GIZ COMIFAC project assists CEFDHAC networks in developing their strategies!



 Towards effective multi-stakeholder participation in decision-making

Two strategy documents of the CEFDHAC networks have been drafted and validated through an inclusive, participatory process within each of the networks thanks to multi-faceted support from the GIZ COMIFAC regional project.


The civil society role played by CEFDHAC and its networks, in which all segments of Central African populations are represented, and CEFDHAC’s relevance to the sub-region’s institutional landscape, highlight the importance of developing the networks’ strategies as a means of enhancing civil society’s performance and contribution to environmentally relevant socio-political and economic issues and thus improve the living conditions of populations in the sub region. This effort is in line with the GIZ Regional Project to support COMIFAC whose component 4 aims to ensure more effective involvement of civil society representatives in developing strategies and policies.


Indigenous peoples and local communities (PACL) remain vulnerable in COMIFAC member countries as a whole, due to limited consideration and even complete lack of awareness of their struggles, in the States’ environmental, economic, social and cultural policy documents. In the same vein, women are often sidelined from negotiations and decision-making relating to sustainable development, and are left to simply implement measures which do not always take their true concerns into account.


In the light of all these findings, how can the Network of Indigenous peoples and Local communities of Central Africa (REPALEAC), the African Women’s Sustainable Development Network (REFADD), help improve the situation of vulnerable groups, participate in decision-making, implementation of policies and also in improving their living conditions?


As a matter of fact, in the framework of the Regional GIZ Project to support COMIFAC and its support of civil society through CEFDHAC, an organizational and institutional diagnosis of CEFDAHC was conducted and one of the recommendations from the diagnosis was that CEFDHAC and its networks should be supported in carrying out wide-ranging organizational development. It is in answer to this recommendation that the GIZ project at the request of the networks through CEFDHAC, has been assisting REPALEAC, REFADD in developing their strategies. These are strategic reference frameworks for prioritizing the interventions of the aboriginal people and women, designed to guide the implementation of their action plans. These documents also count as the networks’ contribution to the implementation of the COMIFAC convergence plan.


 "Joint participation in sustainable natural resources management helps to effectively improve the living conditions of Central African populations " Such is the vision set out by the REFADD women in their strategy for 2017 to 2025. The strategy is built around three priority axes and one cross-cutting axis. The first one deals with fostering effective gender mainstreaming in sustainable development policies and programs in Central Africa. The second axis focuses on communication, information, awareness and education of women of Central Africa on the importance of being involved in sustainable natural resources management. As for the third priority axis, it places the emphasis on developing entrepreneurship and empowering women in Central Africa in line with the requirements of sustainable development. The cross-cutting axis focuses on consolidating REFADD’s commitment to promoting and defending women’s interests Central Africa with a view to ensuring their involvement in all sustainable development initiatives.


REPALEAC’s strategy for its part, as defined for the period 2017 to 2025, is based on a vision (a Central African sub region that values and preserves nature with the help of indigenous peoples and local communities) and is structured around four priority axes and a cross-cutting axis outlined below: (1) securing the IPLC’s land, territories and natural resources; (2) participation of IPLC in decisions relating to access to and sustainable management of land, forests and natural resources at local, national and international levels, (3) increase and consolidation of sustainable economic benefits received by IPCL from sustainable management of natural resources and forests; (4) improvement of living conditions of IPLC and (5 cross-cutting axis) defending the interests of IPLC in Central Africa.


These strategy documents begin by setting out the vision, purpose and values of each network. The next section presents the strategic axes around which their strategic and operational objectives are articulated. For each operational objective, results in the form of impacts and outcomes are defined and monitoring indicators identified. The implementation framework outlines the institutional arrangements which set out the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders in the strategic framework and lastly the follow-up and evaluation mechanism focuses on the results in order to ensure not only implementation of activities set out in the strategic framework, but also follow-up in line with the objectives and expectations of various actors and beneficiaries.


It should be noted these strategies are all developed in a participatory and inclusive manner within each network in accordance with time frames defined in the revised COMIFAC Convergence Plan. Similar processes are underway within the Central Africa Forest Youth Leaders’ Network (REJEFAC) and the Network of Parliamentarians for Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (REPAR).  


The strategy papers meet the shared expectations of beneficiaries and technical and financial partners, regarding various possibilities of supporting civil society through CEFDHAC in Central Africa in implementing the Convergence Plan.


Chantal EDOA



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