The US and the Democratic Republic of Congo have established a working group to protect rainforests and peatlands, just weeks after Kinshasa unveiled an oil and gas licensing round covering 30 blocks, some in highly sensitive ecosystems.

During an official visit to huge Central African country this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and DR Congo Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula conveyed news of the plan to form a group to assess how best to conserve the Congolese ecosystems.