Institutional and governance 'space' for adaptation and mitigation in Congo Basin forests

O.A. Somorin, H.C.P. Brown, D. Sonwa, B.J.M. Arts

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractAcademic


The Congo Basin forest is currently receiving both scientific and political attention for its potential in global carbon budget. In this paper, we investigate the discourse and institutional dynamics surrounding policy goals of adaptation and mitigation in the forest sector, for understanding the ‘space’ for policy development. In-depth interviews with relevant actors and stakeholders in the climate debate (government, civil society, private sectors, and international organizations) from Cameroon, CAR, and DRC provided data for analysis. Preliminary empirical results show the reality of the climate challenge even at local levels. We also found a “negotiated transition” where climate change has moved from a purely environmental problem to a development challenge. Within the forest sector, we observed that: (i) mitigation generates stronger political attention than adaptation, and this is reflected in coalitions and networks of state and non-state actors in REDD schemes; (ii) policy strategies for adaptation are strongly linked with poverty reduction at different levels; and (iii) local customary systems of governance offer a possible model for both mitigation and adaptation, especially within the context of a high natural-resource-dependent society. A future consideration at the regional level (through COMIFAC) is to identify strategies to synergize both adaptation and mitigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-74
JournalInternational Forestry Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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