Community Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (CMRV) systems in Maï-Ndombe, DRC

DRC map
Maï-Ndombe province
Village meetings to discuss CMRV project
Village meetings to discuss CMRV project
Key Lessons 
  • This Community Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (CMRV) system, developed with local communities and that takes into account environmental and social safeguards, could potentially be replicated in different parts of the Congo Basin.
  • The performance-based model transfers responsibility and ownership of MRV to local communities.
  • It is essential to raise awareness among local communities before they are asked to take action on REDD+; community expectations of economic benefits need to be continually managed.
  • Good partnerships are crucial. REDD+ activities need to be officially recognised by the government to facilitate scaling-up.
  • Existing lessons and experiences from Guyana are informing the replication of the CMRV model in the DRC; while lessons from Acre, Brazil, inform the REDD+ benefit-sharing mechanism.

A CMRV initiative is currently underway in the Mpelu and Kemvuma villages in the Bolobo Territory in the east of Maï-Ndombe Province. This monitoring system is part of a payment for environmental services (PES) scheme implemented by WWF-DRC and partners as part of its Carbon Map and Model project. Under this scheme, participating communities will receive performance-based payments related to climate change mitigation and conservation activities, with the aim of contributing to and improving decision making and natural resource management in their territories.

A set of indicators is being developed in collaboration with the communities, to track impacts and changes to sustainable development trajectories at the local level. These indicators will be monitored, reported and validated by local development committees (Comité Local de Développement - CLD), with support of the WWF-DRC team, using digital technologies and satellite imagery.

While this initiative is currently at project scale, steps are being taken integrate this model as part of the Maï-Ndombe jurisdictional REDD+ programme (this programme, and its links to WWF’s earlier work in the province, are described in this case study). This will be achieved through partnerships with the DRC Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and other international organisations and local partners.

International Forest Agenda/s 
Monitoring Theme/s 
Land use change
  • Area (hectares) under agro-forestry systems 
  • Area (hectares) for forest conservation 
  • Area (hectares) for sustainable forest exploitation
  • Area (hectares) deforested
  • Deforestation rate 
Natural resources
  • Total area (hectares) of primary forest
  • Area (hectares) of reforestation
  • Total number of plants grown in nursery
  • Compliance with forest fire protocols
Carbon biomass

Field data on biomass will be complemented by airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) and up-scaled to satellite images.

Policy context

With up to 60% of the forests in the Congo Basin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a prime country for REDD+ interventions. A national REDD+ strategy and a jurisdictional REDD+ programme in Maï-Ndombe province (described here) intend to reduce the rate of deforestation of these vast forest resources. However, a number of challenges related to poor governance, capacity, and material and human resources will need to be addressed as part of these efforts. A key focus will be building technical capacity and adequate frameworks for safeguards and rights, in order to ensure participation, appropriate benefit sharing, and transparent REDD+ systems. 

As part of its work to support the implementation of REDD+, WWF-DRC is cooperating with the Government of DRC, local partners and communities to develop and implement REDD+ readiness activities in the Maï-Ndombe province, which covers a 12.5 million hectare area. One of these activities is the CMRV initiative in the Bolobo Territory, within the PES scheme. The CMRV initiative is also linked to the WWF Carbon Map and Model project, which aims to inform national and local action on REDD+ by creating a national biomass map for the entire forest coverage of DRC. Carbon Map and Model also intends to develop a benefit sharing scheme, and a mitigation strategy using the modelling component, feasibility studies and technical support.

Community participation

The CMRV project is implemented with members of the Mpelu and Kemvuma communities who have tenure rights over their lands. These communities are working to define a set of sustainable development indicators (shown in the tabs above) to track impacts and changes resulting from the PES scheme. 

A step-by-step capacity building programme will be undertaken with 12 community monitors (six from each community) who speak French and the local language, Lingala. The CLDs selected these monitors according to the following criteria:  knowledge of local forests; level of education; IT knowledge in MS Office; and motivation, interest and level of understanding of the CMRV concept. Each monitor will be remunerated based on their performance.  

Monitoring methodology

The Carbon Map and Model initiative will build a geo-referenced data collection system, using ODK/GeoODK applications on mobile devices (smartphones/ tablets). This system draws from experiences using technology for CMRV in Guyana. Data will be aggregated on an online server and information platform called SMAP to then be downloaded in different easy to use formats.

The results of the monitoring will be shared with the CLD for decision making, and also integrated into the National Forest Monitoring System, which is currently being developed in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the Satellite Observatory of the Forests of Central Africa (OSFAC), and the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE), with financial support from the UN-REDD programme. The CLDs, supported by the WWF-DRC team, will report and validate the monitoring data using digital technologies and satellite imagery.

The Carbon Map and Model initiative aims for the field data on biomass to be complement the widespread collection of data by airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging). The results will be up-scaled using satellite images to estimate carbon content, contributing to a national biomass map for the DRC as a whole. This will inform the implementation and validation of the jurisdictional REDD+ programme for Maï-Ndombe.

Source of funding and partners

While this initiative is currently at a project scale, steps are being taken integrate this model as part of the Maï-Ndombe jurisdictional REDD+ programme, through a partnership with the DRC Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and other international organisations, funders and local partners: EDD, KFW, BMUB, USAID, CIAPAFED.

Achievements and challenges

This CMRV initiative is new, so it is too early (at the end of 2015) to report on achievements and challenges. However, WWF-DRC has worked on REDD+ in Maï-Ndombe province since 2010, making substantial achievements; these are described in this case study, which also sets out some of the challenges facing REDD+ in the province.