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Clear and coherent laws are key to successful community forestry.The Republic of Congo is currently developing its first legal framework on community forestry — presenting policymakers with a unique opportunity to design an enabling and comprehensive legal framework that empowers communities. This briefing outlines key areas the framework should be built on, including five that should be addressed as a priority. These are: establish clear land and forest tenure rights and simple and inexpensive community forest-allocation procedures; support strong internal community governance and ensure community participation and representation of vulnerable groups; assist communities to design simple community forest-management plans and decide on equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms; finally, international donors should support strategies that fully respect local communities’ and indigenous people’s rights and help communities build their capacity to take the lead in community forestry.