Fighting forest degradation and conflicts through good governance, innovation and new market opportunities

  • Responsible management
  • FAO-UE, FLEGT Programme
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • 2016-2018


  • A region torn by clashes and civil war, the majestic forests are under pressure because of systematic exploitation. Ensuring legality in this framework is a genuine technical-professional challenge, but also a necessity in environmental, economic and social terms.
    Lucio Brotto (ETIFOR)

The problem
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is, until now, one of the six countries that have signed Voluntary Partnership Agreements with the EU under the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT). The provinces of North Kivu and Ituri (East DRC) host the impressive tropical rainforests of iroko and valuable species that have long been subjected to continuous degradation, accentuated by longstanding regional conflicts. Continuous and often uncontrolled small-scale harvesting gradually erode the forest resource and foster illegal streams of timber exported at low prices.

The solution
DURAFOR-EST aims to encourage the organization of small forest enterprises, to facilitate the  collaboration with the local forestry industry and to support the creation of opportunities and market outlets for timber of legal origin while meeting the defined quality standards. Legality, good forest management, small businesses, good governance, innovation, market opportunities are among the challenges and issues we face with.

The activities
DURAFOR-EST, the pilot project to support the forestry sector in the eastern DRC (North Kivu and Ituri province) to promote legal timber production, is co-funded by the EU FLEGT Program of FAO and co-ordinated by ACS-DRC with the support of Etifor. It aims to encourage the production of legal timber in the area of intervention through the development of different forms of cooperation and partnerships between small-scale local forestry enterprises and the ENRA – the only industrial company holding forestry concessions in the area.

Such forms of collaboration include:

  • training activities to improve and increase the efficiency of the cutting and wood hauling techniques;
  • strengthening the existing organizational structures and associations;
  • supporting the respect of the quality and legality of the products;
  • identifying new market opportunities both in neighbouring countries (Uganda) and in Europe.


Our contribution
Through local missions, field surveys, interviews with experts and stakeholders and remote fieldwork, we have the responsibility to conduct:

  • an analysis of the market and of the timber flows related to the wood processing chains in North Kivu, including real / potential flows to the Ugandan market;
  • an analysis of the potential demand for timber from legal sources and consequent identification of possible channels and trading partners;
  • activities to support the training of local associations of forestry companies and the development of pathways to improve the supply of timber in terms of legality and quality of the timber assortments offered;
  • support to the development of collaborations between local and international economic operators;
  • identification of possible ideas for future project development and for responsible management of forest resources in the area covered by the project.