Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE)
The Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) is a USAID initiative that began in 1995. The Congo Basin forest is the second largest contiguous moist tropical forest in the world and plays a key role in securing the livelihoods of Central African citizens. The forest also provides critical habitat for biodiversity conservation and supplies vital regional and worldwide ecological services. In recognition of the important role of the Congo Basin forest and amidst the increasing pressures facing the Congo Basin forest, CARPE works to reduce the rate of forest degradation and loss of biodiversity by supporting increased local, national, and regional natural resource management capacity.
After seven years of operation, CARPE is shifting its strategic focus and changing the location of its management functions. In its first phase, CARPE’s partners focused on increasing our knowledge of Central African forests and biodiversity, and building institutional and human resources capacity. Now, CARPE partners aim to apply and implement sustainable natural resources management practices in the field, improve environmental governance in the region, and strengthen natural resources monitoring capacity. Prominent within this new phase is the role CARPE is playing in the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). CARPE is the primary means through which U.S. funds in support of CBFP is channeled. In 2002, USAID’s reorganization moved as many activities and programs to the field as possible and coincided with a CARPE evaluation report that recommended that CARPE management be moved to Africa. The management of CARPE was shifted from Washington, D.C., to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in early 2003.
A February 2006 mid-term evaluation of CARPE paved the way for CARPE management in Kinshasa to initiate certain vital reforms that created enabling grounds for efficient Program delivery. As a result of this restructuring, IUCN-The World Conservation Union has been playing a central convening role in the CARPE Phase 2B Program since October 2006, notably in the “improved natural resource governance” component. To this effect the CARPE/IUCN Program Manager, based in IUCN, coordinates the efforts of CARPE Focal Point staff to; support a strong NRM governance program at country and Congo basin-wide levels; design and implement a small grant portfolio at the country and regional levels through Focal Points and related means; monitor the activities of CARPE landscape partners in Cameroon, DRC, RoC, Gabon, CAR, Equatorial Guinea and Rwanda; and also served as cross cutting leader to assimilate, coordinate, capitalize, package and disseminate a CARPE lessons learned initiative. As emphasized, the geographical coverage of the Program was extended from four to nine countries (Burundi, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tomé and Principe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Cameroon), each headed by a Focal Point. Most activities were targeted toward a sustained policy/law agenda.