The Republic of Congo experienced repeated outbreaks of armed conflicts between militiamen affiliated to three main political factions, which affected the socioeconomic fabrics of the Congolese society until late 2000. This paper examines the socioeconomic and environmental impact of interactions between the local population and forcibly displaced people from an environmental sustainability perspective.

The findings hold that the impact of repeated political violence and associated livelihoods insecurity escalated resentment towards refugees regarded by some members of the local population as scroungers, despite their visible contribution toward innovative community projects. It is also shown here that although refugees’ livelihoods initiatives were environmentally sustainable, institutional disregard and misrepresentations enhanced misleading interpretations and subjectivities. It is proposed therefore that environmental sustainability is one of the key ingredients in refugee−host relations.