If the world is to confront the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change while meeting the demands of a rapidly-growing global population, it is vital that we find the balance between conserving and regenerating forest areas with economic growth for poverty reduction. This is what the World Bank’s work on forests aims to achieve.
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Forests have a central role to play as the world confronts the challenges of climate change, food shortages, and improved livelihoods for a growing population. If predictions prove correct, the world ... Show More +will need to shelter, feed, clothe, and provide livelihoods for another two billion people by 2050. This presents a staggering challenge, particularly given new research from the World Bank showing that world temperatures could rise by 4 degrees Celsius this century, impacting water availability, agriculture, and severe weather events. By 2025, two-thirds of all nations will confront water supply stress, and 2.4 billion people will live in countries unable to provide sufficient water for basic health, agriculture, and commercial needs.For centuries, forests have served as a kind of natural safety net for communities during times of famine or other events that impact agricultural and food production; they provide fruits, leaves, gum, nuts, timber, and wood for fuel. Forests feed people and the animals they might depend on for trade or meals when crops fail.At the same time, many of the world’s remaining forests are under increasing threat because of human activities and climate change. Although the pace of deforestation has slowed in some regions, the world still loses about 14.5 million hectares of forests each year. In parts of the Amazon rainforest, rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns are connected with the increased risk of catastrophic dieback with dangerous local, regional and global consequences. In the Congo Basin, a recent analysis of deforestation trends published by the World Bank, highlights the intense pressure that agricultural expansion, mineral exploitation, growing energy needs, and an improved transportation network will pose to the integrity of this vast rainforest area.If countries are able to pursue inclusive green growth strategies that overcome some of the more severe trade-offs between growth and forest protection, the deforestation that has historically accompanied development in many countries could be slowed, making an important contribution to climate change mitigation.If the world is to confront the challenges of mitigating and adapting to climate change while meeting the demands of a rapidly-growing global population, it is vital that we find the balance between conserving and regenerating forest areas with economic growth for poverty reduction.This is what the World Bank’s work on forests aims to achieve.The World Bank’s approach to forestsA little over 10 years ago, the World Bank shifted course on its forest strategy to better reflect the reality that a forest is not simply a physical asset that can be cleared, logged or protected. In fact, a forest influences – and is impacted by – linkages to an array of other activities and sectors, particularly agriculture and water, but also energy, mining and transportation at the local, national and even global level. In its 2002 Forest Strategy, the World Bank spelled out this understanding and pledged to support countries in their efforts to harness the potential of forests to reduce poverty, better integrate forestry into their economies, and protect and strengthen the environmental role forests play, locally and globally.These three objectives have underpinned the World Bank’s work with governments, communities, and private enterprise across all the relevant sectors connected with forestry. In all, the Bank approved 289 forest-related projects in 75 countries between 2002 and 2011. The examples below provide a snapshot of some of the results accomplished in three thematic areas in that time.More resilient, integrated landscapes for poverty reductionOver the centuries, the world has experienced vast forest loss with the spread of agriculture and population growth. To reverse deforestation trends requires a change in policies and laws, institutions, and incentives, in and beyond the forestry sector. This “landscape” approach embraces activities such as restoring degraded forest land, boosting agricultural productivity, realigning farm and forest incentives to protect forests from being converted into farmland, introducing trees on farms and ranches, and involving local communities more directly in the design and oversight of forest management.The World Bank also emphasizes the benefits from integrating different farming approaches – including crop production, livestock, and tree farming – into one area, to diversify livelihoods, increase resilience to economic and climate shocks, and capitalize on natural synergies, for example in the water, carbon and nutrient cycles.In China, the World Bank was the biggest financier of an ambitious plan to increase forest cover after devastating floods along the Yangtze River. Between 1985 and 2007, the World Bank supported China's forestry sector through 8 projects covering 21 provinces, resulting in over 3.8 million ha of newly established forests (around 12 percent of the country's newly planted forests). Besides mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and reducing soil erosion, the increase in forest cover