Launch of the CEERC Project for Conservation through Economic Empowerment in the Republic of Congo
November 29, 2022
The U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Congo Eugene Young, accompanied by USAID Regional Director John Dunlop, and the Minister of Forest Economy, Ms. Rosalie Matondo, launched the CEERC project on November 29, 2022. This initiative is part of the U.S. government’s support to the Congo for the conservation of its forests through investments ensuring the transition of the Republic of Congo to a green economy.
Indeed, the Congo Basin’s precious natural resources are under increasing environmental threat. Through the CEERC project, the U.S. government is contributing to the implementation of the 2022-2026 national development plan.CEERC aims to promote the development of community-based small and medium-sized enterprises that provide environmentally friendly products and services over a five-year period.
With a grant of ten billion CFA francs from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ministry of Forest Economy will work to reduce overexploitation of wildlife and destruction of forests.
This social welfare improvement project will benefit communities in and around the Odzala-Kokoua and Conkouati-Douli national parks, the Ngombé and Mimbéli-Ibenga UFA logging concessions, as well as the Lac Télé community reserve, the Léfini hunting reserve, and the Lesio Louna gorilla reserve.
By encouraging vulnerable households and communities to find sources of income that respect wildlife and forests, this funding will help local communities and economic actors-entrepreneurs, cooperatives, and associations-to seize economic opportunities, obtain a level playing field, and increase the value of their products to realize full economic and social benefits.
It will also support small businesses producing ecotourism products and services. The target enterprises will have predictable positive impacts for economic initiatives related to cocoa, cassava, aquaculture, processing of forest products, and ecotourism.
Starting in July 2021 and implemented by Tetra Tech ARD with support from Resonance and Solimar, the CEERC project collaborates with a variety of stakeholders including government, private sector, civil society to promote innovative and strategic solutions. Its approach focuses on three interrelated intermediate outcomes (IRs) including:
IR 1: Viable and sustainable businesses and business models that protect wildlife and forests are developed
IR 2: An enabling regulatory environment for businesses that protect wildlife and forests is established
IR 3: Communities create and benefit from wildlife and forest-friendly businesses.