The role of land use planning in Central Africa - CBFP

Please download the following PDF Documents:

Report: The role of land use planning in Central Africa

 

Policy Brief: Land use planning in Central Africa - 30 years of progress and emerging lessons learned The role of land use planning in Central Africa

The Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) Roadmap for 2020-21 identified several key topics that the German Facilitation intends to emphasize together with the whole Partnership. Among these is “sustainable land use”. The roadmap sets out to encourage discussions towards a longer-term objective: to move towards regulative harmonization and minimum standards within the region for the sustainable optimization of all natural resource and land use as a means of supporting conservation, biodiversity, sustainable management and, above all, the economic development of the populations of Central Africa. This brief addresses this objective.

 

The Congo Basin (CB) countries have fast-growing populations with increasing domestic social and economic development needs that must be met to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). National development visions and strategies lay out ambitious plans to meet these needs, and at the same time to supply, and benefit from, global commodity markets. Commercial forestry, industrial agriculture, extractive industries (oil, gas, mining) and infrastructural expansion compete with small- to medium-scale agriculture for rural land. Economic growth depends on investment in transport and energy infrastructure to power homes, process goods, and improve regional integration and market access.

 

All these require more land – and in the CB, much of this land is forested. These forests are not only home to local people, but also harbour globally valuable biodiversity and vast reservoirs of carbon. Reducing forest loss is crucial in efforts to minimize climate change. The CB forests are naturally dynamic – expanding and contracting with long-term climate cycles. It is projected that their extent will shrink rapidly with predicted climate change. Economic development will inevitably accelerate forest loss. The questions are therefore not if, but where forests must be cleared for essential development; where forests should be maintained, or planted, and to what extent; who gains and loses from clearing forests versus maintaining them; and how benefits and costs will be distributed.

 

Land use planning (LUP) and Land Use Plans (LUPs) have been heralded by CB Governments, development partners, civil society, and the private sector alike as an essential foundation for better land governance, more coherent and sustainable rural development planning and reconciling competing interests in land in fast growing CB economies. However, stakeholders do not yet have a common understanding of the very concept of LUP, its purpose, scope or good practice – each having their own expectations and prioritising different outcomes.

 

CB governments and ministries responsible for planning typically perceive LUP as a tool for informing the better distribution of transport and energy infrastructure as well as social services to enhance regional integration; for improving access to markets; and for accelerating and balancing socio-economic development. Meanwhile, rural-sector stakeholders (ministries of forestry, environment and agriculture, donors, NGOs, private sector) hail LUPs as tools to plan for more coherent and sustainable rural development; to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in the context of REDD+; to develop voluntary carbon market projects; to pave the way for deforestation-free supply chains or payments for environmental services (PES); and to help meet Nationally Determined Contributions to the UNFCCC. While these different understandings can be reconciled, much work remains to be done to reach a common understanding of the purpose, process, and good practices of LUP at national, regional and local levels to achieve mutually desired outcomes – including how they can improve outcomes for forests.

 

Conclusions and outlook: Adapted local LUP processes can serve as a foundation for securing tenure, reducing social conflicts between external and local actors, or even within forest adjacent communities meeting the SDGs, implementing REDD+ and operationalizing the many commitments to zero deforestation commodity production.

 

Due to actual or potential land use conflicts between sectors and users, LUP as a mechanism to address both sustainable development and climate change is first and foremost a political process and not just a technical one. A highest priority is therefore to create a formal space for dialogue about the purpose and importance of integrated LUP, in which relevant stakeholders are present and understand their role in a fully inclusive process.

 

A next priority is to clarify how the different LUP instruments (national, regional, and local) will be aligned horizontally between sectors, and vertically between national, regional, and local decision-making bodies in the context of ongoing decentralization. This alignment must be constructed simultaneously with the completion of the legal framework and the preparation of the LUPs in a pragmatic and iterative approach. Practice and lessons learned will inform LUP policy.

 

Preparing LUPs requires a carefully orchestrated mix of participatory processes, technical tools, communication, and negotiations towards agreements on the future direction of integrated development, informed by global and national policies and mechanisms. Integrating the logic of international climate and biodiversity agendas into local planning is becoming essential to trigger new funding opportunities.

 

To succeed, LUP must describe not only the future allocation of land, but also clarify land and tree tenure; establish new land and resource governance institutions and mechanisms that ad-dress historical deficiencies (on the side of both the state and traditional authorities); describe the necessary investments to intensify agricultural production; and define performance-based incentives for forest conservation, sustainable commodity production; and how such incentives will be paid, and shared. An LUP that aims to deliver on all these goals is ambitious indeed. But without such ambition, many of the global commitments to meeting the SDGs, eliminating deforestation from commodity supply chains, and tackling climate change will not be met.