has had significant impacts on people’s livelihoods. One project specifically targeted poor areas in 12 provinces, training farmers to plant and care for a range of profitable trees. Economic trees like chestnut, gingko and bamboo helped boost average annual income by 150% between 1998 and 2004.In Albania, the World Bank worked with the government on a forest project that showcased the benefits of this landscape approach. By integrating forest, pasture, and agriculture management, the Bank-backed initiative led to reduced carbon emissions, the protection of important watersheds, and an increase of 28 percent in incomes in some areas from forests and agriculture. The project was successful in bringing more than 775,000 ha of land under the management of local communities.In Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley, the World Bank partnered with World Vision to pilot an approach that was both integrated and inclusive and led to large-scale landscape restoration with significant livelihood and resilience outcomes. Forest cooperatives were created to oversee the reforestation of the Humbo mountain area by encouraging natural regeneration and limiting wood, charcoal and fodder extraction. Improved land management has stimulated grass growth, providing fodder for livestock that can be cut and sold as an additional source of income. The restored project area provides protection against dangerous landslides and improved water availability for more than 65,000 people. The project is expected to sequester over 880,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent over 30 years, with the World Bank purchasing 165,000 metric tonnes worth of carbon credits through its BioCarbon Fund.These projects point to the tremendous potential to boost people’s physical and financial security by restoring degraded forest land. Worldwide, an estimated 2 billion hectares of lost or degraded forest landscapes could be restored and rehabilitated. If those “landscapes of opportunity” were to be restored to functional and productive ecosystems, they could help deliver a triple win by improving rural livelihoods and food security, increasing climate resilience, and helping mitigate greenhouse gases - while taking pressure off pristine forests.Managing natural capital for economic growthIn forest-rich countries, forestry can be a source of economic growth and employment. More than 160 million people worldwide find work through forest enterprises. If harvested responsibly, forests are also a renewable source of building material, fiber and fuel – tremendous assets as the world looks to reduce the carbon footprint of human activities. At the same time, forests are one of the most mismanaged resources in many countries, partly because they are undervalued and partly because poor governance has fuelled illegal activities.Helping governments to improve economic policy and the management and governance of the forest sector is therefore an important priority. The World Bank’s starting point is to ask how can practices that have often led to significant forest degradation, tax evasion and corruption, be reformed, so that forests contribute more revenue to the state, produce more and better jobs, and result in more sustainable development?The costs of inaction are severe. Worldwide, the failure by governments to collect royalties on the legal use of forests, costs them as much as US$5 billion a year in lost income. Illegal logging costs another US$10-US$15 billion every year in countries in which each dollar of state income is needed to reduce poverty. This sum is more than eight times the amount of money available from official developmental assistance (ODA) for the sustainable management of forests.The causes of illegal logging and other forest crimes are complex, and often lie outside the forestry sector. Weak governance, including unclear or nonexistent policies or legislation on the use of forest resources is a key issue. Weak institutional structures and an inability to monitor and enforce regulations also hamper progress in many countries. These weaknesses are difficult to address politically, since well-connected interest groups tend to benefit from the status quo and resist change.However over the last decade, the World Bank, the European Union and other partners have made significant strides in opening the space for dialogue and reform by backing Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) processes in different parts of the world. The Program on Forests (PROFOR), hosted by the World Bank, has also made forest governance one of its priority issues, providing technical assistance to improve the monitoring of forest activities and helping create consensus and political will around priority reforms.Dialogue and engagement with developing countries has led to progress in the way forest rights are allocated. For example, in Cameroon, legal and regulatory reforms that were part of a wider concession reform effort resulted in the first legal recognition of community forests in any part of West Africa. