The 13th Forest Governance Forum took place in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, from 23-24 May 2022. Following the forest commitments made in 2021 in Glasgow, UK, at 26th United Nations Climate Conference (COP 26), the Forum addressed the intersection of forest governance, the green economy, climate change and land-use planning. The EU REDD Facility engaged and delivered a presentation at a panel on COP26 and the climate action. The Facility also convened and chaired a parallel session on land-use planning and forests.
Fern convened a plenary session titled ‘Building on COP26 to Promote Inclusive and Ambitious Climate Action,’ which was moderated by the Central Africa Forest Initiative (CAFI) Secretary. It aimed to examine progress and gaps in commitments and actions to improve climate governance in the Congo Basin and beyond. It also formulated recommendations so that nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and just and transparent climate finance lead to greater protection of forests and forest peoples’ rights.
In a presentation on ‘Revised NDCs: What’s in it for forests, rights, and livelihoods?’ Jim Djontu and Alice Bisiaux of the EU REDD Facility underlined that the gap between emission reduction pledges and what is needed to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit temperature increase to 1,5 ºC above pre-industrial levels is still significant. In this context, they assessed the progress made in the revised NDCs of some Congo Basin countries, underlying the essential role nature-based solutions can play in addressing the climate challenge. In many cases, NDC pledges related to the forest and land-use sector can still be made more ambitious and specific. In particular, the national climate plans should better address forest governance issues and include quantified tenure and natural resource rights for indigenous peoples and local communities.
Furthermore, although the revision of the NDCs have been carried out through a greater engagement of civil society compared to the 2015 version of these national plans, their recommendations have only been very partially taken into account.
The EU REDD Facility also convened a parallel session on land-use planning and forests, which was chaired by Jim Djontu.
Panellists underlined that the progress made, and the approaches deployed in land-use planning are context-specific. These approaches may be top-down, bottom-up or combined. This influences the dynamics of the process, the achievement of the defined objectives, the emerging lessons and constraints encountered.
The Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon have embarked on ambitious and multi-annual land-use planning processes following differentiated trajectories adapted to their local contexts and realities with the support of international and local partners, such EFI, the CAFI, Initiative Développement and Rainbow Consult.
Land-use planning, and associated tools have been recognised by the administration, development partners, civil society, and the private sector as an essential basis for better land governance, more coherent development planning and the reconciliation of divergent interests in land-use and allocation in the rapidly growing economies of the countries of the sub-region.