Côte d’Ivoire adopts a new forestry code

To fight deforestation, the Ivorian authorities have adopted a new forestry code. A system that involves more private actors in the sector while strengthening sanctions.

A poor deforestation performer, Côte d’Ivoire has seen its forest cover disappear at an accelerated rate in recent decades: estimated at 37% of the national territory in 1960, it now represents less than 10%. This is a worrying development that the NGO Global Forest Watch study, published in May, attributes to, among other things, « illegal mining » and « the expansion of cocoa farms ».

To remedy this situation, the Ivorian government promulgated on 19 July a new forestry code, a regulatory mechanism aimed at preserving, rehabilitating and extending the country’s forests. As a preamble to their communiqué, the Ivorian authorities acknowledge that « the preservation and rehabilitation of forests has not always been a priority for the majority of States », before continuing by indicating that « at this rate, Ivorian forests will have disappeared within the next ten years ».

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Côte d’Ivoire: evolution of forest areas between 1990 and 2015
Source : REDD+1

With this new code, the Ivorian State has chosen to associate « each economic actor investing in the conservation or planting of forest trees », the objective being to involve them more in the management of forest capital, in particular by playing the carrot and stick. The new forestry code thus reinforces the role of agroforestry by granting long-term concessions (24 years for cocoa and 40 years for rubber) to industrialists or small farmers to grow perennial crops. It is then up to the operator to maintain the forest cover. However, the scope of these activities will be revised, with some forests partially open and others closed to human presence. In addition, sanctions against any violations found will be increased, with maximum penalties increasing from one to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 to 50 million CFA francs (from 150 euros to 75,000 euros), particularly for illegal occupations in reserved areas.

1International mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, including the roles of stock conservation, sustainable management and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+).