Emission Reductions Program in Sangha and Likouala, Republic of Congo

About the Program

The Republic of the Congo Emission Reductions Program is a jurisdictional-scale REDD+ program developed in collaboration between Terra Global and the Congo National Coordination body (CN-REDD) and the World Bank under its Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The program focuses on the Departments of Likouala and Sangha which represent some of the most remote regions of the Republic of Congo – if not all of Central Africa. The ER Program covers over 12 million hectares of forest with endemic flora and fauna and indigenous peoples that have co-existed for millennia, and species and cultures have yet to be discovered. The National Geographic nicknamed this unique frontier The Last Place on Earth. 

Addressing Commericial and Community Drivers of Deforestation and Degradation

In recent years, the two departments have experienced increasing deforestation and degradation and are currently under pressure to extract and use resources. Congo’s Emission Reductions Program (ER-Program) comes at the most critical time for the two departments and for the Republic of the Congo to support sustainable development and a green economy to empower businesses active in the region, rural communities and the government of Congo to combat climate change and improve the rural livelihoods.

The ER Program is designed to mitigate a host of direct drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the program area including logging exploitation, agro-industrial production (palm oil), slash-and-burn agriculture and mining as an emerging driver. Activities will also seek to address underlying causes of deforestation including weak governance, lack of policy coordination and land use planning, poverty and insufficient enabling conditions for sustainable economic activities, population growth and infrastructure development. 

The program will address degradation in forest concession areas by engaging forest concessionaires in reduced impact logging and forest protection (set aside areas), and promoting forest certification. The program also aim to reduce emissions from deforestation i) in palm oil concessions by avoiding the conversion of forests with high conservation value (HCV) through contractual agreements and the promotion of certification under the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard), and ii) in mining concessions through reduced impact planning of mine sites and supporting infrastructure.  In addition, the program will work with communities to improve their livelihoods and provide alternative sources of income by i) promoting the production of cocoa by smallholders through agroforestry systems in degraded forests, ii) promoting smallholder outgrower schemes for palm oil on deforested areas, and (iii) introducing conservation agriculture (cassava, maize) to increase agricultural productivity and crop diversification in degraded areas. And lastly, the program includes measures to improve the management of existing protected areas through improved protected area management and alternative income generating activities for communities. 

Accessing Results-based Payments

Terra is the technical lead, with our partner GeoEcoMap, for developing the Emission Reductions Program Document (ERPD), the final document necessary for a REDD+ Country Participants to start the process of quantifying their actual emission reductions to receive results-based payments from the Carbon Fund.  This technical and analytical work included quantification of emission reductions, assessing drivers of planned and unplanned deforestation/degradation, designing program activities to address drivers, stakeholder engagement, benefit sharing design, safeguards, financial and operational planning, and MRV system design.

Setting an appropriate and accurate forest emission level is an essential step establishing the “business as usual” case from which results-based payments will be made. However, like other high forest-low deforestation countries, past deforestation and degradation in Sangha and Likouala has been relatively small, but this pattern is changing as the region develops and makes it commodities available to the global economy, and the population and access to forests increase as never before. Terra developed a multivariate approach to applying an upward adjustment to the historical emission levels to reflect the difference between the future emissions and historical averages.  This including analyzing future road construction, population increases, and new concessions for oil palm, mining, and industrial forestry.  

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