With the support of USAID and Norad, the Rainforest Foundation UK and a consortium of Congolese organisations are launching "Forests for the Future," a 5-year project supporting community forests and sustainable livelihoods in DRC.
Kinshasa, July 7, 2021 - Senior representatives of the government (from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and civil society gathered today in Kinshasa to launch the “Forests for the Future” Activity, which promotes community forestry as a means to drive improvements in communities’ livelihoods and well-being, as well as forest protection.
Based on the adoption of an unprecedented legislation on Forest Concessions for Local Communities (Concessions Forestières des Communautés Locales - CFCLs), this project aims to lay the foundations for community forest management, and to pave the way for a more equitable, participatory and sustainable use of forests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
"This is an enormous opportunity to transform the country," said Fifi Likunde Mboyo, head of the ministry of environment's community forestry division, the government body managing the scheme. "It is a break away from the past."
After a series of opening statements, presentations, questions and answers regarding the objectives and approaches of the project, participants reaffirmed their shared conviction that entrusting the management of tropical forests to the people who live in and depend on them is the fairest and most sustainable way to protect them.
"With its Community Forestry approach, the Democratic Republic of Congo is today at the forefront among Central African countries in terms of recognition of community rights and sustainable forest management. The extent of community forests, their multi-use vocation, and their free and perpetual granting, are all innovative factors and, for the Rainforest Foundation UK, essential conditions for the success of this new management method." - Ana Orozco, RFUK Head of Programmes
The British organisation Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) coordinates a consortium of Congolese partners to facilitate the allocation and management of CFCLs at three key sites across DRC, with the generous support of the American people through USAID, as well as contributions from NORAD, the Turing Foundation, the Arcus Foundation and Synchronicity Earth.
Since 2016, the joint efforts of RFUK and their Congolese partners have enabled the development and adoption of a National Strategy on Community Forestry, which has established an experimental phase of five years (2018-2023). This phase involves capacity building of forest administrations at national, provincial, and local levels, creation of a Community Forestry Database in the DRC, and the establishment of a framework for dialogue to influence political and legal processes relating to community forestry through the organisation of Multi-Actor RoundTables (Tables Rondes Multi-Acteurs - TRMA).
From 2020 to 2025, this new initiative, entitled “Forests for the Future”, aims to demonstrate that community forests can contribute to improving the livelihoods of local communities and indigenous peoples and securing their land rights, as well as reducing deforestation and strengthening protection of biodiversity in these forests, in order to provide a forest management model that is both viable and scalable at the national level.
"Local communities are the best forest defenders. The "Forest for the Future" project has managed to find the right balance between nature conservation and development", said Hilde Dahl, Norad's representative during the launch.
The changes facilitated by this project, will be achieved through four complementary strategic approaches:
Under the coordination of Rainforest Foundation UK, the project will be implemented by six main partner organisations:
Georges Thierry Handja, “Forests for the Future” Chief of Party
To learn more about RFUK's work in DRC, visit our project page here.