The World Bank Group announced today a five-year Forest Action Plan which recognizes the importance of forests for people, for economies, and for the health of a planet stressed by climate change and the depletion of natural resources.
Forests are not only critical to the wellbeing and livelihoods of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world, they can also help drive economic growth and build resilience when vital ecosystem goods and services are carefully managed. And with more than 90 countries highlighting actions to reduce the impact of deforestation, forest degradation and land use change in their Nationally Determined Contributions to the COP21 climate agreement in Paris, there is growing demand for World Bank Group (WBG) support in this area.
The Forest Action Plan FY16-20 focuses on two priority areas: investments in the sustainable forest management; and “forest-smart” interventions in which the WBG will aim to take a holistic look at forest landscapes, so that its work in sectors like agriculture, transport and energy does not erode forest capital and generates instead positive forest outcomes.
The Plan is underpinned by three cross-cutting themes that are key for progress on forests: climate change and resilience, rights and participation, and institutions and governance. Good forest governance and strong institutions are core conditions for sustainably managed forests. Clear ownership, access, and management rights over forests are also vital to build forest-dependent communities’ assets, create jobs and manage forest resources more sustainably.
“The World Bank Group Forest Action Plan seeks to make the sustainable management of forests an integral part of the global development agenda,” said Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development. “It is an ambitious response to growing demand from client countries that recognize the critical role forests play in supporting sustainable development, lifting people out of poverty and addressing climate change.”
The Forest Action Plan represents a united response from the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), with each institution bringing particular experience and expertise in support of countries’ priorities.
“The Forest Action Plan captures the inter-dependencies between different sectors, such as infrastructure and forests,” said Sergio Pimenta, Director, Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services Department, IFC. "IFC looks forward to increasing its engagement in the sector through investment in private companies, as well as working with partners to unlock private investment and promote sustainable forest management.”
A key aspect of the new Plan is to streamline interventions across the WBG and forest-related funds -- such as the BioCarbon Fund, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, the Forest Investment Program and the Global Environment Facility – so that coordinated efforts are focused on meeting sustainable development and climate goals.
The WBG works with a wide range of forest stakeholders and partners at the country, regional and global levels. Continuing dialogue and exchange with civil society and other groups will be central to the implementation of the FAP.
The Forest Action Plan builds on the 2002 Strategy, Sustaining Forests: A Development Strategy, which recognized the potential of forests to reduce poverty, drive sustainable development and provide vital local and global environmental services. The WBG Board of Executive Directors’ Committee on Development Effectiveness, which discussed the plan on April 6, welcomed the priorities for the next five years laid out in the FAP and looked forward to its successful implementation.
Read the Forest Action Plan overview.
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