 

Such complexity appears necessary to address the multiple land use and land governance challenges faced in rural areas of the Congo Basin and to harness new opportunities. LUP should be presented as a unifying process that allows many objectives to be achieved simultaneously. If tackled separately, these initiatives might well be counter-productive and will certainly be even more confusing to all stakeholders, especially local communities.

 

However, this complexity also increases the risk of failure – both during the preparation of LUPs, and during their implementation. LUPs that integrate all these factors will likely not evolve out of a bottom-up approach alone. The diverse stakeholders will need to be convened regularly, will require careful guidance to understand the policy framework and new opportunities (for zero deforestation commodities, PES, REDD+ mechanisms etc.) and will need expert facilitation, supported by technical tools, to reach a consensus on the sustainable development strategy for each planning jurisdiction. There are no obvious shortcuts that will deliver a better result. Building a well-trained cadre of LUP experts is a high priority.

 

Finally, we recommend that while it may be helpful to harmonize data collection standards across the CB region, it is unlikely that there is a one-size-fits-all LUP methodology as the context and legal frameworks in each CB country differ.

 

Please download the following PDF Documents:

Go back

Partners News

Sub-regional forum of traditional chefferies and local actors of the transfrontal transhumance in favour of the construction of a dialogue (Nigeria, Central Africa, Chad, Cameroon), Rey-Bouba (Cameroon) from 25 to 28 October 2021

The GIZ Support Project to the BSB YAMOUSSA complex, in collaboration with the Lamidat of Rey Bouba, proposes to organize a sub-regional forum of direct local actors of transboundary transhumance and traditional stakeholders from the grassroots communities, with a view to exchanging, sharing experiences and reflecting on the construction of dialogue in favour of a peaceful transhumance.

42 NGOs alarmed at the EU for possibly abandoning the fight against illegal logging and failing forested countries - FLEGT

In this letter to the Slovenian and French Presidencies of the EU, 42 civil society networks and organisations from countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America call on the European Union (EU) to strengthen support to the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation and its Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), the EU’s key legal instruments to fight illegal logging, and the associated trade.

Global Forest Watch: perspectives from the developed (Northern) and developing (Southern) countries

This is a second polite reminder to let you know we are conducting an anonymous evaluation funded by the World Resources Institute (WRI) of forest monitoring information and tools, and their usefulness, with a particular focus on Global Forest Watch (GFW), and stakeholder perspectives.

CBFP Study Package - Publications available for download

The German CBFP Facilitation has commissioned a package of 6 thematic studies on pertinent issues in Congo Basin forest politics (namely REDD+ in the Congo Basin, Land Use Planning, Transhumance, Ecotourism, Sustainable value chains, China´s role in Central African forestry) as well as an overarching synthesis study. Each study consists of a full study report as well as a short policy brief. Please download the CBFP Study Package…

Protecting the forests of the Congo Basin: Synthesis report of studies conducted during the German Facilitation of the CBFP in 2021

...In addition to this effort at the global policy level, the facilitation commissioned six thematic studies related to specific opportunities and challenges for the forests of the Congo Basin and the people who depend directly on the products, biodiversity and ecosystem services the forests provide. The six studies and a policy brief for each study were prepared between December 2020 and August 2021. They focus on the following topics...

Advancing Sustainability in China´s Engagement in the Congo Basin - CBFP

Over the last 10 to 15 years, China has increasingly taken note of the potential environmental and forest impacts of its overseas trade, investment and other economic activities. However, timber trade between China and Africa has so far not met the requirements of international legality and sustainability standards. Furthermore, China is highly involved in investment and construction of infrastructure projects that may have caused forest conversion due to a lack of comprehensive, effective management measures and a lack of environmental impact analyses.

Tourism in the Congo Basin Rainforests: How to accelerate tourism and make it regionally sustainable- CBFP

This study was performed with the intent of understanding the challenges to developing eco-tourism in the Congo Basin, and of identifying actions and recommendations to overcome these challenges. A background study of the existing literature, research articles, reports and national strategies (where available) was performed to ascertain the political strategies and academic understanding of ecotourism in the region.

The Dynamics and Impacts of Transhumance and Neo-Pastoralism on Biodiversity, Local Communities and Security: Congo Basin - CBFP

This study was carried out to shed light on issues related to this activity and provide basic knowledge of various aspects relating to livestock rearing, neo-pastoralism and unsustainable transhumance. The study area covers the Sudano-Sahelian region of Africa – specifically, the area stretching from the northern fringes of the Congo Basin (Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic) and the south-eastern part of the southern Lake Chad Basin, namely the Sudano-Guinean savanna mosaics. The methodology adopted was to collect data from various sources, including from key stake-holders and literature review.

