Sustainable forest governance and investments : our results

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disbursed towards the forest sector (December 2019*)

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in DRC (8 provincial, 1 sectoral) and Gabon

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- DRC : a "Forest sector roadmap" endorsed by the Minister of Environment (December 2019)

- Gabon: a Presidential commitment on forest certification

Republic of Congo (LoI 2019): engagement to combat illegal logging and implement the VPA-FLEGT and its Legality Assurance System (LAS)


In the forest sector, CAFI support is directed at increasing the proportion of forests under sustainable forest management plans, decreasing illegalities  - including on contracting and permitting -, and enhancing transparency on permits, harvesting allowances and management plans. Supporting the development and completion of national forest monitoring systems (NFMS) is also essential. 

Across Central Africa, artisanal timber logging is a much larger cause of forest cover loss than industrial logging, which is not currently considered to be an important direct factor in deforestation in the region. Most industrial logging in the region involves low logging densities concentrated on a few high-value species. However, the concurrence of high population densities with the opening of logging roads promotes substantial local forest cover degradation.  


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In Gabon,  

In line with the country's vision and strategic development plans and the National Investment Framework, the Letter of Intent signed between CAFI and Gabon sets milestones related to forest monitoring and forest governance, such as :

  • the completion of a National Forest and Natural Resources Observation System (French acronym : SNORNF) to allow reporting to the UNFCCC, monitoring of economic activities on forests and of carbon neutrality of non HCS & non HCV forests,  and an alert system that triggers law enforcement actions
  • an ambitious plan to fight illegal logging, including through enforcement of the legal regulatory framework for forest management, timber exploitation and timber trade, and enhanced capacity (trainings and information systems) of the forestry administration
  • an increase in the surface areas under sustainable forest management, both in absolute terms and relative to the total concession areas
  • a reduction of the area under legal logging concessions from 17 million to 13 million hectares by 2025, combined with a target to reduce emissions per hectare in remaining logging concessions  

The CAFI-funded programme, implemented with support of the French Development Agency (AFD), is finalizing the SNORNF to ensure an efficient monitoring of the land use and land use change and forest sector.  The SNORF will allow near real-time monitoring of the national forest cover and detection of defoerstation events, coupled with a system to alert authorities in charge of control and foerst police. Using satellite images and drones, the SNORNF will map villages, allowing a monitoring of rural activities. On the ground, a national inventory will collect forest biomass, carbon and biodiversity data. these will, in turn, help refine definitions on High carbon stock and high conservation value in Gabon.  

In October 2019, the Government also started designing programmes on the certification of forest concessions and on the creation transboundary protected areas. 


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In the DRC,  

Objective 3 of the Letter of Intent is to develop and implement, in a participatory and transparent manner, a forest policy for sustainable management of forest resources by multiple stakeholders in the sector, including local and indigenous communities, with particular emphasis on forest law compliance, governance and various local and community management models

Major results - including two milestones of the 2016 Letter of Intent, as was demonstrated by an independent verification in 2019 - have been achieved with CAFI funding through the National REDD+ Fund (FONAREDD) and FAO support to finalize the National Forest Monitoring System, including  : 

In addition, ongoing CAFI /FONAREDD-funded provincial integrated programmes seek, across 7 provinces and over the next 5 years, to: 

  • establish approximately 200,000 hectares of community forestry
  • ensure that 50% of villages have individual titles registered (former Orientale province)
  • significantly strengthen the capacity of decentralized bodies 
  • help over 800 villages develop simple forest management plans  

Meanwhile, the Programme for the Sustainable Management of Forests, approved by the FONAREDD Steering Committee in December 2019, will  

  1. contribute to the elaboration of a strategy to strengthen the economic governance of the sector
  2. support the transparent and participatory elaboration of a Forest policy
  3. contribute to developing the forest/timber artisanal sector with legal practices
  4. support the sustainable management of forests by communities and territorial entities 
  5. ensure that the management of large forest concessions is performed in accordance to Congolese law
  6. strengthen the capacity of local forest and decentralized administration



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In the Republic of Congo,

unsustainable forestry (both legal and illegal) is estimated to be the main cause of emissions from the land use sector, having generated 12.9 million tons of CO2/ year over the 2000-2012 period and projected to generate 15.6 million tons CO2/year for the 2015-2020 period (not taking artisanal logging into account ).  Consequently, a strategic axis of the National REDD+ strategy is the sustainable management and valueing of forest resources.

The country's Investment Framework seeks to revise the Forest code, ensure that all logging concessions are sustainably managed and support a " sustainable management " certification process, support reduced impact logging, operationalize the FLEGT mechanism and develop the monitoring capacity of the Forestry administration, develop a strategy to normalize the artisanal sector, enhance knowledge on peatlands and strengthen its protected area network. 

The Letter of Intent signed in 2019 commits the Government to develop, adopt and implement a policy of sustainable management of forests and legal and low emission logging, through: 

  • adopting a legal framework aligned with the principles of sustainable development
  • efforts to improve forest governance by implementing and strengthening the application of the legal and regulatory framework, specifically monitoring legality, by implementing the VPA-FLEGT, its Legality Assurance System and, in particular, the Computerized Legality Verification System (CLVS), and continuing the efforts to develop management plans by Forest Management Units (FMU)
  • promotion of forestry methods with low impacts on ecosystems and carbon stocks
  • oversight of the artisanal sector to ensure the legality of operations and its economic and environmental sustainability
  • strengthening the protected areas network and its effective and efficient management
  • mapping and improved knowledge of the peatlands and their protection and sustainable management to prevent them from being drained or dried out
  • developing forest and agro-forestry plantations and restoration of degraded areas; and
  • developing the fuelwood sector particularly from forest plantations