Located in the Central Africa, the Republic of Congo, or “the Congo,” has a total land area of 342,000 km2 with a largely flat terrain and a population estimated at 4.4 million. Forest covers an estimated at 22,471,271 hectares, or 65 percent of national territory. Despite 60 percent of the population living in the five main cities of Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, Dolisie, Nkayi, and Ouesso, the majority still depends on forests to secure their livelihoods. The Congo’s economy is mainly based on natural resources, including oil and timber, which represent 60 percent and 10 percent of GDP respectively. Agriculture employs 40% of the workforce, but only accounts for 6 percent of GDP.
Since moving into an era of peace and stability, the Congo has become a champion of sustainable tropical forest management planning, participating in the EU-FLEGT initiative and implementing an ambitious forest certification program. Current deforestation and degradation rates are estimated around 0.2 percent. However, more than half a million hectares of forest lands could vanish each year between 2015 to 2020 as a result of the country’s National Development Plan and the Congo 2025 Vision (a strategy aimed at making the Congo an emerging economy by 2025). These plans include ambitious targets for promoting soft commodities such as coffee, cocoa, rubber and palm oil, as well as mining activities and logging. Alongside unsustainable wood fuel consumption, illegal logging, and urban development, these plans may exacerbate deforestation rates. Recognizing these risks, the Congolese government has partnered with the REDD+ activities to assist in sustainable development and forest conservation. The REDD+ process is seen as a unique leverage to foster cross-sector harmonious land planning.
Forest covers an estimated at 22,471,271 hectares, or 65% of national territory in the Congo.
In conjunction with the World Bank, the Olam Group, and the United Nations, the Congo is partnering with the CIF to leverage FIP funding. The FIP resources will enable the Congo in its plans to reduce annual emissions by 50 percent by 2030, and at least 40 million tons of CO2 reduced between 2015 and 2020. Created in partnership with the Olam Group, the Emissions Reduction Program in Northern Congo is expected to result in 11.7 million tons of avoided CO2 emissions through 2020. FIP interventions will be developed with a perfect alignment of the ER Program and REDD+ activities. Alongside the Congo’s existing commitment to sustainable forest management, FIP funding is expected to foster an enabling regulatory environment and attractive climate for investments. Carbon asset creation combined with enhanced development co-benefits will shape this long maturation within the Congo, while ensuring sustainability of transformational changes.