Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Since 2010, the GCS REDD+ program in the DRC has revealed current and future threats through its country profile and policy network analysis. It has also highlighted the need for more nuanced understanding of REDD+ policy with regard to local forest disturbance over time, the growing demand for global commodity production, and the role of (neo)colonial institutions and discourse in promoting forest clearing for the sake of development. All of these factors are present in the country’s current deforestation trajectory.

Consequently, CIFOR’s proposed research will focus on unpacking the politics of deforestation. This will uncover existing narratives that justify deforestation, and provide alternative narratives in favor of standing forests. We will do so by conducting a policy-network and discourse analysis, identifying pathways to avoid the potential risk of REDD+ reproducing existing inequalities (e.g. in terms of benefits, safeguard implementation, and participation/access to policy making) in the forest sector as well as related trade and investment patterns. We will also examine stakeholders’ perceptions and policy preferences on REDD+ finance and benefit-sharing mechanisms to inform effective, efficient and equitable (3E) REDD+ policies. This research will be conducted through regular interaction between CIFOR and government agencies to ensure that project outputs can be used to support decision making.

This Phase 4 project builds on earlier GCS REDD+ activities in the DRC and will create synergies with other projects run by CIFOR and its partners, including:

  • CIFOR’s long-term research-for-development experience in the Yangambi Engagement Landscape in Tshopo province through the FOrmation, Recherche, Environnement dans la TShopo (FORETS) project ( CIFOR has an office and staff in Kisangani (Tshopo), allowing for strong engagement at the subnational level, with connections to the national level. We will hire a scientist who will be based in Kinshasa – but also involved in activities in Mai-Ndombe and Tshopo – to coordinate in-country activities, engage with our national partners and make these connections across different levels.
  • the University of Helsinki’s project, which investigates the extent to which current forest governance risks reproducing past inequalities in the forest sector in the Congo Basin:



  • University of Kinshasa
  • University of Kisangani

Latest knowledge products

Forests News

Travail de terrain dans les forêts : les dynamiques de la déforestation, plus complexes qu’elles ne paraissent

Riset Lapangan di Dalam Hutan: Dinamika Deforestasi Lebih Kompleks dari yang Terlihat

Fieldwork in the forest: deforestation dynamics more complex than they first appear

Contact details

Denis Sonwa