By highlighting the presence of otherwise 'invisible' indigenous peoples and forest communities, this project hopes to bridge the gap between remote forest communities and central decision making processes to eradicate marginalisation of forest dwellers.
Mapping For Rights is an interactive community map project for the Congo Basin, which started in November 2011 and is ongoing.
To date, the programme has supported some 300 forest communities across the Congo Basin to produce maps of their lands and resources covering over 2 million hectares. This is expected to rise significantly in the coming years through advances in mapping methodologies to around 1,000 communities and 7 million hectares.
Brainforest, CADEM, CED, DGPA, FODER, GASHE, GIZ, OCDH, RRN, WRI
- Customary tenure systems are very well defined and understood locally and are widespread across the Congo Basin but are generally poorly documented and receive only slight recognition in national law.
- Despite growing evidence that securing these rights may be one of the best routes to protecting the forest and halting poverty, the political economy of the region has been dominated by a dual model of industrial logging and strict nature conservation, with more recent expansion in the mining and agro-business sectors.
- These overlapping claims are leading to land and resource related conflict and the increasing marginalisation of forest dwellers.
- Provide easy access to accurate geographical information about the presence, land use and rights of indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities in the Congo Basin.
- Enable forest communities themselves to demonstrate their presence in the forest; decision-makers and the private sector to take account of and recognise this presence; and to assist the international community in designing programmes concerned with those rights and ensure that forest communities are equitable beneficiaries of future developments.
- Innovations in mapping methodologies to support mapping by non-literate people, collect data on social development needs and expand coverage and improve data flows.
- Interactive map serving as a repository for community mapping data collected by RFUK, our partner network and various other organisations in the region which can be analysed in the context of other land claims and uses such as palm oil plantations, REDD + projects, logging concessions, mining permits and protected areas.
- Add new datasets and embedded multi-media content and develop new features and functionality, including offline versions of the map.
- A resource portal with mapping tutorials, policy tools, the Forest Zone blog and others resources for communities, NGOs, government agencies and others involved in forest and spatial governance issues.
- First interactive community map of its kind in Africa, if the not the world, and largest repository of customary rights and resource use data in the Congo Basin.
- Already used in policy discourse to integrate into land-use planning processes, REDD+ initiatives processes and to track and mitigate impacts of potential palm oil expansion in the region.
- Large and growing membership base among key stakeholders to defend the rights of local and indigenous communities.
- Pioneering of new geo-spatial technologies and mapping methodologies, bridging the gap between remote forest communities and central decision making processes.