Against this background, the objective of the project “Quantifying carbon stocks and emissions in the forests of the Republic of Congo” is to assist the Republic of Congo to effectively participate in that readiness process and in other payment mechanism for ecosystem services.
The project helps with generating data, cost-effective methods and other forms of support towards developing national strategies for forest carbon accounting, development of baselines for forest carbon emissions estimates and other forms of capacity development.
Project activities take place in Republic of Congo (RoC) and at the Observatoire Satellital des Forêts d’Afrique CentraleCentral (OSFAC) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The project is organized into two broad areas; one technical and the other organizational. Each has clear goals and is linked to specific groups of beneficiaries.
- To contribute towards building the capacity of OSFAC personnel and of other specialists in agencies and institutions of the Republic of Congo to detect and monitor changes in forest quality, extent, carbon stocks and emissions.
- To enable civil society organizations and technical stakeholders to vigorously participate in evaluating and mitigating forest degradation and deforestation. Encourage forest-dependent communities to participate in them in ways that improve their livelihoods.
The 2007 UNFCCC Bali Action Plan and the launch of programs such as Forest Carbon Partnership Facility of the World Bank and UN REDD provides testimony to an increased willingness on the part of developed countries and donors to finance projects and policies aimed at reducing deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. While these programs have generated much interest in Congo Basin countries, concrete steps on the ground have often fallen short of meeting the substantial requirements for effective participation of national actors in REDD+. Accordingly, donors are now prioritizing REDD+ readiness programs in support of countries facing significant limitations in technical and organizational capacity at national levels.
This project was designed to assist the Republic of Congo determine the nature of her participation in future mechanisms of payment for ecosystem services. Provision of high quality data, a range of complementary measurement methods, as well as support in developing national strategies for forest carbon emissions accounting and baselines, are just a few areas where support is provided. It is expected that, strengthening of technical, thinking and organizational capacity at national level will also benefit ongoing priority programs that contribute to overall sustainable management of forests and biodiversity in the Congo Basin, such as CARPE programs, CBFP, PVA-FLEGT programs, to name a few.
Project goal and objectives
The overall goal of the project is to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, and to help alleviate poverty in the Congo Basin.
- To assess deforestation / forest degradation and quantify carbon emissions at the national level. This also includes, assessment of forest degradation and quantification of carbon emissions at the sub-national levels;
- To organize training sessions for national and regional level stakeholders on measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of deforestation / forest degradation and associated GHG emissions in Republic of Congo. These training sessions include government officials, NGOs and Research Institutes;
- To help establish OSFAC as a regional center of excellence in forest change observation and measurements of forest carbon dynamics;
- To stimulate discussions and disseminate information about the costs, benefits, risks and opportunities of sustainable management of forests and links with poverty alleviation. The project will also address payments for ecosystem services mechanisms in the context of reducing GHG emissions from deforestation / forest degradation, as options for poverty reduction and sustainable forest management.
The project promotes engagements with the following stakeholders and actors:
- Government agencies in charge of forest and climate questions
- OSFAC, national civil society organizations, including the scientific community
- Development institutions
- Rural communities in general in the Republic of Congo
- Forest-dependent communities in the Republic of Congo in particular
Coordination and general leadership is provided by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and brings together five partners from four countries (Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, USA and Brazil), spread across three continents (Africa, South America and North America).
Beyond WRI there are two types of actors in this project: (i) beneficiary/clients who provide the raison d’être for the project and or ensure post project sustainability and (ii) technical partners who provide immediate technical services to the beneficiaries and clients.
- National Coordination of REDD+ in the Republic of Congo (CN REDD): The CN REDD reports to the Office of the Minister in charge of Sustainable Development, Forest Economy and Environment. This unit is headed by the Technical Adviser to the Minister on Climate Change, who doubles as focal point of this Project. The CN REDD also facilitates relationships between the project and other ministries and departments, at national and local levels generating land and resources use data, and that are involved in activities and policies that impact land and forest use in the Republic of Congo.
