The Central Africa Forest Observatory (OFAC) was created in 2007 as a specialised unit
of the Central African Forests Commission (Commission des forêts d'Afrique centrale COMIFAC) to provide the up-to-date,
relevant data on the region’s forests and ecosystems that is needed for policy-making and to promote better governance and sustainable management of natural resources.
OFAC is supported by the EU-funded RIOFAC project.
OFAC was created in 2007 as the result of joint efforts by members of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP).
To carry out OFAC's work, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development,
(CIRAD), the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the FRM engineering Company and the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL)
formed a consortium with the European Union as the main donor.
In November 2010, after the COMIFAC Council of Minister adopted the necessary legislation,
OFAC became a section of the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat. An OFAC coordination office based at the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat in Yaoundé
was set up to carry out the Council of Ministers’ resolution.
OFAC's overall objective is integral to the implementation of the COMIFAC Convergence Plan for better use of natural resources
in combating poverty in local populations.
In this way it provides all the COMIFAC countries and their partners with essential tools for managing and sharing knowledge
that can improve the governance and the sustainable management of forest ecosystems.
OFAC's specific goals are to:
introduce genuinely sustainable management in the dense rainforests of Central Africa
curb illegal forestry operations
ensure rational use and conservation of biodiversity
improve forestry governance
respect international agreements
strengthen the institutional capabilities of governments and non-governmental actors
The approach adopted in designing the OFAC, which prioritises the use of human resources from within the region,
makes the development of the observatory an exercise in capacity building at the national and regional levels.
OFAC, the technical and scientific branch of COMIFAC,
is based in 10 member states through units called National Coordinations whose role is to supervise the national reference data collection process.
Other data are provided by the private sector (i.e. loggers), NGOs, managers of protected areas and all the members of the PFBC.