Promoting sustainable value chains in the Congo Basin: An analysis and set of recommendations based on three case studies in producing and importing countries – CBFP Study

The first case study is dedicated to the spectacular policy announcement by Gabon that it would make FSC timber certification mandatory from 2022 onwards for all concessionaires willing to keep operating in the country. Such certification is relatively advanced in Gabon and this unprecedented policy stands as an intriguing and promising example in the region. The second case study relates to a prominent approach that has emerged and grown over the last decade, namely corporate zero-deforestation commitments. This is complementary to the first case study as it refers to a process initiated by the private sector itself, and we apply it to the oil palm sector in Cameroon. For the third case study, we move to the importation side of things with the most advanced policy effort to take action in consuming countries, namely the French National Strategy against Imported Deforestation (SNDI).

Current State, Barriers and Perspectives for REDD+ in the Congo Basin - CBFP

The report draws on a thorough review of the available literature. It is complemented by 21 semi-structured anonymous interviews with key REDD+ experts. The authors conducted the interviews between November 2020 and February 2021. Interview partners include represent-atives of Congo Basin countries, donor states, academia, NGOs and independent technical experts. Instead of going to lengths in elucidating the entire range of options for reducing deforestation and forest degradation, the study report lists concrete courses of action which might be pursued in the future.

Full NDC Synthesis Report: Some Progress, but Still a Big Concern – UNFCCC

UN Climate Change News, 17 September 2021 – UN Climate Change today published a synthesis of climate action plans as communicated in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The NDC Synthesis report indicates that while there is a clear trend that greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced over time, nations must urgently redouble their climate efforts if they are to prevent global temperature increases beyond the Paris Agreement’s goal of well below 2C – ideally 1.5C – by the end of the century.

World Religious Leaders and Scientists Make pre-COP26 Appeal – UNFCCC

UN Climate Change News, 5 October 2021 – Faith leaders representing the world’s major religions yesterday joined scientists at the Vatican to call on the international community to raise their ambition and step up their climate action ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November in Glasgow. Almost 40 faith leaders signed a joint Appeal, which was presented by Pope Francis to COP26 President-Designate, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma, and the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Luigi Di Maio.

SEI Report Assesses Transboundary Climate Risks in Commodity Flows - IISD

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has published a report providing a global assessment of transboundary climate risks in agricultural commodity flows. Its authors explain that the material risk posed to food security, particularly in low-income, import-dependent countries, is such that adaptation to transboundary climate risk becomes a matter of public policy.

Responding to Crises Starts Years in Advance: 2021 Goalkeepers Report - IISD

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has released its annual Goalkeepers Report, which tracks progress on 18 SDG indicators and reflects on trends influencing the Goals. In the introduction to the 2021 Goalkeepers report, titled ‘Innovation and Inequity,’ Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates write that the past year has shown that “progress is possible but not inevitable. The effort we put in matters a great deal.” The report aims to highlight learnings from the successes and failures of the pandemic so far.

Poor charcoal production techniques fuel tree cutting in Kenya – CIFOR

A new study conducted by scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), and partner organizations shows that charcoal producers have little or no support to engage in the replanting of trees, which could lead to a lower rate of deforestation in the already tree-scarce areas where most charcoal is produced.

Vienna Convention, Montreal Protocol Offer Lessons for Climate Agreements -IISD

The latest ‘Still Only One Earth’ policy brief from IISD looks back at when “the world was struck with fear” in 1985 after scientists discovered a massive hole in the ozone that forms a protective layer over the Earth. The brief reviews the steps taken to heal the ozone layer through two intergovernmental agreements – the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer – and what else must be done. It also highlights lessons for addressing climate change.

Appeal made for international commitment to protecting the Congo Basin ecosystems and their vicinity at the IUCN World Conservation Congress

Jointly organized by COMIFAC, CBFP, GIZ, CAFI and IUCN, as part of the Congo Basin Special Day at the World Conservation Congress, a high-level session on the Congo Basin, was held from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m on 05/09/2021., at the SPACE CENTER, Exhibition HALL 3.

Geopolitics of the World’s Forests: Strategies for Tackling Deforestation – IFRI

Deforestation continues at a worrying pace worldwide, except in temperate and boreal countries. It is caused by the race for land, underpinned by population growth and rising global demand for “deforestation-prone” products. Moreover, with climate change, mega-fires are now posing unprecedented threats to forests.

A second high-level session on the protection of the Congo Basin: Representatives of bilateral donor countries come together to help protect forests and wetlands in the green heart of Africa at the World Nature Congress

Jointly organized by COMIFAC, the CBFP, GIZ, CAFI and the IUCN, as part of the Congo Basin Special Day at the World Conservation Congress, a second high-level session on the preservation of the Congo Basin’s ecosystems took place on 05/09/2021 at 6:00 p.m. local time at the PAVILLON NATURE BASE SOLUTION, Exhibition HALL 3.

IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020 – IISD Report of main proceedings for 7 September 2021

Following four busy and inspirational days of work, the Forum concluded its deliberations. During another bustling day, participants attended thematic sessions and high-level dialogues during the morning. In the afternoon, seven thematic plenaries outlined the main take-home messages from the Forum’s discussions, followed by the official Forum closing plenary.