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 allocated and 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.
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.
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 ".
Towards that objective, CAFI is funding a sectoral programme that seeks 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. Having achieved strong inter-sectoral engagement, this programme, supported by UNDP, has initiated a diagnosis on the national and provincial land use scheme.
In addition, CAFI-funded provincial integrated programmes seek, over the next 5 years, to:
The Letter of Intent signed between CAFI and Gabon, based on its Investment plan, 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 :
The ongoing CAFI-funded programme will finalize the National Land Use Plan, developed through broad stakeholder and population consultations at the national, provincial and departmental level. This plan will
National Investment Plan seeks to elaborate, adop and implement a National Land use Plan that will :
In addition, a National LUP Scheme 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.