congo community forest

Using forest law to defend community rights in the Republic of Congo

In the Republic of Congo, laws are being developed to ensure the reformed Forest Code, which is still being drafted, will be properly implemented. ClientEarth and civil society have assessed these draft implementing decrees and identified 13 high-priority decrees that must be strengthened to protect local communities’ rights. We have formulated comments and submitted alternative proposals to these texts.

We initially worked on this law some years ago, proposing amendments to the draft Forest Code itself in 2013 and 2014. Now, we are continuing to work on the laws that will ensure proper implementation of the Forest Code.

Our involvement in the Republic of Congo

Our input into the forest reform process reflects a close and committed relationship between ClientEarth and Congolese civil society.

During the drafting process, civil society had to put pressure on the Ministry of Forestry, Sustainable Development and the Environment to be transparent and share information on the draft implementing decrees.

Following this, over 200 pages of text were received and civil society was left with very limited time to work on the new draft decrees.

The relentless effort and persistence of civil society, along with our support, was instrumental in identifying the 13 decrees which need to be strengthened.

ClientEarth forests lawyer Tanja Venisnik said:

“Our work on the reform of forests law helps to improve access and rights of local communities to land and natural resources. Ultimately, we ensure that their voice is heard. Their rights must be respected in decision-making processes which will significantly impact their livelihoods.”

We will follow the next stage of the reform process closely, to ensure that drafting processes are transparent and local communities are heard in decisions that affect their land and their livelihoods.

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Annie Spratt