Central Africa Region
Central Africa is home to the second largest rainforest on Earth, spanning a vast area of the African continent known worldwide for its forests and wildlife. Given its international expanse, fostering regional collaboration is crucial to effectively address deforestation and forest degradation and threats to biodiversity in the Congo Basin.
As Congo Basin countries focus on their most pressing development and environmental issues, they are acquiring invaluable knowledge about the least studied forests on earth. Facilitating regional networks for the exchange of technical knowledge and management best practice is an essential step in helping these countries work together to protect their shared resources.
The U.S. Forest Service currently supports the Central Africa Forest Commission (COMIFAC), the regional body responsible for coordinating regional forest and environmental policy and the affiliated Network of Forestry and Environmental Training Institutions of Central Africa (RIFFEAC), the regional entity responsible for supporting higher education related to forestry and the environment. As a U.S. Government land management agency, the U.S. Forest Service is well placed to work with government and regional land management institutions such as COMIFAC, RIFFEAC and OFAC (Central Africa Forest Observatory) to harmonize and disseminate policies and best practices that support sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation.
Regional programming also includes training aimed to increase countries’ capacity in carbon accounting so they are able to make more informed resource management decisions. The U.S. Forest Service, in collaboration with the Carbon Institute, has been training university professors, ministry officials and technical experts to better measure, monitor, and report on carbon emissions related to land use change. To date, more than 75 professors, officials, and experts have been trained through this program. In partnership with the Department of Justice, the U.S. Forest Service has also trained judicial and law enforcement personnel to develop, investigate, and prosecute illegal logging cases to strengthen forest governance and deter illegal logging.
Other ongoing U.S. Forest Service regional activities include providing scholarships for ministry staff from across the region to obtain master’s degrees in sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation and supporting partners to participate in the U.S. Forest Service International Programs’ technical seminar series in the United States. This program gives participants the opportunity to learn from resource management examples in the U.S. as well as from other countries around the world.
learn more about our Regional work
The U.S. Forest Service has been providing technical assistance in Central Africa since the commencement of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) in 1997.
Regional activities are supported by USAID’s CARPE program as well by the U.S. Department of State.