Impact Story: Republic of the Congo

Making Strides with its National Forest Monitoring System

Situated in Central Africa, the Republic of the Congo is in the heart of the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest rainforest.

More than 65 per cent of land in the Republic of the Congo is forested; however, these forests are increasingly threatened by slash-and-burn agriculture; logging for timber, charcoal and fuelwood; and deforestation for rubber and palm oil plantations. Nevertheless, the country is making significant progress in confronting climate change through the sustainable management and protection of its remaining forests.

Since becoming a UN-REDD Programme partner country in 2010, the Republic of the Congo has strengthened its forest monitoring by developing projects at the National Center for the Inventory and Management of Forest and Wildlife Resources (CNIAF), as well as improved its NFMS. One of the first African countries to submit its forest reference emission levels (FREL/FRLs) to the UNFCCC, the country also recently produced a REDD+ Investment Plan, which highlights its achievements in Measuring, Reporting and Verifying (MRV) REDD+ results, and its progress on issues including climate-smart agriculture and sustainable forest management.

In particular, the Republic of the Congo is making strides in building capacity in remote-sensing and mapping; forest data collection, monitoring and measuring forest changes; and detailed strategic analyses to improve sustainable forest management – essential to supporting the livelihoods of its 4.6 million people that depend on forests for their livelihoods. “Forests allow people to carry out productive activities such as agriculture for subsistence,” says Carine Saturnine Milandou, a forest specialist with the Republic of the Congo’s National REDD+ Programme and one of the female experts in the country’s REDD+ coordination unit and CNIAF. “Hence the need to protect them to guarantee the livelihoods of the people who live in them.”

Forests allow people to carry out productive activities such as agriculture for subsistence

Carine Saturnine Milandou

The UN-REDD Programme in the Republic of the Congo actively encourages the involvement of female experts, providing them with leadership opportunities during planning and technical work. With support from the UN-REDD Programme, Carine has been working with the Government on mapping the country’s forest cover and improving the country’s land-use planning efforts to promote the development of sustainable agriculture.

“The technical help provided by the UN-REDD Programme is really important,” she says. “Our goal is to eventually become autonomous in carrying out high-quality inventories that will ensure the protection of our forests and help the Republic of the Congo maintain its biological diversity, bringing the country closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The UN-REDD Programme has helped shape a new development approach in the Republic of the Congo that takes into account the critical role of forests in mitigating climate change and in fostering a green economy. “We have seen a growing awareness among people who live in the forests,” she says. “They are now more aware of the value of forests and the importance of using their products sustainably.”

They are now more aware of the value of forests and the importance of using their products sustainably.

Carine Saturnine Milandou

Thus, the Republic of the Congo’s REDD+ activities have sent an important message about the country’s commitment to putting forests at the centre of climate change mitigation processes, and its recognition of the contribution of forests to sustaining the livelihoods of men and women in the Republic of the Congo.

This report is made possible through support from Denmark, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the European Union.