Three programmes and 39 million dollars to preserve the DRC’s forests

Feb 20, 2017

The DRC is home to the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world. Photo credit: UNDP DRC/Aude Rossignol/2016

Deforestation and the degradation of forests have been pronounced in recent decades, particularly in central Africa. This is the result of a number of factors, including farming (legal and illegal), agriculture, mining activity and the collection of wood for heating. The disappearance of forests raises concerns for a number of reasons (including loss of biodiversity, impact on rural life, or the degradation of ecosystem services such as the water supply), but another concern has recently arisen, focused more specifically on the links between the disappearance of forests and climate change.

To combat the degradation of forests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, several new programmes are to be initiated, three of them developed by the UNDP. The DRC ministries in charge of finance, the environment and the conservation of nature, as well as the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) were present this Thursday, 8th April, to witness the approval given by the steering committee of FONAREDD (the National REDD+ Fund) to the agreement to implement these forest protection and preservation programmes.

The UNDP will oversee the implementation of the following three programmes:

  • The integrated Eastern REDD+ programme, which will be carried out in the provinces of Tshopo, Bas-Uele and Ituri at a total cost of 33 million USD;
  • The support programme for reforms to town and country planning at a total cost of four million USD;
  • The civil society support programme, at a total cost of 2 million USD

These programmes fall under the banner of the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) which aims to combat deforestation and the degradation of forested zones in central Africa. This geographic zone is home to the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world, which covers more than 240 million hectares, of which 155 million are in the DRC. The Ministry of Finance of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the CAFI fund signed a letter of intent on April 22nd, 2016, with regard to assistance of nearly 200 million dollars (of Norwegian funds) for the protection of forested zones in the central African country. The DRC is the first of the six central African countries selected by the CAFI to launch the implementation of the different programmes, the others being Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo. The implementation of these initiatives marks a new step in the continued efforts made by the DRC since 2009 in line with REDD+, with the support of UN REDD, the World Bank and the UNDP. REDD+ (Reducing Emissions caused by Deforestation and the Degradation of forests) is an initiative aiming to place a financial value on the carbon stocks found in the forests, to offer incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions coming from wooded areas and to invest in sustainable, low-carbon development methods.

The fourth meeting of the steering committee of FONAREDD (the National REDD+ Fund) was organised in Kinshasa this Thursday, 8th February 2017, in the presence of members of government, ambassadors, sponsors, heads of United Nations agencies and representatives from civil society. At the end of the meeting, the Minister for the Environment and the Conservation of Nature, Mr. Athys Kabongo, expressed his satisfaction with the recommendations made at the meeting and the prospect of seeing these programmes develop into productive sectors, all while mitigating their impact on forests.

Ms. Priya Gajraj, UNDP Country Director, hailed the innovative approach of these programmes, which will affect people’s lives, whilst reiterating the UNDP’s support for the Congolese government in achieving the expected results.

Translator: Nick Lanigan

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