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Features & Commentary

DRC Launches New National Forest Monitoring System

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has taken the lead in developing a revolutionary tool for managing tropical forests, capable of meeting the required standards for REDD+ monitoring and reporting.
By: Danae Maniatis, Stefano Giaccio, Bruno Guay and Inge Jonckheere

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) officially launched its National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) at a COP17 side event in Durban, South Africa in December 2011, demonstrating live how it works and inviting users to provide feedback.

This monitoring system was developed by the DRC government in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) in response to the relevant decisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) made at COP16 in Cancun in December 2010. One of those decisions (paragraph 71 of Decision 1/CP.16) requests developing country Parties that undertake REDD+ activities to develop a robust and transparent national forest monitoring system for the monitoring and reporting of the five REDD+ activities. The aim of the DRC NFMS is to address domestic and international monitoring needs and international MRV reporting requirements.

The DRC NFMS can be regarded as a gold standard forest monitoring tool for countries to sustainably and transparently manage forests far beyond the realm of REDD+. It is a simple, yet revolutionary tool to monitor the DRC's forests on a national level for REDD+ that will allow the government to make informed, transparent decisions on how to monitor, manage and protect its forest and biodiversity resources and can easily be developed for, and together with, other interested countries.

[click view large]
Screenshot of the DRC NFMS

Behind the scenes
The UN-REDD Programme at FAO developed the NFMS concept in 2011 and, along with the DRC government, developed the DRC NFMS with inputs from relevant local and international stakeholders (e.g. World Resources Institute (WRI), Observatoire Satellital des Forêts d'Afrique Centrale (OSFAC), Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), etc.). The current system was developed in a time-span of six months, and further development of the system will continue in 2012.

This initiative provides support to the REDD+ process through capacity building, knowledge transfer and by developing a DRC REDD+ wall-to-wall NFMS based on satellite data. It draws on available satellite data and existing mapping technologies, fully recognizing the valuable work already carried-out by various partners in this area of work. It is based on open-source tools developed and applied by FAO under the UN-REDD Programme and INPE and builds on concrete and existing collaborations (OSFAC, WRI, Greenpeace, The Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE), etc.) to strengthen DRC’s technical capacities to monitor its forest land.

Objectives of the DRC NFMS
The overall goal of the DRC NFMS is to be the national tool to monitor the country’s REDD+ policies and measures. More specifically, the DRC NFMS aims to: (i) report on results obtained through REDD+ demonstration activities, results-based actions and national policies and measures in the forestry sector; (ii) have a multi-purpose methodological approach to address monitoring needs for other relevant national or international processes beyond REDD+ (e.g. biodiversity conservation, sustainable management of forests, etc.); (iii) build on existing monitoring systems or system elements in the DRC; (iv) be developed to become an operational, permanent and independent long-term monitoring system as an integral part of the mandate of DRC’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation of Nature and Tourism (MECNT) and its technical divisions.

[click view large]
Screenshot of the DRC NFMS and a result of a statistical query. Users can query statistics on a number of parameters and will be able to download statistics and reports in the near future.

Take home message
With the support of FAO and the UN-REDD Programme, the DRC has successfully developed a revolutionary NFMS showing that with a few ingredients – strong national political will, collaboration between national and international stakeholders, secure financing by donors and building creatively on existing technical knowledge and products (by bringing everything together in one system) – there is a real opportunity to provide concrete building blocks to protect and sustainably manage tropical forests.

To see how the DRC National Forest Monitoring System works visit www.rdc-snsf.org

Danae Maniatis is Forestry officer at FAO for the UN-REDD programme and is the Focal Point in FAO HQ for the DRC.












Stefano Giaccio is Consultant at FAO for the UN-REDD programme, in charge of the technical implementation of the web portal for the DRC National Forest Monitoring System.













Bruno Guay is DRC National REDD+ Coordination Technical Advisor.











Inge Jonckheere is Forestry officer at FAO for the UN-REDD programme, coordinating the Development of National Forest Monitoring Systems in developing countries.












In-country DRC contacts:
DRC REDD+ Focal Point: Vincent Kasulu kaseyamak@yahoo.fr
Coordinator of the DRC National REDD+ Coordination: Kanu Mbizi

In this issue


UN-REDD Launches Three New Publications

7 New Countries Join the UN-REDD Programme

UN-REDD Develops Multiple Benefits Mapping Toolbox

New "GO-REDD+" Listserv Launched in Asia-Pacific
Features & Commentary

DRC Launches New National Forest Monitoring System
By: Danae Maniatis, Stefano Giaccio, Bruno Guay and Inge Jonckheere

Update on REDD+ in Mongolia
By: Bunchingiv Bazartseren, Lisa Ogle and Joel Scriven
Reports & Analysis

UN-REDD and FAO Explore the Legal Dimension of REDD+ Implementation

FAO Releases New Global Deforestation Estimates
Looking ahead

UN-REDD Social and Environmental Principles and Criteria; and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) Workshops
8 - 10 February, 2012: Geneva, Switzerland
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