Congo Basin Forest Fund

Congo Basin Forest Fund


The Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF) is a multi-donor fund set up in June 2008 to take early action to protect the forests in the Congo Basin region. It aims to support transformative and innovative projects to be complemented to existing activities, which will develop the capacity of people and institutions of the Congo Basin to enable them to preserve and manage their forests. It provides a source of accessible funding, and encourages governments, civil society, NGOs and the private sector to work together to share specific expertise. In November 2014 the British and Norwegian governments announced that they would not be releasing outstanding commitments to the fund. The CBFF is now winding down operations.

Basic Description

Name of Fund Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF)
Date Created Date fund proposed: June 2008
Date fund made operational: June 2008
Proposed Life of Fund

The CBFF was expected to operate over a period of 10 years until the year 2018, with possible extension.

On 7th November 2014, the UK and Norway Governments announced that the remaining commitments to the fund (approximately EUR 19.4 million) would not be released and that they would not replenish the resources of the CBFF.
In light of this fact, the Secretariat is allocating time and resources to winding down the Fund.
Further details are available in the Congo Basin Forest Fund 2014 Annual Report (published September 2015).
Administrating Organisation African Development Bank (AfDB)
Objectives The CBFF aims to alleviate poverty and address climate change through reducing the rate of deforestation. Its purpose is to provide grants to eligible entities for activities that:

  • Slow and eventually reverse the rate of deforestation in the Congo Basin;
  • Provide support mechanisms which conserve the forests,
  • Maintain benefits to local communities, and
  • Mobilise additional financial resources to support required actions.
Activities Supported The CBFF supports activities which align with the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC) Convergence Plan (French only), a common regional strategy adopted by the Head of States of Central Africa in 2005 for the conservation and sustainable management of natural  resources, of resource knowledge, alternative livelihood activities and funding mechanisms, and poverty alleviation. Thus the CBFF supports:

  • Sustainable Forest Management
  • Livelihood and Economic Development
  • Monitoring, Assessment and Verification
  • Benefits from an International REDD Regime and Payments for Ecosystem Services
  • Capacity Building in REDD
Conditions and Eligibility Requirements All projects are assessed against the following criteria:

  • Innovation
    • How innovative is the proposal?
    • How transformative is the proposal?
  • Conformity with CBFF’s overall objectives
    o    Will the project slow the rate of deforestation?
    o    Will the project reduce poverty amongst forest communities?
    o    Does the project show a clear understanding of context?
  • Conformity with convergence plan
    • Does the proposal conform with one or more of the agreed priority Strategic Areas of the COMIFAC Convergence Plan:
    1. Knowledge of the resource;
    2. Poverty reduction;
    3. New funding mechanisms.

Eligibility for financing from CBFF resources are limited to COMIFAC member countries (Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe and Chad). COMIFAC member countries are also eligible to participate as contributors to the Fund.

Accessing the Fund NGOs, Governments, technical partners, Civil Society Networks, and others, can access the CBFF by submitting Concept Notes to the Secretariat through periodic calls for proposals that are approved by the Governing Council. The Secretariat provides assistance to applicants to develop full project proposals.
Monitoring and Evaluation  Framework The 2009 Operational procedures document reports that the operations of the CBFF will be undertaken in accordance with a Results-Based Management (“RBM”) approach, where expected results will form the basis for project/programme identification, preparation, appraisal and reporting. These procedures include a section on ‘Monitoring & Evaluation and Supervision of Project Implementation’, which is based on the following indicators, as stated in the CBFF Logical Framework Matrix:• Reduce the average rate of deforestation in the Congo Basin from 0.19% to 0.10% annually by sunset date of CBFF.

• Increase incomes for forest people by at least the rate of GDP growth per annum.

• Reduce logging density rates from 0.5 to 4 (CBFP 2006) trees per hectare to 0.5 to 2 trees per hectare subject to the determination of baselines and full economic and scientific analysis.

• Doubling of community-owned and administered forest lands in the Basin, subject to

establishment of baselines, robust models and positive economic, social and environmental impact assessment.

• Introduction of at least two policy measures to reduce forestry related revenue losses by 50% over the programme period from current levels of $25 million USD (€ 20 million) per year (WB/WWF, 2003).

Within three months of project completion, all recipients will submit a Project Completion Report (“PCR”) on the implementation of all project activities. The report must clearly state the outcomes in relation to the objectives and performance indicators. The CBFF Secretariat will review it, and where necessary, it will supplement PCRs with material from monitoring missions (undertaken by staff of the AfDB), mid-term reviews and final project evaluations.

As of February 2013, CBFF staff is working to define a new CBFF logical framework, and develop a monitoring and evaluation system which will allow CBFF stakeholders to assess the results at fund level. In this regard, the Canadian Agency for International Development Agency (CIDA) organised a workshop in January 2013 which aimed to develop a new log frame and a new M&E system that can be used by all CBFF stakeholders and facilitate reporting on CBFF achievements/results for both future and on-going operations. It was decided that the revision of the log frame requires a participatory approach involving all stakeholders. 

As of February 2013, 21 project appraisal reports are publicly available. Each includes project description, project economic, financial, environmental and social feasibility, implementation arrangements, the completed CBFF Logical Framework Matrix, and a legal framework with terms and conditions of the grant agreement.

Fund Governance


Decision Making Structure  The Fund is governed by:

  • CBFF Secretariat
  • Governing Council

The Secretariat is responsible for the day to day management of the Fund and the initial assessment of proposals. A temporary Secretariat is currently operating in Tunis at the AfDB; supported by government officials based at the UK Department for International Development (DFID), until the permanent AfDB CBFF Secretariat is established.

Governing Council
The Governing Council has been established to provide strategic guidance and oversight of the Fund, and ensure broad donor and stakeholder participation. The core membership of the Governing Council comprises:

  • A Fund Co-chair – Currently Rt Honourable Mr Paul Martin, former Prime Minister of Canada.
  • A Civil Society representative from the region
  • The Secretary General of the Economic Community of Central Africa States (CEEAC)
  • The President of the Central African Forest Commission (Commission des Forêts d’Afrique Centrale – COMIFAC) (rotational)
  • A Senior AfDB Official (Vice President)
  • A Donor Representative

The Governing Council also includes the following ex-officio members:

  • The COMIFAC Executive Secretary
  • A representative from UNEP
  • A representative from the Norwegian Government
  • A representative from the UK Government
  • A representative of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership
Non-Government Stakeholder Participation Consultations with a broad range of stakeholders including NGOs have been undertaken prior to the establishment of the Fund.
Information Disclosure Information on donor contributions and a list of projects and the amounts are available on the CBFF website. The financial status of projects, however, is publicly disclosed solely on the AfDB website, although this disclosure only includes the projects of the first call for proposals and not the second.
Safeguard Policies  The CBFF does not have specific safeguards, but it adheres to those of the African Development Bank (AfDB). The 2004 AfDB’s Policy on the Environment has no specific guidance on REDD+ but it highlights the need to integrate social and environmental concerns into economic development policies to reduce negative externalities.
Issues Raised Unknown

Relationship with Official Development Assistance

Inclusion as Official Development Assistance  Yes.
Financial Instrument/ Delivery Mechanism Used (e.g. grant, loan)  Grants.
Nature of Recipient Country Involvement As a main vehicle for innovative transformation, the CBFF enhances collaboration among Central African governments, regional institutions, COMIFAC, Congo Basin technical partners and international donors.