Three nations are funding a major new BioCarbon Fund initiative to support forest landscapes. The funding pledge was announced during an event at the United Nations’ climate summit in Warsaw, known as COP19.
Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States together committed $280 million – up to $135 million from Norway, $120 million from the U.K, and $25 million from the U.S. – as part of their efforts to slow climate change.
The initiative will be managed by the BioCarbon Fund, a public-private program housed within the World Bank that mobilizes finance for activities that sequester or conserve carbon emissions in forest and agricultural systems.
The investment comes on the heels of a report showing that the Earth lost an area the size of Western Europe to deforestation over the last decade, a trend that speeds up global warming. The growing threat of climate change underscores the need for more holistic land use programs – all with the goal of benefitting the environment as well as local communities.
The new Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes seeks to scale up land-management practices across large landscapes, including improved livestock management, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable forest management, with a focus on protecting forests and greening and securing supply chains.
It will engage a broader range of actors, including the private sector, initially through a portfolio of four to six programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
“The fate of the climate, forests, and agriculture are bound together. If agriculture and land-use change continue to produce up to 30 percent of global greenhouse gases, it will mean further disaster and disruption from climate change”, said Rachel Kyte, the World Bank’s vice president of sustainable development. “That's why the new BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes it so important. Its grants and results-based financing aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector, through REDD+, climate-smart agriculture practices and land-use planning.”
In Oromia, for example – a region that contains 60 percent of Ethiopia’s forests – technical and financial support will be provided for a range of connected interventions: Sustainable agricultural practices will increase productivity, new markets for timber and non-timber forest products will be developed, and more efficient cook stoves be delivered to families.