Central Africa

Central Africa hosts the second largest rainforest in the world: the Congo Basin. This unique ecosystem is home to endangered gorillas, okapis, chimpanzees, bonobos and forest elephants, as well as thousands of species of birds and trees. It also supports the livelihoods of over 60 million people and stores huge amounts of carbon. This is why CIFOR’s work in the subregion is so important: it addresses research, policy and technical gaps to promote the sustainable management of the Congo Basin forests, and to ensure that their vast resources contribute to the well-being of all.
 

 
OUR APPROACH
CIFOR’s work is based on three pillars:

  • research for impact
  • capacity development
  • outreach and engagement

 
Our focus in Central Africa:

  • artisanal logging and formalization of domestic timber markets
  • sustainable consumption of wild meat and food security
  • sustainable woodfuel value chains
  • restoration of degraded lands
  • forests and climate change

 
Regional hub:

  • CIFOR’s Central Africa Hub has been based in Yaoundé, Cameroon since 1995. In 2007, CIFOR and the Cameroonian government signed a Host Country Agreement
  • CIFOR works in close collaboration with the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC) and is currently the chair of the scientific committee of the Partnership for the Congo Basin Forests (PCBF-PFBC)

 
Research for impact:
CIFOR’s Central Africa Hub is implementing a number of projects in 2019

The Formation, Recherche et Environnement dans la Tshopo (FORETS) project in the DRC promotes the sustainable management of the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve by protecting the environment and fostering local development. It also supports master’s and PhD programs in sustainable forest management at the University of Kisangani. The project is funded by EU and is implemented with partners, including: UNIKIS, INERA, R&SD, MRAC, JBM, IITA, ICRAF, ICSDL, MAB, IFA, etc. The main subjects are:

  • Artisanal logging and formalization of domestic timber markets
  • Sustainable consumption of wild meat and food security
  • Sustainable woodfuel value chains
  • Restoration of degraded lands
  • Forests and climate change
The Renforcement et Institutionalisation de l’Observatoire des Forêts d’Afrique Centrale (RIOFAC) project supports the Central Africa Forest Observatory to become the top source of reliable information to inform decision-making in the subregion. The project is funded by EU and is implemented with partners, including: CIRAD, UCLouvain, FMR, etc. The main subjects are:

  • Artisanal logging and formalization of domestic timber markets
  • Restoration of degraded lands
  • Forests and climate change
The Governing Multi-functional Landscapes in Sub-Saharan Africa (GML) project addresses knowledge, policy and technical gaps related to forest and land governance. In Central Africa, it focuses on the promotion of sustainable woodfuel value chains, impact monitoring of FLEGT, food security and forests. The project is funded by EU and is implemented with partners, including: GIZ, FAO, FFF, ICRAF, etc. The main subjects are:

  • Artisanal logging and formalization of domestic timber markets
  • Sustainable consumption of wild meat and food security
  • Sustainable woodfuel value chains
The Promouvoir et Formaliser l’Exploitation Artisanale du bois d’oeuvre en Afrique Centrale (PROFEAAC) aims to formalize artisanal logging in DRC and Cameroon. The project is funded by AFD and is implemented with partners, including MINFOF, GIZ, CIRAD, and local governments, etc. The main subject is: Artisanal logging and formalization of domestic timber markets.
The Global Comparative Study on REDD+ (GCS) project in which we are assessing policy design and actual impacts of REDD+ policies in DRC. The project is funded by NOARD and is implemented with CODELT, FAO, OSFAC, WWF, DIAF, UNIKIS, etc. The main subject is: Forests and climate change.
The Essor des demandes publiques et privées en sciages d’origine légale au Cameroun (ESSOR) project aims to increase demand for timber of legal origin in Cameroon. The project is funded by FAO-EU FLEGT and is implemented with partners, including: Cerad, Ancova, MINFOF, etc. The main subject is: Artisanal logging and formalization of domestic timber markets.
The market analysis of the wood supply chain in Rwanda. The project aims to improve the development of the national timber industry through a market analysis of the wood supply chain . The project is funded by GIZ. The main subject is: Artisanal logging and formalization of domestic timber markets.
Capacity development
 
In the last three years, we have:

  • hosted over 15 interns at our regional hub
  • supported approximately 35 PhD and MSc students with their thesis research
  • sponsored over 300 PhD and MSc students
  • trained around 50 environmental journalists

 
Outreach and engagement:
Our COE activities in Central Africa include:

  • sustained engagement with governments and key partners
  • targeted digital outreach through social media and online content
  • publications, policy briefs, newsletters, blogs and other knowledge-sharing tools
  • media relations and capacity building of journalists
  • participation in public debates, conferences and other events

 
Our impact:
Some examples of CIFOR’s impact in the region include:

  • Revalorization of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) in Central Africa: Thanks to CIFOR’s sustained engagement, in 2016, COMIFAC published new regional guidelines to promote the sustainable use of NTFP. At the country level, Cameroon changed its institutional framework to recognize their potential economic contribution to rural households
  • Sustainable forest management: CIFOR scientists have been pioneers in the development of criteria and indicators to determine whether forests are managed sustainably, which have been adopted now across Central Africa. They have also provided expert support to develop certification processes
  • Formalization of domestic timber markets: Since 2010, CIFOR has conducted several studies on Central Africa’s domestic timber markets, leading to the mainstreaming of the issue, and in many cases to changes in public policies. In the case of Cameroon, for example, the government has adopted a monitoring system to track local timber consumption
  • Informing REDD+ policy: CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study (GCS) program has become a reference for information on forests and climate change mitigation, effectively informing policymaking at national and regional levels.
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