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2018 CAFI Forum: focus on Land-use planning

Posted on April 23, 2018 7:34:00 AM

CAFI Annual Forum highlighted the complex dynamics of land-use planning (LUP) in Central Africa. In the face of food insecurity and growing populations, can we reconcile agricultural development and the sustainability of the forest as a resource?

UPDATE - Oslo, Norway: Representatives of Central African government, including environment, finance and land planning administrations, as well as national and international civil society, research institutions and development partners active in the region, met at the headquarters of the Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) on Friday, June 29.

With a focus on territorial processes and the socio-economic and cultural use of forest areas, Marit Brandtzæg, Deputy Director of NORAD, opened the forum with an address by in which she reiterated Norway's commitment to Central Africa.

Across four sessions, participants discussed existing activities and approaches to effective land-use planning at each of the national, local and provincial levels.

Session 1: Land-Use Planning – overview and challenges in Central Africa

The exchange focused on the perception and definition of land-use planning and its relevance in the country context – whether as a as a tool for opening up territory, for structuring the development of economic competitiveness or to facilitate the management and prevention of conflict and equal distribution of agriculture and pastoral areas.

“How can we reconcile agricultural development and the sustainability of the forest as a resource, in the face of declining food security?"

Session 2: Land-use planning at the national level

Discussions fixed on the need for multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral consultations throughout the development process of LUP schemes in order to reduce conflict and prevent the overlap of activities.

"Community land rights are essential for sustainable and equitable development, but it is often complex to secure them"

Session 3: Land-use planning at the local level

Dialogue centred on the due consideration granted to customary law during decision-making processes and the idea of participatory mapping or zoning – with regard paid to the potential that not all representatives are endorsed by their communities.

"In the debate on regional planning, we must distinguish between allocation of uses and allocation of rights"

Session 4: Land-use planning at the provincial level

The crucial question of decentralization was raised, and the institutional organization governing LUP was highlighted; particularly with regard to the delegation of power. Participants highlighted the importance of harmonized methodologies to prepare provincial plans, to ensure articulation between the different levels of LUP.

"How to secure a space for our communities for today and tomorrow, faced with a galloping population?"

Country representatives emphasized their needs for land-use planning to act as a decisive tool to support ambitious economic development plans. Participants also identified the challenges to opening up, achieving stable populations, political stability and socio-economic attractiveness on the path to achieve sustainable development.

Attendees agreed that obtaining land security, although delicate and difficult to achieve, is crucial for sustainable development in rural and forest areas of Central Africa.

Despite the significant costs associated with LUP, Central African countries did maintain that the REDD + mechanism could be a source of capital, and welcome it in this respect, timeliness being imperative.

The need to anchor institutions and the risk of LUP methodologies conflicting were identified as key challenges to overcome, as well as avoiding the creation of fragmented LUP systems, which would make it impossible to bring everything together and build national models.

Suggestions for the next edition of the CAFI Annual Forum included a continuation of discussions on LUP, in addition to other related issues such as tenure, and the hosting of the forum in a country of the subregion – to ensure participation of all relevant LUP actors.


PREVIOUSLY - Oslo, Norway: On Friday June 29, the Central African Forest Initiative will host a high-level forum on Land use planning (LUP) as an essential tool for integrated, inclusive and sustainable development.

Why is this so important? To ensure the successful implementation of development and economic diversification programs, primarily based on sectors related to land use(agriculture, forestry, mining, oil, energy, tourism, etc.), through spatial planning policies that respect the forest and its role in   fighting climate change.

The objective of the first CAFI Forum is to encourage discussions amongst regional stakeholders towards the co-construction of a new approach to development, one where forest areas are effectively managed and protected, promoting sustainable AND economic prosperity.

Given that territory in Central African Forest countries is strongly dominated by forest cover (from 41 to 93%), land management and LUP are closely linked to the
management of forest areas. This is why CAFI supports its partner countries in developing and consolidating land-use planning policies that align current and future sector development plans with land and forest availability. This has already started with the DRC programme to support LUP reform and the anticipated support to Gabon to achieve the milestones of its letter of Intent with CAFI.


Key questions for participants from the 6 CAFI partner countries will include:

  • How can we reconcile agricultural development and the sustainability of the forest as a resource, in the face of decreasing food security?
  • What value does the forest have as a resource in the face of a growing demand for space for development needs?
  • Is legislation enough to put an end to the sectoral mosaic of the forest estate?
  • What LUP needs and tools, and at which levels of territorial governance, are required to direct land use toward greater sustainability?


It takes many to answer these questions:  CAFI will gather key invited stakeholders from civil society, government, international development partners and NGO’s to join the discussion.

The full-day agenda will be shaped around land use planning success, challenges and lessons learned at various levels – national, local and provincial – and discussing  the path forward.

Concept note & Agenda (ENGLISH) (FRENCH)

Event Land use planning Homepage