The Mai Ndombe REDD+ project is the first REDD project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – supported by the Congolese government and the UN REDD Programme. It protects 300,000 hectare of tropical rainforest and has multiple positive effects on climate change mitigation, the protection of biodiversity and local living conditions. The project area is home to 50.000 people living in 26 villages. Our partner company Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc. works closely with local people and communities to implement the project, for example to sustainably produce firewood and charcoal. The project also aims to build additional schools, improve medical service and sustainable agriculture.
The forests in the Mai Ndombe region are threatened by a growing demand of tropical hardwoods, an increasing population and poverty driven illegal logging. The REDD project turns a logging into a conservation concession: In August 2011, the Congolese government has assigned Offsetters Climate Solutions Inc. the conservation concession for 25 years. An essential part of the project is a lengthy and ongoing consultation process with all villages involved. Its key elements:
+ Fair revenue sharing and performance based payments
+ Direct payments to local communities and representations of local administration
+ Trigger for development through improved education and infrastructure
+ 30 year project duration enables long term local development
The Congo Basin is home to the second largest rainforest in the world, after the Amazon Basin. And the Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to half of the entire forest stand on the African continent. The project area with its dense rain and swamp forest in the western province Bandundu is the natural habitat for chimpanzees, bonobos and forest elephants. The project will preserve ecosystem integrity, healthy soils, watersheds, fish stocks, and wildlife habitat. It will prevent a complete loss of forest cover due to legal and illegal industrial logging as well as unsustainable land use practices.
Social and economical benefits
So far, the 50.000 people of the Mai Ndombe region are making a living from fishing, shifting cultivation and charcoal production. The project will create new working opportunities : forest guards, tree nursery, monitoring crews, and school construction. New agricultural techniques will enable local farmers to increase and diversify crops and yields in a sustaineble way. Revenues from selling carbon credits will be channeled directly into the project region. A „Local Development Fund“, managed by a committe of villagers, decides how the income will be spent. Constructions works for two of 19 new schools are already under way. New or improved wells and hospital wards will be built as well. Overall, 30 people are already working for the project, around 100 additional workers will be needed to move the project forward.
The project is considered a pilot for the United Nations REDD Programme approach of establishing REDD+ on provincial levels within the DRC.