Making the case for community-led forest protection at the Congo Basin Forest Partnership meeting

13 June 2024

Last week in Kinshasa, APEM, CAD and other RFUK partners participated in the 20th meeting of the parties of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, the foremost gathering of actors concerned with the protection and management of the world’s second largest rainforest.

The event, which brought together more than 500 delegates from governments, international organisations, research institutions, civil society and the private sector, was an opportunity to present cutting-edge research and calls to action on the most pressing issues facing the region today.

In one event, RFUK and APEM presented initial research findings into the scale of carbon offsetting projects in the Congo Basin, many of which are being established without the consultation of local communities, let alone their Free, Prior and Informed Consent. We also highlighted a new report by RFUK, Forest Peoples Programme and FERN on non-market alternatives to voluntary offset markets and how this funding can more easily reach frontline communities.

In another event, CADD and APEM highlighted the current impacts of strictly protected areas on the rights of Indigenous and local communities in the Republic of Congo and the DR Congo. Despite several positive reforms in recent years, they said it was clear that reported human rights violations persist in many areas and that there is still a long way to go to reconceptualise conservation in the region.

With this in mind, they also launched a civil society declaration calling on their respective countries to commit to ending ‘fortress conservation’ and to promoting rights-based conservation in the run-up to the CBD COP16 later this year, when states are expected to submit their National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans for meeting global targets established in Montreal last year, including protecting 30 percent of their land and seas by 2030. The declaration is open for signatures from national civil society organisations and international organisations that wish to support it, more information is available by clicking on the link.

Other events that we spoke about included an inspiring session on African conservation success stories organised by Mongabay and another on dealing with the legacy of depleted logging concessions in the Congo Basin, organised by CIFOR and CIRAD.

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