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Updated management contracts for communities in COMATSA

There are 65 management contracts granted to communities for the sustainable management of forests around the COMATSA (Corridor Marojejy Anjanaharibe Sud Tsaratanana) protected areas.

Of these contracts, those of nine community associations expired more than a year ago. The management contracts confer responsibilities on local communities. These contracts also indicate the management plan for the area under management, the sanctions and/or "dina" applied by the associations for various types of fraud, and the activities of the associations' members. During this long year without a contract because of covid-19, several community-based organization (CBO) complained that they no longer had the legitimacy needed to enforce their forest management activities. For some villagers, the expiration of the management contract meant that the community association was no longer in business. As a result, fraud increased. "Indeed, access to the forests was easier, many people knew that the contract of their community-based organization had expired and they took advantage of this situation to enter and exploit the forests illegally," confirms Cedric Randriamifidy of WWF.   In addition, the granting of legal logging permits had to be stopped; in some villages, the patrollers could not do their regular follow-ups, villagers had little confidence in the members of the organization... all this was exacerbated by the lockdown during which no field raids were conducted.

Fortunately, in July 2021, a joint sensitization and revitalization mission between WWF and the Regional Directorate of Environment and Sustainable Development was conducted in Antanambaobe to meet with the community associations of the entire northern Bemarivo part of COMATSA. The management contracts of these nine community associations were extended at that time after being evaluated by the forestry administration and after updating their various management tools, including the management plan and the specifications.

Since this contract extension, community associations and members are more motivated to exercise their role in the sustainable management of COMATSA's forests and the impacts are already being felt:
- CBO of Antanambaobe: a nursery is being set up. It is preparing 20,000 pots to be distributed to each CBO working in the COMATSA protected area.
- CBO of Ambodimandresy: 260 new members have joined the community-based organization
- CBO of Beanantsindrabe: a process to renew the members of the office for a better management of natural resources and transparency in its application.
- CBO of Bealampona Be: establishment of a nursery. Increase in the number of awareness against illegal exploitation in the forest.