PROFOR: Balancing Mining Development and Forest Conservation in the Congo Basin - A land-use modeling exercise in the forest, biodiversity and ore-rich "Tridom area" (straddling the Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Gabon)

New activities include: (1) Balancing Mining Development and Forest Conservation in the Congo Basin - A land-use modeling exercise in the forest, biodiversity and ore-rich "Tridom area" (straddling the Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Gabon) (2)  Advancing Ecosystem Market Intelligence - To scale up and reduce risks in investment in natural capital.(3)  Contributions to the Economics of Drylands Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa - How landscape and tree-based approaches can help reduce vulnerability. (4) Political Economy Analysis for Decision Making in Forestry - An analysis of the drivers of forest governance reforms. (5) Approaches to Assessing Impacts of Forest Governance Interventions - Are widely available impact evaluation techniques suitable? (6) Building Partnerships with the Forest and Farm Facility - To improve collaboration among key organizations.

 

Although starting from a low base, deforestation in the Congo Basin is  expected to increase significantly as investments in agriculture,  transportation, mining and energy grow in response to global, regional  and local demand. But the trade-off between economic growth and forest  protection is not a done deal. According to the authors of Deforestation  Trends in the Congo Basin: Reconciling economic growth and forest  protection,  there are steps policymakers can take now to minimize forest loss and  put in place "forest-friendly" growth, for example by prioritizing  agricultural expansion on degraded lands or planning transport corridors  away from forests of high conservation value.

In the mining sector, early planning for the development of mineral  resources (including associated infrastructure such as roads, railroads  and energy) could help reduce the footprint and enhance the  sustainability of development. The World Bank's Africa Region and Oil,  Gas, and Mining Policy Division propose to test state-of-the-art land  use planning approaches in the case of the "Tridom" area (the  Tri-national Dja-Odzala-Minkébé area, straddling the Republic of Congo,  Cameroon and Gabon). The area includes both a network of protected areas  (with a very high concentration of elephants and great apes), and one of  the largest untapped iron ore reserves on earth. It also has significant  hydroelectric power potential and is home to indigenous peoples who  depend on the forest for their survival.



The documentary film Heart of Iron,  produced by WWF with support from the World Bank, UNESCO and the  European Union, explored the tensions between different objectives and  visions of the Tridom area. It used striking 3D animations to visualize  the likely impact of mining and dams without prescribing easy solutions.

 

This new activity ("Balancing Mining Development and Forest Conservation in the Congo Basin") will take a participatory approach to represent the interests at stake,  and seek to generate multiple scenarios that advance the dialogue on  sustainability and cross-sectoral tradeoffs. It builds on previous  PROFOR work that looked at the thorny issue of artisanal and small scale  mining in critical ecosystems and protected areas: Here.

 

For more Information, please consult the PROFOR' Newsletter link

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2020