Encouraging Signs for the REDD+ Process in The Republic of the Congo
A year after the approval of its REDD+ readiness preparation proposal, and a few months after the Tropical Forests Summit, favorable conditions are reinforcing The Republic of the Congo’s intention to explore the REDD+ pathway.
The Republic of the Congo's commitment to advancing REDD+ readiness activities shone through during a recent joint mission to the country by the UN-REDD Programme and Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The mission, which took place between 14-16 September in Brazzaville, aimed to identify the possible avenues for UN-REDD Programme/FCPF support in The Republic of the Congo and to learn more about how the REDD+ concept is advancing there.
The UN-REDD/FCPF delegation was impressed by the high degree of national ownership in the early stages of the country's REDD+ process. The National Coordination on REDD+ has a sophisticated understanding of the articulation between the FCPF funds and the potential UN-REDD Programme support. In addition, the UN-REDD/FCPF delegation had the chance to interact with focal points from other important Ministries (Agriculture, Mining and Energy, Planning), who expressed real interest in the opportunities—but also the challenges-- that REDD+ can bring to their sectors. The delegation found this cross-ministerial engagement to be encouraging for the future integration of REDD+ into mainstream policies.
Learning from experiences in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, other critical issues for the success of REDD+ were discussed, such as the possibility to plan for decentralized REDD+ units from the start, in parallel to capacity reinforcement of national institutions and the articulation of REDD+ with a national vision for sustainable development.
The strong mobilization of civil society on REDD+ in the Republic of the Congo was also appreciated. Two delegates from the civil society interim commission on REDD+ participated in all the sessions of the mission. It was agreed that different options will be developed for a more permanent REDD+ civil society platform, and that these options would, in turn, be proposed to a general assembly of different national and local CSO in January 2012.
The National REDD+ Coordinator, Mr. Boundzanga, will make a presentation at the upcoming UN-REDD Programme Policy Board meeting in Berlin on the current status of REDD+ readiness in the country. Mr. Boundzanga will also present a proposed set of potential activities for future UN-REDD Programme support. The formal submission of a full National Programme proposal to the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board is already a target for the following meeting in March 2012.
In the meantime, the country will move ahead with its priorities, including holding a workshop early November on its REDD+ implementation framework, organizing its civil society platform, and preparing a side event in Durban with Minister Djombo. It is clear that momentum for REDD+ is increasing in the Republic of Congo.
The joint UN-REDD/FCPF mission follows the UN-REDD Programme's recent decision to select Republic of Congo as a priority country in the Africa region. In addition, FCPF also used the mission to discuss the last details for the signature of a US$3.4 million grant agreement with the country.