Rainforest Foundation UK
Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) works with local civil society groups to challenge destructive models of development and support local communities to manage their customary forests.
The forests of the Congo Basin are rich in biodiversity and support the livelihoods of over 50 million people, including an estimated 500,000 indigenous forest peoples. To date, industrial-scale logging has presented the largest threat to the region’s forests, but increasingly large-scale agribusiness also threatens forests in the region. Palm oil plantations have already led to massive deforestation, biodiversity loss and human rights abuses in Southeast Asia. Many producers are beginning to operate in the Congo Basin where land seems to be more ‘available’ given the lack of secure community land tenure and cheap labour. As an alternative to this model, in 2016 the completion of community forest legislation in the DRC created the opportunity for communities to apply for multi-use community forestry concessions to be held in perpetuity for up to 50,000 hectares of land – ten times more than the maximum authorised in any other country in the region.
RFUK support communities in challenging development activities which impinge their rights and result in the destruction of the forests they call home. They also work with civil society groups to help communities to map their lands, advocate for legal recognition and protection across the Congo Basin and to develop alternative livelihood plans.
RFUK’s expertise in the region and strong relationships with many national and local organisations working on the ground makes them a vital partner in Synchronicity Earth’s Congo Basin Programme.