ROC Civil society pilot action
The project supported civil society and indigenous peoples’ organisations in the Republic of the Congo in setting up a platform to coordinate interests in REDD+. The coordination platform enabled members to influence and participate in the national REDD+ process.
Inclusive, active multi-stakeholder participation is key to good land-use governance and, as such, is both a prerequisite for the development and implementation of REDD+ and an important part of the process. The objective of the project was to cultivate broad, informed stakeholder participation, including by civil society and indigenous peoples, to ensure equity and ownership in REDD+ development and implementation in the Republic of the Congo.
Coordination platforms can be effective in organising and promoting the interests of civil society and indigenous peoples’ groups. However, a challenge for the stakeholders involved is to develop a representative platform that captures the interests of diverse members and communicates with a coordinated voice.
The Republic of the Congo began negotiating a FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union in 2008. The two parties signed the agreement in 2010. Since then, efforts have focused on developing a timber legality assurance system (TLAS). The Plateforme de Gestion Durable des Forets is the coordination platform that follows negotiations and implementation of the VPA.
The coordination platform for the VPA is the model for the Cadre de Concertation des organisations de la société civile et des populations autochtones sur la REDD+ (CACO REDD) involved in developing a national REDD+ strategy. The CACO-REDD coordination platform faces certain challenges:
- Tensions and lack of cohesion within CACO REDD hinder progress
- Differing interests create friction between civil society and indigenous peoples’ organisations
- Disconnect between CACO REDD members and their constituencies at national and local level
- Economic considerations and the inclination of NGOs to prefer to advance their own agendas and interests outweigh interest in influencing the REDD+ process
- Government is only moderately open to genuinely involving civil society and indigenous peoples’ organisations
Our approach to cultivating broad, informed stakeholder participation was to support civil society and indigenous peoples’ involvement in the REDD+ process. In 2012, the EU REDD Facility worked with Congolese and international NGOs to help national civil society and indigenous peoples’ organisations create the CACO REDD coordination platform, modelled on the FLEGT VPA coordination platform.
The Facility provided both technical and financial support to ensure that members of CACO REDD could influence and participate in the national REDD+ process. Support included:
- Training on aspects of REDD+, such as safeguards and benefit sharing
- Creating and publishing communication and outreach materials
- Developing consultation guidelines
- Supporting strategic meetings
CACO REDD training workshop, 2014
Source: EU REDD Facility
Results and impact
- Civil society and indigenous peoples’ organisations in the Republic of Congo formed CACO REDD, a platform to coordinate interests in REDD+
- Training courses on safeguards and benefit sharing provided by the Facility enabled CACO REDD working groups to actively participate in:
- Developing principles, criteria and indicators (PCI) for implementing REDD+ safeguards
- Developing a national benefit-sharing mechanism
- CACO REDD published its first newsletter, and illustrations and materials for field missions and consultations with forest communities
- Ad hoc meetings provided opportunities for members of CACO REDD to discuss and develop strategies and standpoints ahead of important milestones in the REDD+ process, for example the pre-validation of the National REDD+ Communication Strategy, under development by the National REDD Coordination (CN REDD)
- The CACO REDD coordination platform, with technical and financial support from the Facility, enabled platform members to influence and participate in the national REDD+ process
- The publication of the CACO REDD newsletter provided increased visibility to the civil society and indigenous peoples’ organisations and their priorities in the national REDD+ process in the Republic of the Congo