The GEOFORAFRI programme is an initiative of the French Global Environment Facility (GEF). The programme aims to facilitate the use of earth observation methods and to ensure methodological expertise and technology in the countries of Central and West Africa, allowing local institutions to track forest cover in accordance with international guidelines. The project is being implemented in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Republic of Congo. It is organised around five components:
1 . The objective of Component 1 of the project is to improve satellite data and storage capacity in a cost-effective and sustainable manner. The data considered will be that which is relevant to meet the requirements of a future REDD+ mechanism. It will be necessary to (i) identify primary resource centers, (ii) define plans to acquire land observation data compatible with international requirements for the monitoring of forests in the context of MRV for REDD, (iii) define plans to build the technical capacities and equipment of the identified centres for the collection, storage and dissemination of data and (iv) define investment plans to establish an infrastructure for the transmission of data between project operators and partners.
2 . Component 2 aims to strengthen the capacity of data processing. The aim is to support national training institutions that contribute to the production of the necessary information with a view to achieve REDD+ readiness.
3 . Component 3 aims to help generate historical forest maps in support of existing major programmes.
4 . Component 4 will support the definition of applied research programmes and the help coordinate networks of research institutions.
5. Component 5 will be used to ensure the coordination and participation of national actors in international initiatives.
The GEOFORAFRI programme aims to support ongoing national forest monitoring efforts to establish historic trends of forest cover and forest changes. The main expected outcome of this component is that the Republic of Congo will have finalized forest maps for 1990, 2000 and 2010 for monitoring forest cover according to REDD+ requirements. More specifically the GEOFORAFRI programme supports the completion of the forest cover mapping initiative presently carried out in the frame of GSE FM. The main products of the GSE FM service include:
• forest cover maps for 1990; 2000; and 2010: forest and non-forest classes,
• forest cover change for 1990-2000 and 2000 – 2010: forest land, cropland, settlement,
grassland, wetland, settlement, other land
A key component of the service portfolio is the capacity building element of local counterparts in order to transfer the technology for sustainable forest management.
In the Republic of Congo, this project is implemented by the GAF- AG Group with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA). The work of GAF- AG is the implementation of Component 3 of the project. GAF- AG uses the historical data necessary to map the change in forest cover between 1990-2000 for the whole country and for the 2000-2010 period. This project will allow the Congo to establish a baseline level for forest cover. In addition to these activities, GAF- AG aims to include local partners in the process and transfer technical skills to allow the Congo to make its own Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) in accordance with international guidelines and for the long term.