The Central African Republic (CAR) and the Republic of Congo are the first Congo Basin countries to sign the joint Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) declaration.
Launched in September 2015, CAFI aims to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in Central Africa, mitigating climate change, reducing poverty and contributing to sustainable development.
Through the initiative, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo will develop national investment plans to address deforestation.
A coalition of donors – the European Union, Germany, Norway, France and the United Kingdom – will support these efforts.
The joint declaration outlines how the goals will be achieved: by implementing national REDD+ investment plans, which will include policy reforms, as well as measures to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, and boost development.
For this positive initiative to bear fruit, it must be coherent with existing mechanisms that strengthen peoples’ rights to land and improve forest governance, such as the FLEGT VPA, and it must provide for civil society oversight and involvement, which receive limited attention in the declaration. Only then can CAFI work for forest peoples.