RIFFEAC – A Valuable Opportunity for Forestry and Environmental Training in the Congo Basin

20.05.2020
Formation

Claude KACHAKA SUDI KAIKO, Professor at the Faculty of Agronomic Sciences of the University of Kinshasa and Regional Coordinator of RIFFEAC from 2015 to date, tells us about forestry training in the Congo Basin.

The Réseau des Institutions de formation forestière et environnementale de l’Afrique Centrale (RIFFEAC), is a collaboration platform between 29 forestry and environmental training institutions of Central Africa, spread over 9 countries of the COMIFAC space (Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, DRC, CAR, Rwanda and Chad).

RIFFEAC was created in Libreville in 2001 and has been a partner of COMIFAC since 2006. Its mandate is the implementation of transversal axis no.1 of the revised Convergence Plan of COMIFAC on capacity building, namely: training, research and communication in a RIFFEAC-COMIFAC relationship formalized by the signing of a collaboration protocol.

The Congo Basin has the 2nd largest forest massif in the world with a very high biodiversity but it suffers from a lack of qualified human resources for the sustainable management (SFM) of tropical forests.

In this regard, the RIFFEAC has a major challenge to train qualified personnel through course curricula adapted to the needs of SFM by integrating emerging themes and appropriate pedagogical methods.

In its operation, the RIFFEAC has the following organs : (i) the General Assembly (GA), the supreme body that defines the main lines of intervention in training, research and communication, (ii) the Board of Directors (BOD) which is the governing body and monitors the implementation of the decisions of the General Assembly and (iii) the Regional Coordination (RC).

The Regional Coordination (RC) has been based in Yaounde since January 2012 and manages the day-to-day activities of Riffeac and assists the Board of Directors and its President in the implementation of the decisions of the General Assembly, operational plans and annual work plans. It draws up the programmes and budgets to be submitted to the Board of Directors.

At the level of each member institution, the Network Coordination Office is represented by a Focal Point who technically leads and monitors the Network’s activities within the institution. He ensures the flow of information from the RC to the institution and vice versa.

In its technical and financial partnership, the RIFFEAC has managed or is managing

PEFOGRN (2011-2014) project which resulted in : (i) development of the academic and technical modules with the assistance of ULaval/Quebec and CERFO, (ii) training grants at the doctoral and master’s levels at Laval University and in the subregion, (iii) funding of research, (iv) provision of equipment, infrastructure and rolling stock, (v) installation of three Centres of Excellence, (vi) funding of the scientific journal, (vii) seminars and workshops, etc

OIBT (2012-2019) project with the following results: (i) development of the university and technical modules with the assistance of Ulaval/Québec and CERFO, (ii) provision of equipment, infrastructure and rolling stock, (iii) seminars and workshops, etc.

PARAFE (2013-2018) project with the following results: (i) bringing together the private forestry sector and training institutions to develop the quality of the training offer in line with skills needs (training/employment), (ii) development of a regional approach to demand-driven continuing vocational training with the elaboration of job reference frameworks, (iii) development of sandwich courses as a line of action to support RIFFEAC’s IFFE, (iv) improvement of the website, (v) seminars and workshops, etc.

The GIZ: (i) supports the RIFFAEC in the “Strengthening and modernization of forestry and environmental training” through the COMIFAC support project, (ii) implementation of e-learning, (iii) organization of the Summer School and Study Tour in Germany in favour of the RIFFEAC MIs, (iv) financing of the transfer projects developed by the RIFFEAC MIs.

Le projet d’appui au développement de la formation continue dans la filière foret-bois en Afrique centrale (ADEFAC) of which RIFFEAC is a beneficiary, is financed by AFD (Agence Française pour le Développement) for a period of 5 years (2020-2024) and for an amount of €5,000,000.

This project aims to contribute to the sustainable management of the forests of the Congo Basin through the development of a continuous training offer for the forest-wood sector in Central African countries, co-constructed by professional circles and training institutions of the sector, allowing to improve the employability and the qualifications of the actors and to enhance the value of the economic sector.

The ADEFAC project started in February 2020 and is led by the couple RIFFEAC – ATIBT, respectively Main Project Owner (MOA) and Delegated Project Owner (MOD).

It should be noted that RIFFEAC and ATIBT have signed a collaboration protocol (MoU) since 23/4/2018.

In the conduct of this project, the RIFFEAC will benefit from the experience of the Association Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux (ATIBT) which takes an active part in the international dialogue and interlocutor at the level of national and international forest policies, as a facilitator, through practical collaboration with ministries, international organizations such as FAO, the European Union, AFD, COMIFAC, FFEM, KFW, ITTO, IUCN, STTC, WWF, WCS, FSC or PPECF, etc.

In addition, the ATIBT brings together more than 130 members from some twenty tropical timber producing and consuming countries, working in several fields: forest management, the timber industry and other professions that are part of the forestry world, ranging from wildlife protection to equipment, forest planting, health and education.

Sources :

  • Collection of information on the websites of RIFFEAC, COMIFAC and ATIBT
  • IFBEEN Activity Reports

Exchanges with Technical and Financial Partners (TFPs)