TFT launched the Centre of Social Excellence (CSE) in June 2009 - a learning centre promoting and training environmentally-responsible, socially-just and economically viable forest management in the Congo Basin. If you would like to support the CSE the please click the Donate button to the right.
The aim of the CSE is to establish a unique and innovative educational institution, founded on the unifying principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
FPIC recognises indigenous peoples' inherent and prior rights to their lands and resources and respects their legitimate authority to require that third parties enter into an equal and respectful relationship with them. In practice this means that communities living in forest concessions managed by others should be fully informed about all forest activities and must freely give their consent before any of these activities begin. The practice leaves the local population room to refuse a company's exploitation or to negotiate with them on the management of forest resources. Adhering to FPIC principles means that the rights and interests of indigenous peoples will be accounted for and respected which also provides a platform for ensuring that indigenous peoples will benefit from any extractive processes on their lands. Crucially any negative impacts must also be properly assessed, avoided and mitigated.
The CSE is building badly needed regional capacity to include the concept of FPIC in forest operations across the Congo Basin. It is training and equipping young central African graduates and professional foresters with the tools to initiate and sustain a constructive dialogue between forest dependent communities and forest managers.
The CSE, based in Brazzaville (Republic of Congo) and Yaoundé (Cameroon), is a means for sharing the knowledge and experience of the best experts in the field and promoting a unique and innovative approach to sustainable forest management and conservation. By training young experts and forest company staff in implementing FPIC principles it will give local communities a voice previously unheard or ignored in the management of forest resources. It will fulfil forest management companies' social obligations which are not only ethically correct but also a pre requisite for gaining FSC certification. Further, these development activities and the implementation of FPIC principles contribute to specific objectives for the region as defined by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Central African Forest Commission and the FSC.
Our primary goals over the next three years are:
•To train, at least 20 young specialists on the social principles of sustainable forestry particularly the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of local and indigenous peoples and FSC certification
• To progressively contribute towards the certification of 7 million hectares of natural forests in the Congo Basin
Click here to donate the CSE and help safeguard forests and communities in the Congo Basin.