FEATURE STORY

BioCarbon Fund Launches $280 Million Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes

November 20, 2013

Ethiopia's lush Oromia region.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A major investment by Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States will ramp up and transform current efforts to promote sustainable forest landscapes.
  • The initiative will target landscape-level programs and leverage the BioCarbon Fund’s experience to develop a portfolio of investments across diverse regions.
  • In collaboration with private-sector partners, the initiative will expand sustainable land management practices and technologies for forest protection and climate-smart agriculture.

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.

Open Quotes

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. That's why the new BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes it so important. Close Quotes

Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Sustainable Development, The World Bank

Rachel Kyte
Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank

“We have learned a lesson,” says Ato Yitebitu Moges, National REDD+ Coordinator for Ethiopia. “For forestry preservation to be successful, a paradigm shift needs to occur on how we manage our land and forest resources. We need a more holistic approach.”

To be able to scale up climate-friendly land use practices, there’s a general agreement that the private sector must be on board. Companies can provide capital, innovation, operational resources, and valuable technical expertise to accelerate the greening of supply chains.

Engagement and support of the private sector therefore lies at the core of the new BioCarbon Fund initiative.

In fact, corporations such as food and health products giant Unilever, Mondelez, and Bunge have been deeply involved from its inception, spearheading a new model of engagement.

“This is exactly the type of initiative that we are delighted to support. We need to find new forms of public-private partnership to address global challenges such as deforestation,” said Paul Polman, Unilever’s chief executive officer. “Multilaterals like the World Bank play a critical role in catalyzing these new business models and Unilever is interested to learn how we can participate and partner with the BioCarbon Fund.”