The Congo Basin provides livelihoods for 40 million people who depend on the forest, directly or indirectly. Preserving and sustainably managing forest areas is necessary to secure and improve their livelihoods. Among forest-dependent communities, indigenous peoples (IPs) are the most vulnerable. The indigenous population in the DRC is estimated at between 600,000 and 700,000 (about 1 percent of the population) living in the provinces of Equateur, Bandundu, Kivu, Province Orientale, Katanga, and Kasaï. Traditionally, these people have depended heavily on forest resources for food, shelter and health care. However, they remain among the country’s poorest and most marginalized citizens.

The Programme on Sustainable forest management by Indigenous people aims to build the capacity of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) to participate in REDD+-related land and forest management activities.

The programme engages with non-state actors and communities on sustainable natural resource management. Representation of IPLC leaders is strengthened to improve their influence in the developing sectoral policies, land-use planning and sustainable management of the lands that concern them to capitalize on their agro-forestry expertise. Sustainable land and forestry management are enabled through community organizations’ micro-projects on agro-forestry activities, and implemented in accordance with IPLC traditions. 

National partners:

This programme is part of the portfolio of the DRC's National REDD+ Fund, and is led by Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Land Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of Agriculture.

Implementing agency:

World Bank


Caritas Congo


All financial information for this programme may be found on the MPTF Gateway here


dollars approved in 2017


dollars transferred by 2022


dollars spent by 31 Dec 2022


indigenous people and local community leaders trained


micro-project sheets developed and validated


people trained

Expected impacts

Like all programs financed by CAFI through the National REDD+ Fund, this programme contributes to reducing both deforestation and forest degradation by strengthening indigenous peoples’ sustainable forest management, improving their living conditions and enhancing social cohesion. It will also contribute to improving food security and strengthening social networks that will support their aspirations.


  • Strengthen Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities’ technical capacities to conduct micro projects for sustainable natural resource management; and,
  • Improve representation of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities’ technical capacities in local and national institutions and consolidate their expertise through sustainable forest and land management. This will be achieved by: 
    • taking IPs’ concerns into account, both politically and legislatively; 
    • revising the forestry code and forest policy with participation by indigenous peoples and taking their rights into account; and,
    • ensuring that IPs are represented on all land management multi-stakeholder consultation platforms (Conseil Agricole Rural de Gestion, CARGs).

Results as of June 30, 2021

Making the voice heard on the legal framework

  • The Network of Indigenous Peoples and Local Population for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in  the DRC (in French, REPALEF) is functional at the national, provincial and local levels. Representatives of REPALEF participate in meetings on land tenure and land use reforms. 
  • An act of commitment by traditional chiefs on the land and forestry reform process has been elaborated and made public. 35 traditional chiefs of the Bikoro territory have been sensitized and informed on the state of the land tenure and land management.
  • A law to promote and protect the rights of indigenous Pygmy peoples has been adopted in the National Assembly and declared admissible in the Senate, following the implementation of an advocacy plan and with the support of 15 indigenous and community leaders.


  • The Special Grant Mechanism that identifies micro-projects and provides grants to  Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) is operational.
  • 204 people have been trained for development, implementation and monitoring-evaluation of micro-projects.
  • Of the 17 developed and validated micro-projects, six have been implemented (Bikoro, Kalehe and Walikale territories). 7,560 beneficiaries have been identified in a participatory manner. 
  • Three local monitoring committees have been set up in the territories of Kiri, Inongo and Oshwe.

Forestry concessions

  • A socio-economic study onIndigenous Peoples' forest concession in Mweka has been completed.
  • A perpetual title for the forest concession in local Penzua Bolomni communities, in the Pendjwa Sector, Kiri Territory inMaï-Ndombe Province has been obtained, covering an area of 40,500 hectares.

Technical capacity building

  • 76 literacy centers are operational and have provided literacy training to 4,750 indigenous people and local adult communities (70% women). 
  • 98 people have benefited from the training on para-legal and para-sociological land issues in the territories of Kiri, Yauma, Lusambo and Bikoro.
  • 40 provincial experts have been trained on good governance of land tenure and management of indigenous peoples' space in Bikoro.
  • 250 people, including 38 women and 125 indigenous peoples, have been  trained on techniques to plant and maintain fruit trees. 
  • 1127 people have been  sensitized on forest conservation through the use of ecological agriculture.
  • 90 persons from Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities have been trained on soil treatment techniques.
  • 149 leaders, including 85 from indigenous peoples, were sensitized on community work in villages.

Areas of intervention

The areas of the 11 provinces where IPs live, particularly the PIREDD project territories: Kiri, Oshwe and Inongo (Mai Ndombe Province) Opala, Banalia, Bafwasende, Yahuma (Tshopo), Mambasa (Ituri), Lupatapata, Lusambo, Lubefu, Lubao, Kabinda, Dimbelenge, Mweka, Dekese, Bikoro (Ecuador), Walikale and Kalehe (North Kivu).


The programme works in collaboration with CAFI's sectoral programmes - land tenureland use planning, governance, civil society support and sustainable forest management - to ensure that IP leaders are represented in governance structures and activities. In addition, this programme is supporting ex-Oriental PIREDDs and the Mai Ndombe province to enhance communication with IPs.

The programme targets activities to achieve the milestones related to the objectives on forestry (Milestone 2018 A and B), land (Milestone 2020) and governance (Milestone 2018 B) of the 2016 Letter of Intent signed between the DRC and CAFI. Two independent verifications of these milestones were undertaken (please read the report available here).

Key Resources

Prodoc: Sustainable management of forests by Indigenous Peoples

Prodoc: Sustainable management of forests by Indigenous Peoples, 31 Dec 2016

31 Dec 2016

Annual Report 2020 - Indigenous People - DRC (in French)

Annual Report 2020 - Indigenous People - DRC (in French), 5 May 2021

5 May 2021

Link to CAFI Drive - Sustainable Forest Management by Indigenous People

Link to CAFI Drive - Sustainable Forest Management by Indigenous People, 26 Feb 2021

26 Feb 2021


Photocredit: Bruno Hugel