GEF-BM-COMIFAC Project: Sharing of experience among COMIFAC Countries on REDD+ Pilot Projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo
As part of activities of the regional project for institutional capacity building for REDD+ (PREREDD+), funded by the Global Environment Fund (FEM) and implemented by COMIFAC, an exchange trip was organized in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 11 to 17 August 2013, in accordance with its action plan.
The experience sharing trip gathered 10 participants hailing from national REDD+ coordinating agencies in COMIFAC countries covered by the regional project, including: Cameroon, the DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic and Gabon. Also participating were regional CSOs involved in REDD+. Through this activity, the organizers sought to encourage the sharing of experience gathered in DRC with participants from COMIFAC countries concerned by the REDD+ regional project. It was specifically intended to promote an information exchange and sharing framework in order to stimulate countries’ to get better acquainted with this topic; to provide focal points with relevant information to help them in international negotiations and to help strengthen the capacities of experts in this domain.
Over 7 days of deliberations, activities included:
♦ A working session with: The DRC national REDD+ Coordinating body, the provincial Minister in charge of Agriculture, Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, Rural Development and the Environment, the promoters of the Mambasa and Isangi pilot projects, the CARG (Rural Agriculture Management Counsel).
Participants were expected to engage the authorities and tell them about the objectives of their mission in the DRC, as well as the expected outcomes. This exchange provided an opportunity to shed more light on the level of information of various local political actors for greater ownership of the project. Moreover, there was experience- sharing with project sponsors (success stories and challenges encountered during the implementation of the project) on the execution of these projects.
♦ Visits to high ranking officials of the Republic namely: the Secretary General of the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism (MECNT) and the Governor of the East Province.
For the participants, it was all about fulfilling their civil duty towards these authorities. The visit allowed the officials to inquire about the progress of pilot projects being implemented in their jurisdiction and thus contribute in their own way to the success of the mission,
♦ Field visits to communities and visit to the carbon stock evaluation device in Lilanda First of all, participants held discussions with members of the community. It was an opportunity to discuss the major concerns of the communities with regards to financial compensation for such activities, deemed inadequate by the community, as well as the deadlines set for completion of the activities. Such deadlines were deemed not to be realistic by the facilitators. In the Lilanda community, participants visited experimental plots for the carbon reserve assessment of where they learned about the methodology for selecting sites, developing the locations, methodology and equipment used to collect DBH and tree height.
At the end of this seven-day exchange tour, participants made some observations and recommendations.
Lessons learnt include:
♦ Low involvement and lack of ownership by local political authorities and communities that adversely impact on the success of projects.
♦ Poor communication and inadequate consultation of stakeholders in general, and of the populations in particular, affects understanding of the REDD+ mechanism and the implementation of these projects.
Recommendations include the following:
♦ Strategies should be developed to ensure greater involvement of and effective ownership by stakeholders. This is crucial for the successful implementation of the process and field projects.
♦ A communication and consultation strategy specific to every target should be developed,
♦ The roles and responsibilities of the various actors should be clearly defined by project promoters in the institutional development of project;
♦ International experts should be involved in the development of competence transfer strategies,
♦ Procedures for the implementation of activities should take into consideration donors’ administrative bottlenecks and project promoters should make sure they know the procedures and comply with them.
♦ A preliminary study should be carried out to identify stakeholders, relationships in each village and to bring together conflicting parties for them to learn how to work together. This will serve as a preventive approach intercommunity conflict management.
♦ The choice of financial management software should be compatible with international standards proposed by donors,
♦ Updated images should be used as satellite images for mapping and SIG.
These recommendations were formulated to conclude this exchange trip, which was replete with discoveries and experiences, and highly appreciated by participants who came from COMIFAC countries covered by the REDD+ regional project.
Please download also the final Communiqué of the third Steering Committee of the Project