The country is endowed with rich agricultural lands and enormous natural resources, such as wood, gold, and diamonds, the exploitation of which remains rudimentary and artisanal [1].

Land degradation affects the entire surface area of the country and has a direct impact on agricultural productivity, causing the rate of food insecurity of the population to reach higher than 30%. 2 million hectares of land have been degraded since 1997 and the annual deforestation rate reached 0,2%, being 55,000 hectares. If nothing is done, this land degradation rate means that 7 million hectares land would have degraded by 2015. The CAR has 15 million hectares of agricultural land, of which 1% is cultivated [2].

Moreover, 46 thousand people were living on degrading agricultural land in 2010 - an increase of 16% in a decade, bringing the share of rural residents who inhabit degraded agricultural land up to 2% of the total rural population. Land degradation can severely influence populations' livelihood by restricting people from vital ecosystem services (including food and water), increasing the risk of poverty. During the same time period (2000-2010), the amount of people residing in remote degrading agricultural areas with limited market access increased by 16%, reaching 27 thousand people. Populations in remote areas have restricted options for managing land and accessing other benefits of economic development. The annual cost of land degradation in Central African Republic is estimated at USD 700 million; this is equal to 40% of the country's Gross Domestic Product. Land degradation leads to reduction in the provision of ecosystem services that takes different forms - deterioration in food availability, soil fertility, carbon sequestration capacity, wood production, groundwater recharge, etc.- with significant social and economic costs to the country [3].

In Central African Republic, the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector is responsible for 71% of the total greenhouse gas emissions of the country. Due to the role of terrestrial ecosystems as a source and sink of emissions land is positioned as a key point of intervention for climate change mitigation and adaptation as also reflected in Central African Republic's Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) [3]


Land degradation is mainly due to the lack of a land use planning and limited financial and economic incentives [4]. Successive political crises have also led to land degradation and even destruction of many of its infrastructures.

The vast majority of CAR's landscape is unused due to a combination of poor infrastructure, inappropriate policies and conflict crises [5][1]


Key policies and governance approach

As of 2021, land management in CAR is still defined by the public land code of 1964 and the provisions of the land and land law of 1960, which have not been contradicted. A draft framework law on the harmonization of legal instruments for better governance of land tenure, which was initiated in 2012, aimed to propose a general legal framework that could serve as a reference for the subsequent revision of sectoral laws and their application the texts. Due to a lack of funding, this framework bill is struggling to move forward and the law on the State and Land Code still does not create the link with the other sectoral codes.

Sustainable Development Goal 15, life on Land', and its target 15.3 on Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) is a unique opportunity for countries to curb the growing threats of land degradation and to reap multiple socioeconomic benefits of LDN. Central African Republic has already set national voluntary LDN targets, established an LDN baseline, and formulated associated measures to achieve LDN [3].


Successes and remaining challenges

In the CAR, there is problem with lack of coordination among local institutions and authorities involved on the implementation of land use plans, in addition to insufficient coordination among sectoral development institutions in achieving effective land use planning. In addition, the traditional land-use rights of local communities and indigenous people is not fully recognized in reserves, national parks and private concessions.


Initiatives and Development Plans

The CAR seeks to promote more sustainable management of agricultural and forestry systems for improved and sustainable management of soils [6].

The EU funding through the Bêkou Fund has focused on the rehabilitation of certain strategic roads and on the rehabilitation and construction of vital infrastructure for the development of the CAR [7].

In 2014, the Bêkou Fund created the Program for Economic and Social Reconstruction in Urban Areas (PRESU). Over the past six years, more than €24 million has been allocated to infrastructure [7]. At the end of 2020, 11 of the 18 identified bridges were installed in the prefectures of Lobaye, Ombella-Mpoko, Ouham Pendé and Mbomou [7].


Goals and Ambitions

CAR aims for integrated and inclusive national land use planning and increased tenure security [8].

  • Establish land-use plans by type of use.
  • Integrate climate change concerns into relevant land policies and planning at the state and national levels.