Date(s) - 22/09/2023
Rainforest Foundation Norway
Closing Date: 22nd September 2023
Contract Value: 92,000 USD
Anticipated Dates of Project: 1st February 2022 – 30th September 2025
The Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLC) Forest Facility (IFF) is a project implemented by Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN), designed as a unique innovation to enable greater engagement by civil society and IPLCs in forest management and forest governance on the provincial/jurisdictional level. RFN is an organization specialized in rainforest protection and IPLC rights. With experience from all rainforest regions, an extensive network of partners and allies, and a focused global policy program, RFN provides a unique experience base and is positioned to make a difference. In this project, RFN is taking on the role of “incubator” for the establishment of the IFF and plans to empower the Facility sufficiently to eventually become an independent mechanism, designed with the consultation of IPLCs, and managed in-country. The creation of an IFF will address two urgent, parallel needs: 1) the need for special measures to conserve the remaining tracts of large high-integrity forests1 and 2) the need for land tenure regimes, spatial planning and development interventions to support IPLCs.
To ensure long-term security for DRC’s forests, and to strengthen the role of communities in forest governance, the IFF will primarily support the establishment of effective, equitable, rights-based management regimes for high-integrity forests. The facility will focus on creating integrated mosaics of Indigenous/community land tenure and protected areas, recognized and supported in government-endorsed spatial and jurisdictional plans. To achieve large-scale impacts, direct financial and technical support is needed for this core set of approaches in and around each high integrity forest area. The project recognizes the need to protect high-integrity forests at relatively large ecosystem and landscape scales, which encompass a mosaic of land types and uses and requires working with a diverse range of communities and stakeholders.
With an emphasis on complementing and adding value to existing REDD+ and conservation programmes, the IFF will use small grants to support clusters of community-based activities that are intended to strengthen preservation of high-integrity forests and to enhance local development. The decentralized structure of the IFF will encourage maximum community-level ownership, and initiative. IFF’s financial support will be both direct and flexible to support IPLCs, community-based organizations and CSOs and research institutes. The IFF’s grant mechanisms will prioritize provision of financial support to groups that are usually unable to receive funding from existing donors.
To ensure success, investment is also needed to support greater civil society involvement in establishing four key enabling conditions:
1. Good governance and systematic respect for the rights of all individuals.
2. The creation of supportive, multi-stakeholder conservation strategies.
3. Reduction of threats due to economic drivers (e.g. commodity supply chains, infrastructure).
4. Investment in ‘green economy’ alternative development pathways.
In practical terms the IFF would support the following activities:
• Direct assistance (funding, capacity building, technical advice) to projects of IPLC groups and local organizations in community-based rainforest management, covering establishment, development and implementation of simple management plans of CFCLs, the development of economic activities, and collaborations between communities.
• Strengthening the involvement of IPLCs in protected area management, including the benefits of protected areas as ‘regional anchors’ for sustainable development and better governance.
• Technical support enabling civil society to engage more effectively on land-use planning and decision-making with provincial and national authorities and administrations, as well as REDD+ implementing agencies and private sector actors.
• Activities could potentially include climate payments to communities managing their forests successfully, depending on national policy developments.
The vision of the project is that eventually, the IFF will become independent and appropriated by the IFF Secretariat in Kinshasa. In order to establish an IFF which functions effectively and in the long-term for the activities above, there has to be local buy-in and uptake. One risk in the planning stage of the project is that the design process for the Facility is not participative enough or doesn’t sufficiently consult local stakeholders who will be the main users. If RFN wants to eventually phase out its involvement after the incubation stage (Feb 2022 – Sep 2025) and achieve the establishment of a durable, independent Facility, special attention needs to be given to the strategy for including stakeholders in the design process and empowering the IFF beyond the project period. This should be the underlying theme of all parts of the evaluation.