June 2017– November 2019

Forest governance and NDC implementation in the Congo Basin


All governments which ratified the Paris Agreement are required to produce a new round of climate action plans, or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in 2020, as part of their commitment to achieve its objectives. Contributing to this process, we worked to produce studies exploring the link between forest governance in the Congo Basin countries and their NDCs.

The study in Cameroon focuses on the place of forest governance in its NDC and highlights the challenges related to the integration of land use in development and the implementation of national climate policies. It advocates for greater inclusion of forest governance in climate policies. Indeed, Cameroon, identifies in its NDC that the sustainable management of forest resources is an essential means to meet its mitigation and adaptation commitments in ratifying the Paris Agreement. As a forested country, the sustainable management of forest resources will, on the one hand, increase its capacity as a carbon sink and, on the other, limit deforestation and land degradation, contributing to sustainable development.

The study’s methodology includes examining the indices of participation, transparency, accountability and coordination of governance. This made it possible to highlight the correlation between forest governance improvements and tackling deforestation. It also made it possible to draft recommendations for the establishment of an integrated forest governance system in Cameroon which contributes to achieving the NDC’s objectives, with the added bonus of social and economic co-benefits for populations. The recommendations revolve around the readjustment of the forestry-related political, legal and institutional frameworks in order to ensure their alignment with international standards. The study, What Role Do Forests and Governance Play in Countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Climate Agreement? Case Study from Cameroon, can be found here.

In the Republic of Congo, deforestation accounts for 81% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the country’s NDC, the policy to mitigate GHG emissions revolves around fighting unplanned deforestation and maintaining and strengthening the carbon sequestration potential of forests through better management as well as reforestation. Achieving this objective requires the establishment of robust forest governance. The study, Forest and Climate Governance in the Republic of Congo: Challenges and Prospects, aims to assess forest governance in the Congo and its links with deforestation and land degradation in light of the climate objectives set in the NDCs.

The methodology of the study consisted of using tools such as the GFI framework of the World Resources Institute, the UNDP Forests, Land and REDD + Governance Index and the Kemitraan local governance index, coupled with data collected from stakeholders. Results demonstrate that the sustainable management of forest resources remains mixed despite the adoption of national policies marked by the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) signed with the European Union (EU) in May 2010 as part of the action plan of the European Union on the application of forestry regulations, governance and trade (FLEGT). It is therefore important, as the study recommends, in the context of the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, to strengthen the role of forest governance by updating the legal and institutional framework of the forest sector to enhance community participation in forest management and related decision-making processes, accountability in particular in the fight against corruption and conflict resolution related to forestry sector activities, and coordination between institutions on land and forest governance issues. The full report can be found here.