Central Africa is the most densely forested region of Africa and contains the second largest area of continuous tropical forest cover in the world at around 240 million hectares; this forest complex is also referred to as the 'Congo Basin Forest' and includes all or part of the national territories of Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe.
However, these forests are exposed to various threats, including poaching, forest exploitation and mining, shifting agriculture, etc. They lose millions of hectares each year. The illegal exploitation of forest resources in the Congo Basin, especially wildlife and timber, is having far-reaching impacts in terms of loss of biodiversity and habitat, political instability, increased revenue imbalances and market distortions.
To support efforts against the illegal exploitation of forest resources, FAO and ITTO published a series of best practices for improving forest law compliance in order to disseminate knowledge that decision-makers could use in their efforts to reduce the incidence of illegal operations in the forest sector. The 'Best Practices' document will constitute the basis for discussion at a regional workshop to be jointly organized by the two Organizations in collaboration with COMIFAC and the government of Gabon.
This workshop will provide participating countries with the opportunity to share their experience and practices aimed at improving forest law compliance and building the capacities of regional forest law enforcement networks.