Historic US $ 500 million deal launched at COP26 to protect DR Congo’s forest – Democratic Republic of the Congo


* Glasgow, November 2, 2021 * – President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, on behalf of the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), today approved an ambitious 10-year agreement (2021 -31) to protect the Congo Basin rainforest – the second largest in the world.

“With its forests, its waters and its mineral resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo is a real“ Country of Solution ”to the climate crisis. To protect our forest and promote its sustainable management, our priority, backed by this new partnership, is to strengthen governance. and transparency in all sectors of land use. The Partnership will also support our ambition to respond to the dual challenge of food security and climate change through sustainable agriculture, mainly in the savannas, ”said President Tshisekedi.

All sectors of the DRC economy have joined this historic agreement to take actions that could change land use practices that date back thousands of years. These concerted efforts are essential in a country the size of Western Europe with one of the lowest human development indices in the world and which loses nearly half a million hectares of forest each year.

Through this new multi-year partnership, the DRC first aims to cap the loss of forest cover at its 2014-2018 average and to ensure that deforestation continues to decline. The partnership will also promote the regeneration of 8 million hectares of degraded land and forests and place 30% of national areas under protection status, including areas where local communities are undertaking efforts to manage forests sustainably.

Lord Goldsmith, UK Minister for the Pacific and the Environment said “the UK is proud to sign this ambitious ten year letter of intent with the Central African Forests Initiative alongside the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is a crucial step in our efforts. protect and restore the country’s precious forests, as well as provide sustainable livelihoods and reduce poverty “.

Exacerbated by extreme poverty, forest loss in DRC is mainly due to a growing population with no means of subsistence outside the forest and relying mainly on firewood for cooking, all in the absence of planning for the environment. land use. Any solution proposed to stem the disappearance of forests in the DRC must therefore focus on rural development, poverty reduction and better food security.

CAFI’s $ 500 million support over the first five years more than doubles the $ 190 million provided under the first Letter of Intent (2015-2020), whose goals were met through a portfolio of over twenty programs that have supported large-scale reforms in agriculture, land-land use planning and tenure; oriented agricultural activities towards tens of thousands of hectares of savannah; and improved the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people.

The announcement at COP26 concludes months of discussions between CAFI donors and DRC ministers, in which national civil society has been fully involved. In a press release, Guy Kajemba, National Coordinator of the umbrella organization of civil society “Renovated REDD + Climate Working Group” declared: “We welcome this renewed partnership. It will help us to monitor closely the commitments made, including the steps that will lead to a and the gradual lifting of the moratorium, the publication of contracts in all sectors related to land use and the commitment made by President Tshisekedi cancel all questionable forest concession contracts. We are particularly encouraged by the mobilization of all sectors engaged to protect our high value forests and peatlands. “


  1. High-value forests, peatlands and community logging concessions are systematically integrated into land use plans, with the aim of maintaining the important role they play.
  2. The proportion of unsustainable fuelwood (e.g. charcoal) for cooking is halved in the main urban centers by 2030 (note: 97% of Kinshasa 13 million inhabitants use fuelwood daily for cooking and consume more than 17 million tonnes of wood per year, mainly unsustainable).
  3. No agro-industrial concessions will be awarded in high-value forests and peatlands.
  4. Transparency in the governance of natural resources is enhanced by the legal review of existing agricultural, forestry, mining and petroleum concessions, the cancellation of illegal ones, as well as the publication of all contracts (related to the Transparency Initiative extractive industries – EITI)
  5. Transparent allocation procedures are followed for agricultural and forestry concessions.
  6. Forest governance is improved through tighter control and an ambitious target of 5 million hectares of community forestry, doubling the original national target, as well as a legal and regulatory framework adopted to protect the rights of indigenous peoples. The signing of the Decree lifting the moratorium will only be adopted after the completion, on the basis of a consultative process, of the geographic programming of future allocations.
  7. In line with the 30 x 30 Global Commitment, the DRC commits that 30% of the country will be in various forms of protection status by 2030, while respecting the right to free, prior and informed consent and ensuring that the voices of marginalized communities are heard. This includes areas that communities themselves dedicate to protection through a zoning process at the local level that they lead.
  8. Eight million hectares of degraded land and forests will be restored, in line with the DRC’s commitment under the Bonn Global Challenge on the restoration of degraded and deforested landscapes
  9. The new innovative land law and policy is adopted by the end of 2022 and implemented, with the deployment of a decentralized land information system that includes land registers at community level.
  10. New social and environmental standards are defined and adopted to reduce the impact of mining and petroleum investments on forests and biodiversity, with reinforced measures in high value-added forests and peatlands. Any activity incompatible with the conservation objectives in the Protected Areas is prohibited.
  11. A rights-based, evidence-based, gender-responsive national population policy is adopted by 2030 to promote a demographic transition that stimulates economic growth and achieves development goals.
  12. A forest-friendly special economic zone model is piloted to support a low-deforestation green economy and takes into account high-value forests, peatlands and land-use planning processes.


Note to editors

The DRC’s forest represents 10% of the world’s tropical forests. Its peatlands cover 100,000 km2 and are the largest in the world. Its ecosystem offers a carbon absorption service equivalent to 10 years of global emissions. The many commitments reflected in the new letter of intent demonstrate the DRC’s high level of determination to pursue a low deforestation green economy.

Supported by five European countries, the Republic of Korea, the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Central African Forests Initiative (CAFI) is a trust fund UN special and a platform for political dialogue that aims to support six Central African countries. countries in pursuit of a low-emission development path that ensures economic growth and poverty reduction while protecting the forests and natural resources on which people depend. CAFI thus combines investments and high-level political dialogue to help its six partner countries implement the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, fight against poverty and develop sustainably while aligning itself with the framework of the post-2020 biodiversity.

The tropical rainforest of Central Africa is under pressure. While trends and causes vary widely across national contexts, forest loss accounts for more than 6 million hectares of primary tropical forest since 2001, the equivalent of around 6 million rugby fields.

Home to over 10,000 plant and animal species, many of which are endemic, the Central African rainforest is an indispensable source of food, energy, shelter and spirituality in countries with some of the lowest human development indices. lower and the greatest number of people in urgent need. aid to food security in the world.

The Congo Basin is one of the last regions in the world to absorb more carbon than it emits. Its forest, the second largest in the world, absorbs nearly 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year, or 4% of global emissions.

Website: www.cafi.org Twitter: @CAFISecretariat

Media inquiries for CAFI

United Nations Development Program | Sarah Bel, Communication Specialist Call +41 79 934 11 17 | [email protected]

CAFI | Estelle Fach, Secretariat of the Central African Forests Initiative | [email protected]

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