Many things are evolving that can be advantageous to Congo Basin countries. Climate finance
opportunities have increased, technology continues to develop apace, and awareness of the value of
forests and peatlands in the Congo Basin are increasing. These, if harnessed taking into account
Development Goals, should give new impetus to economic and social
in the Congo Basin is significant – second only to the Amazon Basin – the equivalent
of 85 billion tons of carbon is locked in the living vegetation of the DRC alone.
Whilst there are numerous national, bilateral and international initiatives funding economic, social
and environmental interventions in the Congo Basin, this section focuses mostly (not exclusively) on
the climate funding opportunities related to forests and peatlands. More comprehensive climate
portals are available that capture finance flows through the Global Environment Facility,
Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund, amongst others.
Financing Opportunities and REDD+
Countries of the Congo Basin have been involved in initiatives to Reduce Emissions from
Deforestation and Forest Degradation, known as REDD+. The international climate negotiations opened
the door to REDD+, and REDD+
finance, to contribute to reducing CO2e emissions and increasing forest
capacities as carbon sinks in 2007. Since then, many initiatives have focused on forests and
livelihoods in Congo Basin countries, such as the
Forest Carbon Partnership
Investment Program, UN REDD+,
the Congo Basin Forest Partnership, the
Impact program and the
As part of the work under REDD+, countries need both to show their readiness in preparation but also
their investments and actions (e.g., policy changes) that reduce emissions. This process which is
internationally agreed and monitored, can results in quantified emission reductions, that can
ultimately be paid for. The first ever large-scale Emission Reductions Payment Agreement - ERPA-
contract globally was signed with the
Republic of Congo. This marks the importance of
this region from a climate perspective, and the need to value standing forests. The investment
initiatives in the Congo Basin can be accessed here (click on Investments).
Rethinking Decision-making: How we gather, analyze, access, and visualize information
An exciting range of technologies are emerging to help us better make evidence-based decisions.
Inexpensive sensor networks integrated into an Internet of Things (IoT) approach are complemented by new
“eyes in the sky” with satellite and drone earth observation power to help use better gather data and
integrate with an increasingly digitalized economy. Improved telemetry, open data, cloud storage and
analytics services, and distributed ledger (Blockchain) approaches to disrupt trust concerns are
transforming the way this data is managed and analyzed using big (including geospatial) data processing,
enhanced use of online modeling, machine learning and other Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques.
Access to these data are being revolutionized using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), data and
mapping standards, and innovative interactive data visualization. These can then be accesses using a
range of platforms including portals, mobile Apps, and networked smart hardware at the user end (from
smartphones, tablets, and computers to augmented/virtual reality devices.
Rethinking Production: How we create, assemble, and supply products
Increasing automation is helping firms rethink the way products are made and distributed. Innovative
technologies such as 3D printing or additive manufacturing has the potential to completely disrupt the
location and methods of production and construction across sectors. A new generation of AI-powered
robots has the potential to change the nature of work in several sectors. Automated transport have the
potential to disrupt the way people and goods are moved around by driverless cars, trucks, ships, and
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The use of advanced materials, nanotechnology, biotechnology,
batteries, renewables, and other innovative manufactured products can help lower costs and improve
performance across a range of development sectors.
Rethinking Interactions: How we connect and work together
This new world of disruptive technology is changing the way we all interact with each other, leveraging
the economies of scale that comes from platforms that connect us. This includes enhancing the use of
social networks facilitated by increasingly available digital connectivity, crowdsourcing ideas and
financing, as we move to a sharing economy that encourages peer to peer platforms for collaborative
consumption. Supply chains facilitated by blockchain has the potential to cut out many middlemen to
improve efficiencies. A new generation can be part of the maker movement with do-it-yourself
technologies in tech incubators. Digital ID and digital finance has the potential to change governance
and spur financing innovations across the economy.
The real power of disruption comes in the way these technologies are combined and deployed to solve
development challenges. They have tremendous potential in changing the way development happens around
the world and also bring in concerns that need to be effectively managed.
Reimagining the Congo basin
These innovations could help completely change the nature and paradigm of sustainable development. In
the Congo Basin, this could mean leveraging improved digital infrastructure/connectivity, a new
generation of young talent that can learn quickly from and contribute to global good practice, and a new
world of data and analytics that is expected to accelerate in coming years. These may pose additional
risks (more innovative ways to deforest or poach wildlife, privacy, cybersecurity, traditional jobs) but
also offer new benefits to address issues of poverty and access to opportunity. In particular, new
approaches to monitor the Congo forests, climate, and hydrology using in-situ sensors, earth
observation, and crowdsourced inputs/surveys to build a rich knowledge base of the status and trends
that can be analyzed using new tools.
Institutional capacity & cooperation
There are opportunities to improve the capacity of the human resources in the countries of the region
and better link these with global good practice.
Within Country: Improvements in the way new skills and approaches can be brought to bear to
improve capacity within different stakeholder groups (different levels of government, CSOs,
academia, private sector, etc.) and ways to improve collaboration across sectors, levels of
government, and agencies based on a shared appreciation of the status, challenges, and opportunities
related to the forest-climate-water nexus.
Regional: Improved cooperation through stronger Regional Economic Communities, CICOS, and
other regional entities.
Links to Global Good Practices: Improved access to global good practices. With increasing
connectivity and socio-economic development of the countries of the Congo basin with the external
world, there are increasing opportunities to better link those working on the sustainable management
or research within and across forests, climate, and water to interact with their counterparts from
around the world and better access and influence global good practices.