RTM Congo Team
Comptoir Juridique Junior (CJJ) is deploying "Real Time Monitoring" (RTM) and the ForestLink technology in the Republic of Congo following their technical training by RFUK in Brazzaville in August 2019. The project trains and equips local communities to monitor forest illegalities. The ForestLink technology, developed by RFUK, allows alerts by community observers to be sent to a centralized database, including from remote areas without a telephone network. The project seeks to strengthen the fight against illegal logging and promote the well-being of local communities and forest-dependent indigenous peoples. Already deployed in Cameroon, DRC and Ghana, where it supports more than a hundred communities in the monitoring of their forests and protecting their rights, the system has, since 2019, scaled up to include 4 villages in the Republic of Congo. The RTM Congo team is made up of one project manager, based in Brazzaville from where he coordinates deployment and collaborates with forest control authorities, and two field officers based on the two pilot sites: in Likouala, in the north and in Lékoumou, to the south. They monitor the day-to-day use of the technology by community observers and support community leaders in their community advocacy actions to improve local governance issues.
The system has been active at the two sites in the Republic of Congo since August 2019 : working with community members from the villages Berandzokou and Mimbeli in Likouala to monitor forests around the Forest Management Unit (UFA) of Mimbeli - Ibenga of the company La Congolaise Industrielle de Bois (CIB), and with villages in Lékoumou to monitor forests around the Logging Forest Unit (UFE) of Mpoukou - Ogoué of the company Taman Industries Limited.
Thanks to the deployment of technology, 14 community observers and 8 community leaders have been trained to conduct community forest observation and defend the rights and interests of the participating communities.
Since the deployment of the system in Republic of Congo in 2019, a dozen alerts on forest illegalities have been transmitted to the ForestLink platform and documented by the RTM Congo team. After verification by the field staff , a number of unmarked stumps and logs of various species (Okoumé, Red Padouk, Movingui, Essia), as well as several alerts on the damage caused by animals on communities’ agricultural crops, were confirmed and further documented. These alerts, which are then supplemented with recommendations about the corrective measures to be taken and applicable sanctions, are then intended to inform and guide the forest control activities of the departmental authorities.
The RTM team is also making good use of the knowledge acquired during the training to support the departmental forestry administration (DDEF) in integrating ForestLink (as a monitoring tool) into forest control processes. A training of departmental directors of the Ministry of Forest Economy of Lékoumou and Likouala is currently being organised. This training will lead to joint field missions being conducted to verify the alerts transmitted by the community observers trained in the two departments. Collaboration with the forest administration aims to result in the systematic use of the RTM Congo platform for the monitoring and control of illegalities linked to the exploitation of forests, thus supporting rapid response mechanisms due to the alerts collected and transmitted by communities in real time.