- OSFAC: By the end of the project, the technical capacity of OSFAC should be strengthened in forest cover change monitoring, forest degradation detection and measurements, and in methods for estimating carbon stocks and emissions. OSFAC is also being strengthened in other institutional aspects to help it become a veritable regional center of excellence in associated instruments of REDD+ MRV across the Congo Basin region. To this end, OSFAC participates in training of national experts on all technical aspects of the project. OSFAC also ensures that skills and methods developed and used to train the different stakeholders remains in the region for post-project sustainability. As a part of this project, OSFAC is also in the process of developing robust and effective communications mechanisms for disseminating project results and products and for encouraging national and regional participation.
The technical partners provide specialized assistance with implementation of project activities. Specifically, they assist with: (i) training and mainstreaming of methods of detection, measurement and monitoring of deforestation and forest degradation in the Republic of Congo; (ii) training and mainstreaming of methods of quantification of forest carbon from land use change; (iii) assistance with establishing basis for policy content, options and incentives to curb deforestation, forest degradation and associated emissions.
IMAZON: The Amazon Institute for People and Environment is an internationally renowned center of excellence in remote sensing, based in Belem, Brazil. Under the leadership of Dr Carlos Souza the centre applies the Normalized Differential Fraction Index (NDFI) method (a low cost, semi-automated method) to detect and assess the degree of disturbance of forest canopy [and subsequently re-calibrated and interpreted as forest degradation] in the forests of the Congo.
WINROCK INTERNATIONAL: This Centre of excellence in carbon quantification trains national stakeholders and applies a combination of methods to measure forest carbon stocks, develop emissions maps and builds OSFAC and national capacity. Winrock leads development, selection and application of Allometric equations in forest carbon stocks assessments and monitoring in the project. Winrock collaborates with WRI and other partners to produce detailed products of the distribution and estimates of changes in forest carbon stocks in Republic of Congo.
Project communication strategy and products
All activities related to dissemination of results and external communications fall under objective 4.4. These pertain to documentation of results and dissemination of information to all project stakeholders. It is via these mechanisms that stakeholders, actors, investors and other interested parties will become informed of progress made by the project, leading to support of related initiatives.
These actions seek to publicize and inform the public on actions implemented as part of the project and ultimately to encourage ownership of the project results and initiatives by the recipients, while seeking additional support from donors. To this end, the project has considered a range of communications tools that will promote ownership by national and regional actors, REDD+ decision- makers, civil society organizations, the private sector involved in land use and the wider technical and scientific communities.
OSFAC will use the following information dissemination instruments; some existing and others under development;
- Congo Letters [upcoming in two formats]PowerPoint presentations at national, regional and international forums
- Working paper and technical report series
- Research notes and policy brief series
- Posters, brochures and flyers
- Reports & maps
- Data CDs, DVDs
Working paper and technical report series
The working paper and technical report series will comprise descriptive, position papers, technical progress reports and even lessons learned from ongoing project implementation processes. OSFAC working paper and technical report series may contain opinions or suggestions from executants but based on close-quarter, ongoing field experiences. The audiences of this product are national and regional level stakeholders and actors involved in projects or other actors involved in similar projects or about to start them. These will initially be distributed in electronic format and subsequently in hard copy mail in French and English within Congo Basin countries
Research notes and policy briefs series
The research notes and policy briefs series aims to provide an avenue for young national and regional researchers, students and analysts to bring small research activities that enrich national and regional discourses on REDD+ and related forest and climate discussions to broader audiences. This series will also cover recommendations to decision makers on fast developing issues at national and regional levels that require urgent actions and cannot wait for all scientific hypotheses to be tested.
The audiences of the research notes and policy briefs series will include, though not be limited to, state institutions and private sector actors involved in land use, donors, other critical decision makers, and development institutions. Research notes and policy briefs series will also target the scientific community and may provide hypotheses for deeper enquiry. In the case of policy briefs, each will deal with a specific subject matter and will be reviewed and edited based on the needs of the project and audiences. These will initially be distributed in electronic format and subsequently in hard copy mail in French and English within Congo Basin countries
The Newsletter is published quarterly. It presents project news and will be distributed initially in electronic format and subsequently in hard copy mail, in French and English within Congo Basin countries.