Land use planning (LUP) is a tool to organize multiple demands for land while minimizing competition and conflict. Congo Basin countries lack LUP and inter-sectorial coordination to ensure sustainable development at the local and national level. Numerous conflicts have arisen between and among conservation priorities, mining and logging concessions, infrastructure development projects, agro-industry and local livelihoods.
Comprehensive LUP (which must include assessments of current land use, areas of high biodiversity, and development opportunities, e.g. potential mining sites and transportation corridors) can be challenging and unpredictable . Countries must collect and analyze a substantial amount of information, must have significant-inter institutional collaboration and transparency, strong political commitment, sufficient technical and financial resources. Some interesting lessons can be learned from similar exercises in resource-rich countries in Latin America.
This talk looked at current overlapping and conflicting land use in Central Africa with a focus on mining and conservation in Gabon, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and identified recommendations to improve planning and coordination to find a balance between conservation and sustainable economic development.