Engaging civil society on REDD in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: an example of best practice
Engaging civil society organizations and indigenous peoples can be a complex process, especially in countries where relationships have been tense in the past. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has now initiated implementing its readiness activities with support of the UN-REDD Programme, has been able to bridge the gaps.
In the Ituri Forest community, Biakato Village, Western Province
Credits: Center for Indigenous Pygmies and Vulnerable Minorities (CAMV)
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is home to the second largest tropical rainforest in the world, covering 134 million hectares and providing a source of food, medicine, energy, livelihoods and revenue to some 40 million people. The country is home to 400,000 to 600,000 indigenous Pygmi Peoples, who mostly rely on forests for their livelihoods.
Despite past tensions, the Government and civil society and indigenous peoples organizations have engaged in a remarkably collaborative process to develop and start implementing the country’s national REDD Programme.
The first scoping mission for REDD, organized jointly by the UN-REDD Programme and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) in January 2009, was the starting point of an inclusive process that has already resulted in the creation of a recognized national climate-REDD civil society working group, a REDD Decree that specifically reserves one third of membership on the National (REDD) Committee to civil society and indigenous peoples’ self-selected representatives, and a REDD negotiation Task Force that includes civil society representatives. Measuring this process against the UN-REDD Programme’s specific criteria of representation, participation, inclusion, transparency and accountability shows that it constitutes best practice.
Consultation with the forest-dependent community of Ituri
credits: Center for Indigenous Pygmies and Vulnerable Minorities (CAMV)
Several factors have contributed to this successful inclusion. First, drafting of Decree collaboratively and early in the process has contributed to engaging the dialogue between civil society and the government from the very start. Second, capacity-building activities have stimulated linkages and coordination among various stakeholders while increasing their knowledge and skills. Finally, the government and multilateral agencies have followed basic “rules of engagement” for consultation as developed by the UN-REDD Programme, which helped to establish clear rules of the game and instill trust.
Clearly, challenges remain and collaborative processes require an ongoing commitment from all sides to succeed in the long term. Nonetheless, by building an institutional framework that sets firm foundations for engagement of civil society in the national REDD process, the DRC is effectively positioning itself to get ready for REDD.
Read the detailed report on Engaging civil society stakeholders on REDD: Best practice in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Read more about the UN-REDD programme activities in the DRC.
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