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Article by Theodore Trefon 13/10/2017

Article 10/13/2017 PDF


Forest Governance and International Partnerships in the Congo Basin


The Congo Basin is home to the world’s second-largest mosaic of tropical rainforests. These forests are essential to local populations for their livelihoods, and they matter to the international community for harboring biodiversity and potentially contributing to climate change mitigation. Over the past twenty years, international partnerships have played a crucial role in supporting scientific research and forest policy design. Such partnerships have helped yield major advances in expert knowledge of forest ecology, wildlife distribution, the carbon economy, people’s role in traditional forest management practices, and forest governance from normative and political economy perspectives. Despite this progress, countries in the region still do not have clearly defined official forestry policies. This article—based on twenty-five years of related research and field experience—presents the partnership architecture that is gradually enabling stakeholders to rethink the decision-making process for this internationally recognized priority. While diplomacy and partnerships can foster progress, they will only be effective when scientific research is embedded in an environment of good governance and functioning democratic institutions. 

About the Author

Dr. Theodore Trefon studies natural resource governance at the Belgian Royal Museum for Central Africa and is currently on sabbatical at the World Resources Institute in Washington DC. Author of Congo’s Environmental Paradox (2016) and Congo Masquerade (2011), he lectures at the Ecole Régionale Postuniversitaire d'Aménagement et de Gestion Intégrés des Forêts et Territoires Tropicaux (Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo).

TOPICS: Capacity Building and Development, Science for Diplomacy, Transboundary Issues and Shared Spaces REGION: Sub-Saharan Africa TAGS: Congo, Forest, Sustainable Development


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