Optimal land use planning :

our results

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invested in land use planning (as of June 2019)



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All CAFI partner countries have made land use planning a key component of their National Investment Plan. In DRC, the new land use planning policy was validated in January 2020.



new Land use planning


in DRC and Gabon



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 first (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 levels. 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 ". 

Towards that objective, CAFI is funding through the National REDD+ Fund (FONAREDD) 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, six methodological guides to develop LUP provincial schemes and local plans, and complete two provincial land use schemes in provinces with integrated programmes. Having achieved strong inter-sectoral engagement, this programme, supported by UNDP, performed diagnosis studies on the national and provincial land use schemes, and catalyzed the national validation of the new land use planning policy in January 2020 by the Minister of Land Use Planning, provincial governors and the presidents of the land use planning commissions of the Senate and National Assembly. 

In addition, CAFI /FONAREDD-funded provincial integrated programmes seek, over the next 5 years, to:  

  • develop micro-zoning of the land in 326 villages (ex-Orientale 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 (ex-Orientale)




In Gabon,  

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 :  

  • 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 will finalize the National Land Use Plan, developed through broad stakeholder and population consultations at the national, provincial and departmental level. This plan 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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The Republic of Congo's

National Investment Plan seeks to elaborate, adopt and implement a National Land use Plan that will :

  • allow mapping of 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 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.

In the Letter of Intent, the Government of Congo and CAFI express their intention to achieve eight objectives in the areas of land use planning, land tenure, environmental and social controls on activities affecting the forest cover, agricultural development, forest governance and sustainable forest management, governance of mining, hydrocarbon and infrastructure sectors, sustainable fuelwood and renewable energy, as well as governance, coordination and financing.

More specifically, the first objective of the LOI aims to develop, adopt and implement a national land use plan (PNAT), a national territorial development plan (SNAT) and departmental land use plans (SDAT) that organize and optimize the use of land by the various national economic sectors. The national land use plan will depend, in particular, on the establishment of a Permanent Forest Estate and on the principles of non-conversion of HCS/HCV forests, of protection and sustainable management of peatlands to ensure that they are not drained or dried out, of limited, carbon-neutral conversion of non-HCS/HCV forests, of compensation for biodiversity and carbon losses and of respect for customary land rights and will make it possible to resolve and prevent land use conflicts.

Nine milestones were define to monitor progress towards achieving the above mentioned objective.

1.1 The SNAT is revised and the PNAT and the SDATs are developed, validated and implemented using a participatory approach.

1.2 The FMU, the protected areas and community forests are classified under the permanent forest estate, in accordance with current regulation and the principle of free, informed and prior consent of the populations affected by the proposed classification.

1.3 Special legal status is assigned to peatlands (spread across the departments of Likouala, Sangha, Cuvette and Plateaux) so that they can be protected and managed sustainably, not to be drained or dried up.

1.4 The legal framework (intersectoral and sectoral codes) for granting permits and resolving conflicts over overlapping “land use contracts” in rural areas is revised, standardized and adopted. It ensures the non-conversion and sustainable management of HCS and HVC forests, as well as the limited, carbon-neutral conversion and sustainable management of non-HCS and HVC forest areas; the absence of conflicts from titles overlapping other titles, the forests of the permanent forest estate and “land use contracts;” and, acknowledgment of and respect for customary and modern land rights.

1.5 HCS and HCV forests are defined and identified, in accordance with national specifities and in line with the emerging international consensus and best practices in defining low-emission development, and a legal framework is adopted to ensure their protection and sustainable management.

1.6 A long-term cap on the carbon-neutral conversion of non-HCS/HCV forests to other uses (and, exceptionally, HCS/HCV forests as noted in Point 1.a.iv) is established, on the basis of a temporary annual conversion cap of 20,000 hectares as of 2019.

1.7 As of 2020, new land use allocations, all sectors combined, are made transparently and collaborately, with prior control of uses to avoid incompatible overlapping uses in rural areas.

1.8 A national mapping of all of the "land use contracts" (registry) is produced and updated annually and provided to the public. This mapping will ultimately take into account the customary territories that overlap the private and public estates. 

1.9 Consultations frameworks involving the private sector, civil society, key ministerial sectors and the Ministry of land use planning are set up to resolve the conflicts identified. This step will include, in particular, setting up at least two pilot consultation frameworks to address one/several cases of conflicting overlapping permits (mining and FMU).

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