About the Congo Basin Program
The Congo Basin Program (CBP) is part of the Tropical Timber Program of the Sustainable Trade Initiative which aims to accelerate the sustainable production and trade of tropical timber. The CBP supports concession holders on their way to responsible forest management and the certification thereof. The CBP is a true partnership program, working in close collaboration with WWF/GFTN, ICCO, Fair Tropical Timber and PPECF.
In order to preserve natural forests, a viable option is to add value to the forests through commercial exploitation in a sustainable & responsible manner. Through the mechanism of forest certification one can assure the responsible use of forest resources. Currently, almost 5.4 million ha of forest concessions are FSC certified within the Congo Basin region. By increasing the area under responsible management with another 4 million ha, a push will be given to move the sector as a whole towards sustainability.
Ambitions of the Congo Basin Program
The CBP anticipates to include both large and small producers in the process. The focus lies on Gabon, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Congo Republic and Ghana. The ambitions of the program are classified into certification, market and objectives for the creation of an enabling environment:
- 4 million hectares of additional certified natural forest;
- Improvements on already FSC certified concessions for 1.5 million hectares;
- Increase local processing by 25% for at least 5 companies;
- Establish at least 5 (semi-)commercial partnerships between community foresters & timber companies;
Creation of an Enabling Environment
- Capacity building of local NGOs through the buddy-system;
- Stimulate further development and implementation of regional and national FSC standards;
- Pilot with PEFC*;
- Good example of FSC certification in DRC.
The CBP’s core component to realize the objectives is a fund through which concession holders can apply for co-funding of 9 relevant services. Click here for more information about the different services.
Besides direct collaborations with forest companies, two pilot projects have been developed under the CBP. The first is on group certification of community forests in Cameroon, the second on participative micro-zoning in DRC.
Contribution to sustainability
Together with other support programs, eventually a critical mass is expected to push the market to the tipping point after which sector-wide change will occur, making responsible forest management mainstream.
* Currently this component is set on hold due to a lack of serious interest among companies