Increasing CAR's Commitment to Forest and Landscape Restoration at the National and Sub-National Levels

IUCN
Published: 12 December 2023
Last edited: 12 December 2023
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Summary

The Restoration Initiative country team in Central African Republic (CAR) is working to increase the commitment to forest and landscape restoration at the national and sub-national levels. To do so, they have initiated projects to fill the knowledge gaps in restoration opportunities and the valuation of ecosystem services and to develop policy and regulatory frameworks that increasingly promote restoration, sustainable land management, maintenance and enhancement of carbon stocks in forests. TRI CAR has found graduate students who are beginning to conduct research to fill the knowledge gaps that are needed for stronger policy networks, while a technical working group is working to identify restoration opportunities in the country. Additionally, TRI CAR has initiated the process of revising the country’s forest policy, reviewing and analyzing local development plans of forest communities, and facilitating the design of an upgraded national wood energy supply plan.  

Classifications

Region
West and Central Africa
Scale of implementation
National
Ecosystem
Forest ecosystems
Temperate evergreen forest
Theme
Legal & policy frameworks
Challenges
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Sustainable development goals
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans

Location

Central African Republic

Challenges

The largest challenges TRI CAR is facing in reaching its policy milestones and goals are the availability of financial resources and the ability to reflect complex and lengthy processes in final policy documents. Without the necessary financial resources, the process of elaborating policies like the forest policy and conducting research to fill knowledge gaps, especially in a participatory and inclusive way, would not be possible. However, as more partners are contacted, there has been a greater show of support and enthusiasm in ensuring the inclusive processes have the necessary resources. Additionally, it can be difficult to reflect the complex and lengthy processes that preceded new policies within final documents and legal text in a way that ensures all the challenges on the ground are considered. This is why a participatory approach is vital and likely the most equipped way to present the numerous complexities in policy.  

Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries include forest companies that have better guidance on sustainable land management, ministries that have inclusive policies to guide development, and local communities who can use coherent policies to manage forests.

How do the building blocks interact?

Together, TRI CAR’s work to fill knowledge gaps in restoration opportunities and the valuation of ecosystem services and to improve national and sub-national policy and regulatory frameworks to support restoration and sustainable land management will help increase the country’s commitment to FLR. The information found through the graduate projects with ICRA and ISDR focused on the valuation of ecosystem services and the geospatial data analysis conducted by the technical working group trained by TRI, provides on-the-ground research informing TRI CAR’s priorities and recommendations for the policies being developed. These policies include a revised forest policy, a joint management plan for the southwest territory, and an upgraded wood energy supply plan for Bangui. With technical input based on research and geospatial data, TRI CAR is able to better facilitate the elaboration of policies that adequately address the varying issues facing restoration, sustainable land management, maintenance of carbon stocks, and emission reductions in the LULUCF sector.  

Impacts

A strengthened policy and legal framework around FLR and sustainable land management and the subsequent increase in commitment to restoration in CAR will be significant because it will present a major change with previous practice and help CAR achieve its overall restoration goals. With an updated forest policy and greater knowledge and awareness of existing policies and their gaps, CAR will usher in a new perspective at the national and subnational levels that much greater prioritizes restoration and sustainability within land management. Similarly, with a strengthened enabling environment for FLR, the policy work TRI CAR is doing will likely result in a greater uptake of FLR projects and have a triggering effect on the development of new restoration policies. By outlining the implementation of FLR and how forests should be managed sustainably, governments, private actors, and local communities will better understand how to enact FLR projects and use land sustainably. With greater commitment to FLR, subnational governments will also gain greater insight on how to enact restoration policies at the local level. Ultimately, TRI CAR’s policy work will also help reach the country’s restoration commitments because of this increase in restoration activities.  

Story

IUCN

TRI project spoke to Brigitte Agbasso, 52, in Central African Republic. She is a widow and group leader in the community of Yobé and lives in Mona Sao. She cultivates her farm every year, working on one hectare of open forest annually. Read her story in her own words below:  

 

“The village was facing enormous difficulties in finding arable land within 5km of it. The land was severely degraded, and production was insufficient to feed the household members. 

 

 She said “The WWF experts who often passed through Mona Sao stopped off one day in the village to announce that a project led by FAO would be carried out in our village to propose alternatives to improve our agricultural activities and avoid impacting our valuable protected areas”.  

 

Village chiefs and prominent community leaders from the clustered villages of Pissa, Bombé, Boyama, Boyali and Bongombé in the southwest of the country had long sought to protect nearby forests and surrounding environments. It was through in-person meetings at the project sites that the TRI CAR project first learned of the coordinated efforts among three villages to establish a community forest.  

 

She continued, “The TRI project has trained us to establish tree nurseries and collect seeds in the forest. Each household with fallow land will repurpose it to restoration actions and be responsible for planting trees and benefiting from agricultural seeds to maintain the trees in their fields. Our nursery site has grown so well. 

 

Thanks to the project, we plan to pool a share of land for the cooperative’s agricultural production and set up a village savings bank to support the members” added Brigitte.  

 

The TRI project in the Central African Republic (CAR) is focused on the five subprefectures in the southwest of the country, which is mainly forest area, including the prefecture of Lobaye and the commune of Pissa. TRI project also supported the development of a simple forest management plan with two major sections, including capacity building and support in putting together and submitting an application for the allocation of community forests. 

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Leah Bronstein IUCN