A new £5million project is to be launched by the University of Wolverhampton to transform the lives of people in the Congo rainforest and protect the endangered environment.
The Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) has secured funding of 6.25m Euros from the European Union to support forest governance in five Congo Basin countries.
The project will benefit 75 million poor men, women and young people living in forest dependent areas in the Congo Basin, which is home to the second largest tropical rain-forested area in the world.
Over the next four years, the CIDT team will work with partners in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Gabon and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The aim is to work in partnership with local organisations and communities to ensure private sector companies are working within their contracts and operating within EU timber regulations governing deforestation and legal exports.
CIDT has significant experience of forest governance projects and improving sustainability in some of the poorest areas of the world by working alongside indigenous peoples and local organisations.
The project aims to empower the communities to monitor activities on the ground in the countries, ensuring social agreements are met.
CIDT experts have significant experience of working in communities on forest governance projects in countries such as Nepal, Cameroon, Ghana and Liberia.
They will spend time in the Congo Basin working with partners in the country, sharing their expertise and knowledge to build capacity.
Dr Aurelian Mbzibain, Programme Manager for the Citizen Voices for Change project, said: “We are delighted to have secured funding for this major project in the Congo Basin, which will positively impact on the lives of millions of people living in forest communities.
“CIDT has significant experience of forest governance projects and improving sustainability in some of the poorest areas of the world by working alongside indigenous peoples and local organisations.
“This 6.25m Euro project will establish a strong and sustainable partnership of forest monitoring NSAs (non-state actors, such as community organisations) in the five countries.
“The aim is to strengthen the contribution of NSAs to improving forest governance, sustainable forest management and the contribution of forests to development.”