Building regional priorities in forests for development and adaptation to climate change in the Congo Basin

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Indentifying common priorities in shared natural resource systems constitutes an important platform for implementing adaptation and a major step in sharing a common responsibility in addressing climate change. Predominated by discourses on REDD + (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries) with little emphasis on adaptation there is a risk of lack of policy measures in addressing climate change in the Congo Basin. Forest products and ecosystem services provide security portfolios for the predominantly rural communities, and play major roles in national development programmes in both revenue and employment opportunities. Thus, raising the profile of forests in the policy arena especially in the twin roles of addressing climate change in mitigation and adaptation and achieving resilient development is crucial. Within the framework of the Congo Basin Forests and Climate Change Adaptation project (COFCCA) project, science policy dialogue was conducted to identify and prioritize forest based sectors vulnerable to climate change but important to household livelihoods and national development. The goal of the prioritization process was for the development of intervention in forest as measures for climate change adaptation in Central Africa. Participants constituted a wide range of stakeholders (government, Non Governmental Organizations, research institutions, universities, community leaders, private sectors etc.) as representatives from three countries directly involved in the project: Cameroon, Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo. Building on national priorities, four forest related sectors were identified as common priorities at the regional level for focus on climate change adaptation. These sectors included: (1) energy with emphasis on fuel wood

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