REDD+ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation

Democratic Republic of the Congo promotes proactive forest loss assessment with a robust national forest monitoring system


In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as in many other African countries, the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is a major national strategic priority. The Democratic Republic of the Congo in the past has had limited technical capacity to produce and utilize data necessary for monitoring forest cover and changes. More recently, the country has established a national forest monitoring system (NFMS) to promote sustainable forest management practices and to make informed policy decisions on reducing forest loss.

FAO’s recent webinar “Forest Data and Transparency: ‘Zoom in’ on the Experience of the Democratic Republic of the Congo” highlighted the country’s experience in establishing its NFMS.

The event took place on 23 September and drew around 150 participants who had a chance to interact with experts from FAO and the DRC government, and learn about the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) under Article 13 of the Paris Agreement. The webinar touched upon how the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) can support the implementation of the Paris Agreement and how FAO is contributing to enhanced transparency in the forest sector through the global project Building global capacity to increase transparency in the forest sector (CBIT-Forest).

At the webinar, a new CBIT-Forest case study was introduced focusing on the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s experiences in establishing a national forest monitoring system to promote sustainable forest management.


Assessing and reporting on the state of DRC’s forests

FAO has supported more than 50 countries in their development of robust National Forest Monitoring Systems (NFMS), with the goal of developing reliable forest resource information for application in creating forest policies, planning and sustainable development. National forest monitoring systems aim to produce high-quality, reliable data on forests, including forest-carbon estimates, which are critical in country-led actions to reduce the deforestation and degradation of forests.

“Building a National Forest Monitoring System is a national-scale effort that must consider multiple institutional, technical and financial aspects,” emphasized Julian Fox, National Forest Monitoring Team Leader at FAO. “The system should increase transparency, reliability of the information produced and ensure a long-term perspective, through participatory processes that include multiple stakeholders with different skills, who must be identified and informed throughout.”

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the successful establishment and management of the country’s NFMS is due to its multipurpose and participatory approach. The country’s REDD+ National Fund (FONAREDD), utilizes the NFMS not only for international reporting to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) but also as a tool that provides useful information to stakeholders outside the forestry sector, such as economic actors and investors. Collaboration and coordination between relevant stakeholders have been strengthened through the use of the Plateforme Technique de Concertation (PTC), a platform for technical exchange on NFMS issues.

These actions have catalyzed increasing transparency in forest and land-use data as well as strengthening technical and institutional capacities and partnerships. An inter-ministerial dialogue framework has been established to facilitate collaboration among relevant ministries. At the same time, technical capacity of 55 DIAF officials has been strengthened to detect and monitor land cover change, to acquire and process satellite images, to plan, design and manage National Forest Inventory, and to analyse data and construct a forest reference emission level.

 “The NFMS tools contribute to improving the management of our forests so that we may reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. FAO plays a pivotal role in the capacity-building of our staff,” noted Benjamin Toirambe, General Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is also the first African country to consolidate its NFMS geospatial data within FAO’s Hand-in-Hand (HiH) geospatial platform, representing a step forward toward transparent, cross-sectoral, geospatial data across the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

Forest data for transparent and reliable climate actions in DRC

Ensuring the transparency of forest data is crucial for achieving climate goals. The signing of the Paris Agreement was a turning point in global climate action, bringing all countries together for the common cause of limiting climate change and its impacts. To boost ambition and confidence in the entire process and provide clarity on the world’s collective progress, the new Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) was agreed upon at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland.

Specifically, the ETF was established to guide countries on reporting their greenhouse gas emissions, their progress toward their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), their climate change impacts and adaptation, as well as support provided and mobilized, and support needed and received.

To receive support in unpacking the ETF, many forested countries have requested support under various initiatives, including the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT). FAO/GEF CBIT-Forest was launched in late 2019 to strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of developing countries to produce and use forest data as well as to meet the enhanced transparency requirements of the Paris Agreement, responding to Article 13 and contributing to tackling climate change.

“Transparency and Article 13 is a foundation of the Paris Agreement,” says Rocio Condor, FAO Forestry Officer at FAO. “CBIT-Forest has a significant role to play as it will help forested countries, like the Democratic Republic of the Congo strengthen and build the necessary institutional arrangements to support this transition.”

FAO will continue supporting countries in producing high-quality, reliable forest and land-use data to make sound and data-driven decisions and policies and support national and international reporting requirements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).


Related resources:

Case study "The Democratic Republic of the Congo establishes a national forest monitoring system to promote sustainable forest management" in English, French and Spanish

Article Pandemic Lessons: Open Data for Forest and Climate Action

Article Open and transparent: forest data setting the course under the Paris Agreement

Article How a Robust National Forest Monitoring System Can Boost Transparency under the Paris Agreement

Article Towards accurate, open and transparent forest data

Publication National forest monitoring system assessment tool: Quick guidance




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