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Developing Community Forestry in DRC

Developing Community Forestry in DRC On this page: Project Update | Project Summary | What is Community Forestry? | Project Activities | Project Development and Timescale | Project Partners | Further Information

Project Update (December 2011)

Phase 1 concluded
Phase 1 of the project is in the process of being closed and has reached a largely successful outcome. The final outputs of the project include:

  • A video series presenting community forestry to a largely uninformed audience of this potential model for forest management.
  • A Roadmap/policy document on community forests, including mapping methodologies and approaches, technical and community guides.
  • Draft Decree for the prime minister
  • Draft Arrêté for the Minister (MECNT)
  • A program of work for 5 years in the form of a proposal to the CBFF.
  • All produced with a large consensus through a national dialogue process.

    The results of the project have been:

  • Raising the profile of community forests in DRC
  • Creation of the Community Forest Division in the organisational diagram of the Ministry
  • Submission of the proposal by the Minister to the CBFF
  • Creating a large consensus around the drafts of the decree and arrêté on community forestry.

  • The most significant obstacle in completion of all the project outputs was the lack of signature from the government on the community forest decree and arrêté. However, due process has to be followed and this takes time. Once the legislation is passed the final project outputs will be harmonised with the texts and distributed.

    In the mean time, Forests Monitor continues to follow the progress of this legislation, the adoption of which is a condition of the CBFF financing of phase 2 of the programme.

    Forests Monitor remains ready for the re-engagement of activities, working together with MECNT and local partners in the next phase – implementation of community forestry in DRC.

    Project summary

    Forests Monitor is working to develop community forestry in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). An 18 month project is being implemented that will explore how to develop a community forestry sector that will contribute to the Congolese government’s priorities of poverty reduction and the sustainable management and conservation of the country’s forests. This will be achieved through working with local communities to investigate how they are currently using and managing forest resources, as well as their aspirations for the development of the forest sector. Further, the project will be working in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism to explore the legislative and institutional framework that will be needed to enable the development of community forestry within the country.GIS Training in Basankusu
    GIS Training in Basankusu

    What is community forestry?

    "Community forestry" can refer to a wide range of activities including extraction of timber and non-timber products and forest management for biodiversity conservation, carbon storage or for tourism. These activities may be undertaken by communities themselves, often involving the establishment of local management committees or through community-based enterprises. Alternatively management may be shared, for example through partnerships with forestry authorities, or outside enterprises may be contracted to undertake certain activities such as the extraction or processing of resources. Community forestry not only allows for the recognition of local communities’ rights but can be an effective means of reducing poverty and promoting sustainable management of forest resources. There is enormous potential for the development of community forestry in DRC, a country in which the majority of the population live in rural areas and in which there is a wealth of forest resources.

    Project activities

    The project will be working with communities in the provinces of Bas-Congo, Ituri and Equateur. In each of these sites Forests Monitor will work with local partners in order to build on their existing activities and expertise. Research will be undertaken into current land use practices and rights, the management and exploitation of forest resources and the status of forest enterprises and participation in markets. Local people’s development aspirations will be explored as well as any obstacles to the development of community forestry. This work will include training and capacity building for local communities, for example in mapping techniques to investigate local resource use, and the organisation of workshops and other forums to promote dialogue between local communities, civil society and government. In parallel with this work, research and analysis will be undertaken to develop a legal and institutional framework for community forestry, drawing on experiences from around the world. Findings from the three field sites will feed into this process, to ensure the development of options that are appropriate to Congo’s diverse social and environmental context. Ideas will be developed and discussed through a series of workshops for stakeholders, including policy makers and civil society.The Project Sites
    The Project Sites

    Project development and timescale

    This project was developed as part of a process to explore alternative options for the forestry sector in DRC. The proposal was presented and discussed at a Chatham House meeting on Sustainable Management and Financing of the Democratic Republic of Congo's Forests, held in June 2008 in Kinshasa.

    The project was originally intended to run until June 2010, also aims to develop a 15 year programme that would facilitate the widespread adoption of community forestry in DRC. After some delays in implementation and agreement with partners and the UK DFID - a project extension was agreed until December 2010. A further extension has been agreed to follow a number of key activities through to March 2011 though with a reduced staff.

    Project partners

    Our partners include:

  • MECNT - Ministère de l'Environnement, Conservation de la Nature et Tourisme / Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism
  • CEPECO - Centre pour la Promotion et l'Education des Communautés de base
  • CIRAD - Centre International de Recherche Agronomique/ International Centre for Agronomic Research and Development
  • Le Diocèse de Basankusu
  • IIED - International Institute for Environment and Development
  • RRI - Rights and Resources Initiative
  • RRN - Réseau Ressources Naturelles / Natural Resources Network
  • Further information

    Documents produced by this project, including reports from our meetings and dialogues, are available here.

    The project is funded by Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF) start-up resources, provided by the UK Department for International Development.

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      This page was last updated on the 14th December 2011

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