Establishing an FLR-Friendly Policy Framework in South Kivu, DRC

Published: 08 November 2023
Last edited: 08 November 2023
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The Restoration Initiative (TRI) country team in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has worked to put in place policy frameworks supportive of forest and landscape restoration (FLR) in the pilot province of South Kivu. To do this, the team facilitated the development of the Provincial Strategy for the Restoration of Forests and Landscapes in South Kivu, the drafting of two legal documents, one on bushfire management and one promoting FLR, to support the implementation of the strategy, and the integration of FLR measures in the local development plans of the Kabre and Ngweshe chiefdoms. Together, the provincial FLR strategy, supporting legal documents, and FLR-supporting local development plans will help coordinate various FLR projects and actions and help the local upscaling and management of restoration on the ground.  


West and Central Africa
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Tropical deciduous forest
Legal & policy frameworks
Land and Forest degradation
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Sustainable development goals
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience


South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo


The major challenges facing TRI DRC include political will and capacity. The validation process is often the most time-consuming and presents the largest roadblock to the implementation of FLR policy. This is because the various politicians and government agencies not only need to be convinced that the policies are worth pursuing, but also agree on all their aspects. Garnering enough enthusiastic political will, therefore can present a major challenge. In addition to enough political will, capacity presents a challenge to establishing FLR-supportive policies. Local coordinators and provincial bodies need to have the financial, political, and administrative capacity to push policies through the approval process as well through their implementation. Thus, ensuring there is enough capacity for successful policy adoption and implementation is vital for the restoration agenda.  


Local communities, such as indigenous peoples and local authorities, greatly benefit as the restoration policies provide an FLR framework supporting restoration projects that promote conservation and provide for job training and community involvement. 

How do the building blocks interact?

With a newly elaborated Provincial Strategy for the Restoration of Forest and Landscapes in South Kivu, a legal document on bushfires and on the promotion of FLR, and local development plans that incorporate these policies and FLR in general, TRI has helped to put in place a policy framework that is supportive of FLR in South Kivu, DRC. The provincial strategy acts the FLR policy pillar, by outlining actions and regulations around FLR in South Kivu. The legal documents, then, enhance the strategy by providing specific measures around bushfires and the promotion of FLR. Ultimately, the local development plans incorporate FLR and the greater subnational policies to ensure the uptake of FLR projects and to help upscale restoration on the ground. As a whole, the policies strengthen FLR in South Kivu and provide a guide for other provinces in DRC to follow. This will not only help South Kivu achieve its restoration goals, but will also help the country as a whole pursue it restoration targets and commitments.  


The Provincial Strategy for the Restoration of Forests and Landscapes in South Kivu, legal document on bushfire management, legal document promoting FLR, and local development plans act as some of the major policy milestones that TRI team was able to accomplish. These milestones are significant because not only do they represent a major difference with previous practice in support of restoration, but will also have a triggering effect that will lead to FLR implementation. As the first provincial strategy in DRC, the South Kivu FLR strategy representing a significant change from previous a policy framework without subnational FLR governance to one that will promote FLR and allow for its management at the subnational level. The policies together will also likely result in the greater uptake of FLR-related projects, as there is now a legal framework for them to follow, as well as the pursual of other FLR policies in other provinces. Additionally, as the policies push FLR in South Kivu, they will also contribute to the final goals of restoration in DRC. With a legal framework outlining FLR and promoting the uptake of restoration projects, a greater number of hectares will ultimately be restored.  



The TRI project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is working to help address the environmental, economic and social challenges affecting natural resource management. 


The caisse de résilience approach revolves around farming and pastoralist communities, connecting and integrating productive, financial and social activities, which involve technical services provided and carried out by NGOs, as well as rural community members. This approach is appropriate for the sustainable restoration of forests and landscapes and includes three pillars: 1) Dimitra Clubs; 2) Farmer Field School (FFS); and 3) Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA).


The Dimitra Club pillar raises awareness and mobilizes communities and local authorities around environmental issues, including impacts and the need to implement restoration. Dimitra Clubs contribute to reawakening community dynamics around restoration and strengthen inclusive engagement, collective action and gender equality. The Dimitra Club pillar also helps identify common problems and challenges, with restoration as an entry point, enables communities to analyse and discuss these to find local solutions, and encourages them to apply these solutions using their resources. 


The FFS pillar, otherwise known as Farmer Field and Life School pillar, is an education opportunity based on adult learning principles. It aims to build the capacity of producers on restoration opportunities through observation, action, experimentation and decision-making.The FFS follows a democratic system. Planning decisions and actions are made in teams, considering the ideas of all with the guidance of the facilitator. Such democratic processes led to the identification of three priority learning themes through the FFS approach: a) erosion control; b) agroforestry; and c) sustainable soil fertility management.


The pillar for VSLA or Association villageoise d’épargne et de crédit (AVEC) comprises a group of 15 to 30 people who save funds together, provide each other loans from said savings and develop income-generating activities. The added value of this approach includes awareness raising and collaboration among households within villages, strengthening social cohesion, improving the resilience of the affected people and residents combining forces to support the sustainable management of local resources. The VSLA pillar strengthens household economies and contributes to reducing the pressure on natural resources.

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Leah Bronstein IUCN