacting with the local communities of remote Mai Ndombe. He can be reached at: FBotamba@wwfcarpo.org