As the second largest tropical forest area in the world, the Congo Basin provides not only biodiversity but also carbon storage of global importance. The forests in this region are estimated to represent a carbon sink of 24-39Gt. Although the region’s ecosystems have been well preserved compared to many other regions, their natural resources are under increasing pressure.
The annual deforestation rate in the Congo Basin is estimated to be 10,000 km2, or 0.6 percent. FAO 2007 statistics show that 65.9 million tons of carbon are released every year from this region.
Overview of the project
The main objective of the project is to improve the Congo Basin countries’ knowledge of and capacity for REDD issues, and to help them to articulate this new concept within the broader agenda of SFM.
To achieve this objective, the project will build capacities for measurement and monitoring of carbon stocks through various types of technical assistance. These will:
- Establish and adopt a reliable methodology to measure and monitor carbon stocks in Congo Basin forests, in line with IPCC guidelines and GEF standardized methodology
- Establish forest carbon stock baselines in all Congo Basin countries according to the new methodology
- Monitor forest GHG fluxes and fully integrate them into national GHG inventories
- Reinforce scientific partnership at the regional level.
In addition, the project will facilitate consultation processes and organize sensitization campaigns at local and national levels. It will foster cross-sectoral coordination and strengthen national capacities to develop sound policies to efficiently reduce pressure on forest ecosystems in the region. The project will also set up a regional platform that will be managed by the Secretariat of the Central African Forest Commission (COMIFAC). Its aim is to help the Congo Basin countries improve coordination of their international negotiations on climate change.
Added Value of GEF Involvement in the Project
The GEF brings distinctive added value to this project. First, GEF support provides COMIFAC with an opportunity to set up a regional platform that ensures coordination among Congo Basin countries, donors, and other partners. Such a platform is critically important in order to establish harmonized financial mechanisms that integrate carbon benefits from the REDD initiatives into the region-wide framework of the Strategic Program for Sustainable Forest Management of the Congo Basin. Second, this project will enable the GEF to gain experience in developing benefit-sharing mechanisms, which the organization can apply in its global SFM initiatives. This experience will be valuable to the stakeholders of the GEF’s global SFM project (above), Capacity Development for Climate Change Mitigation through Sustainable Forest Management in non-Annex I Countries. Moreover, based on such lessons, the GEF could significantly contribute to the forest-carbon‒related agenda at the international negotiations of the UNFCCC.