Optimal land use planning :

our results

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Land use planning is a necessary policy tool for a long-term vision of sustainable development. It allows for a more balanced distribution of activities and populations in space and time across territories. It is also an instrument for national cohesion, mitigating conflicting interests and competition over land and resources that have been major driving forces of forest conversion. And in a region where forests cover from 41 to 93 % of the countries, planning how land is used means planning for forests. Integrated land-use planning is carried out across sectors and levels of government, and involves the allocation of land for different uses across a landscape in a way that balances economic interests, social value and forest cover. 

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The question of land-use planning (LUP) underpins so many of the challenges encountered by Central African countries that CAFI dedicated its very first Annual (2018) Forum to land use planning as a tool for integrated, inclusive and sustainable development. The 2018 Forum clarified different countries' perspectives on land use planning: in DRC, LUP is deemed necessary to continue the decentralization process, regulate migration and plan the use of lands per sector. In Gabon, LUP is a tool to structure, regulate, and plan programmes on the long and medium term, with the objective to develop economic competitiveness at the regional and international level. In the Central African Republic, LUP could facilitate the management and prevention of conflicts regarding agricultural and pastoral lands, that contributed to the country's recent crisis. 

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In the DRC,  

the Letter of Intent sets an objective to "Develop and implement, in a participatory and transparent manner, a land-use policy that organizes and optimizes the use of land and forest resources by the various national economic sectors, in respect of rights recognized in the DRC legal system, to reduce its impact thereof on forests, reduce conflicts and ensure sustainable development at national and local level ".  

To that effect, a sectoral programme is being implemented thanks to CAFI funds with the objective to develop legal and regulatory tools to implement the land-use planning reform that captures sustainable and inclusive development ; strengthen the capacity of DRC institutions to conduct the needed multi-sector, multi-stakeholder consultations; and establish a national land use scheme, 6 methodological guides to develop LUP provincial schemes and local plans, and complete 2 provincial land use schemes in provinces with integrated programmes.  

This complements activities on the ground, where ongoing CAFI-funded provincial integrated programmes seek, over the next 5 years, to:  

  • develop micro-zoning of the land in 326 villages (former Equateur province)
  • support the finalization and application of:
    • 43 sustainable development plans (PDD) for decentralized entities (21 in Mai Ndombé, 22 in Sud Ubangui)
    • 275 simple management plans (175 in Sud Ubangui and 100 in Mai Ndombé) for local development committees (CLD)
  • increase by 75% the amount of public investments that follows land use plans (Equateur)

In Gabon,  

the National Investment Plan .

The Letter of Intent signed between CAFI and Gabon sets an objective to "Develop, adopt and implement, in a transparent and participatory manner, a national land use plan that organizes and optimizes the use of land and forest resources by the various national economic sectors to reduce the impact thereof on forests, reduce conflicts and promote sustainable development at national and local level. The plan will be based on the principles of :  

  • non-conversion of HCS/HCV forests,
  • limited and carbon-neutral conversion of non-HCS/HCV forest,
  • reduced area under logging concessions,
  • lower emissions from logging operations and rural activities, and
  • the respect of customary land tenure"
Specific targets (milestones) of the Letter of Intent related to land use planning include reports on progress on participatory land use planning, including on activities of the National Interministerial Commission and provincial commissions; summary of the consultations processes and under the grievance Mechanism of the National Land use Planning Commission. In addition, reports on the progress of mapping land use suitability for agriculture, mining, conservation, climate vulnerability and sustainable natural resource exploitation are expected.
 

The ongoing CAFI-funded programme, implemented by the French Development Agency (AFD), is finalizing a National Land Use Plan, developed through broad stakeholder and population consultations at the national, provincial and departmental level, that will

  • make it possible to allocate the territory to different uses in an optimal way, excluding as much as possible primary forests with high carbon stocks (HSC) and high conservation value (HVC).
  • provide better guidance to the possible expansion of agricultural activities, forestry, infrastructure development and mining activities, in order to directly and indirectly mitigate the drivers of current and future deforestation.
  • clarify land rights through the mapping of 750 villages (29% of all villages), an exercise that will be conducted throughout the territory.
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National Investment Plan plans for the elaboration, adoption and implementation of a National Land use Plan that will allow :

  • mapping of the current land uses
  • identify overlapping uses
  • analyse and elaborate scenarii and solutions to prevent potential conflicts
  • define regulatory texts to adjudicate on the compatibility of overlaps, and resolve conflicts if incompatible.  

In addition, a national LUP scheme that will identify areas for development in cross-border forests, special economic zones and industrial areas.   

To do so, strengthening intersectorial coordination will be improved through capacity development of both national and provincial institutions.   

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