Strengthening and institutionalising the Central Africa Forest Observatory - RIOFAC

RIOFAC is a support project for the Central Africa Forest Observatory (OFAC), which gives civil society and governments the means to make informed decisions on the management of Central African forest ecosystems.
A forest landscape in the Centre region of Cameroon, where logging of natural forests is a source of income for the government, but also a cause of forest degradation © P. Guizol, CIRAD
A forest landscape in the Centre region of Cameroon, where logging of natural forests is a source of income for the government, but also a cause of forest degradation © P. Guizol, CIRAD

A forest landscape in the Centre region of Cameroon, where logging of natural forests is a source of income for the government, but also a cause of forest degradation © P. Guizol, CIRAD

Issues

The dense tropical rainforests in the countries of the Commission of Central African Forests (COMIFAC), covering 170 million hectares, form the world’s second largest tropical forest area and are home to an essential part of all known plant and animal species. These forests are affected by many problems: illegal logging, land-use change, climate change, commercial poaching, zoonotic diseases, insecurity, migration, poverty and a lack of jobs for young people. The rate of deforestation has increased over the last decade.
The goal of the project is therefore to guide decisions in order to find development pathways that enable the production of the timber, food, fibre and energy needed by the people living in the Congo Basin, while preserving forest ecosystems.

Description

The Congo Basin countries have established common objectives for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable management of forest ecosystems, the rights of forest peoples and to support their efforts towards economic and social development. The Heads of State thus set up an operational structure, COMIFAC, to implement their commitments, through a convergence plan comprised of 10 strategic areas.
OFAC is one of COMIFAC’s tools to monitor this plan and to improve forest governance in the region, by sharing knowledge on the processes that affect forest dynamics. The goal is to enable stakeholders and policymakers to make informed decisions.
RIOFAC contributes to strengthening OFAC within COMIFAC, in order to ensure the continuity of its actions. The project has produced a website with a geo-portal in which data, policy analyses and publications are available. It also organises training courses to help the national coordinators from each country to input data into the OFAC databases.

Expected changes

  •  OFAC will have a clear, consolidated status within COMIFAC, and will use, manage and provide reliable updated information on Central African forests and ecosystems
  • Governments and actors involved in forest and environmental management will make decisions based on information provided by OFAC.

Expected impacts

  • Central African forest ecosystems will be protected, while contributing to the well-being of the people that depend on them.

 

Contract Partners

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR –coordinateur -Indonésie), Commission des Forêts d’Afrique Centrale (COMIFAC – Cameroun), Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL -Belgique), Forêts Ressources Management (FRM - France)