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a legal review of concessions led to a significant reduction in the area under concession management, to 9.7 million ha in 2008, from 43.5 million ha in 2002. At the same time, steps were taken to bring communities into decision-making processes in forest management, to clarify the rights of traditional forest users, and to develop new models for payments for environmental services. And in Gabon, around 4.7 million ha in forest concessions were cancelled, creating the opportunity to develop new approaches to sustainable forest management.In Mexico, where some 80 percent of forests are owned by indigenous and other communities, the World Bank helped fund a project to strengthen community forestry by improving forest management plans. The support, which was rolled out in phases since 1997, helped increase the contribution of forests to local development. For example, a project evaluation found that between 2003 and 2008, jobs had increased by 27% in targeted communities and ejidos, while the net value of forest goods and services they produced increased by 36%. In 2011 the coverage of this support was extended to all 32 states in Mexico.In Liberia, a forest-rich West African country where timber was once used to purchase weapons and fuel a devastating civil war, forest policy reform has slowly allowed the country to resume selective logging activities within an improved legal framework in which sustainable forest management principles, community rights and conservation needs are formally recognized. In 2010-2011, the World Bank, through the Program on Forests, stepped in to co-finance the roll out of a “chain of custody” system that tracks timber from the forest of origin to the point of export through barcodes and data forms. That system assisted in securing more than $27 million in net tax revenue for the state in 2008-2012. Although many implementation challenges remain, these reforms have benefited the country by creating greater transparency around logging revenue and a platform for stakeholders to demand more effective change.Through its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, the Bank Group has also encouraged responsible corporate investments across the forest products supply chain and worked to create a more level playing field for legitimate forest-sector enterprises that adopt sustainable forest management practices. For example, IFC started investing in 2003 in a company that produces high-quality particleboard products for the construction industry. The company has achieved Forest Stewardship Council certification for its 230,000-hectare concession in Russia, while encouraging third party suppliers to adhere to sustainable forest management practices.Valuing and preserving environmental servicesForests provide many essential environmental services, from absorbing and stocking carbon that would otherwise contribute to climate change, to regulating water cycles, hosting 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity (including pollinators crucial to food security), maintaining soil quality, and reducing the risks of natural disasters such as floods at a time when many of these systems are coming under tremendous pressure. While these services have been difficult to quantify and value in the past, new research into natural capital accounting, innovative market approaches, and political awareness have contributed to a growing appreciation for the preservation of natural resources.The challenge for policy makers is to bring these values into markets, into decisions that affect more than one sector, and into macroeconomic and development policy in general. Over the last decade, the World Bank has worked with partners to increase financing for forest conservation and protection, and has been engaged in the development of effective markets for the environmental services that forests provide, including biodiversity protection, carbon sequestration, and watershed management.For example, the Bank played an active role in promoting the establishment of protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon. Bank teams worked for several years with local and federal authorities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including the World Wildlife Fund to protect Amazonian forests. The Amazon region accounts for an astonishing 30 percent of the world’s remaining tropical forests and about half of all the species on the planet but it has been under threat from the growth of agricultural and livestock areas and other logging activities. In its first phase, the Amazon Region Protected Areas project (ARPA) helped designate around 24 million hectares of new protected areas, an area roughly equal in size to the United Kingdom. Additionally, the project helped classify 45.4 million hectares as indigenous lands and set aside 2.1 million hectares into special reserves for sustainable, community-managed use. The project tackled successfully some of the daunting concerns in ecosystem protection today: enforcement of environmental laws in remote areas; the needs and aspirations of rural people for improved livelihoods; and the valuing and funding of conservation activities against a wider backdrop of ongoing resource exploitation. In its second phase, ARPA will cover nearly 70 million hectares of rainforest, saving more than 1.1 billion tons of CO2 emissions through 2050.The Bank Group has also explored a wide range of opportunities to help developing countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and to conserve, sustainably manage and enhance forest carbon stocks. This approach, known as REDD+, will likely rest on a complex mix of multilateral and bilateral assistance, civil society efforts, private sector initiatives and carbon markets. The Bank’s approach has been to prepare and pilot different REDD+ initiatives through partnerships.The Bank serves as the Trustee and the Secretariat of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), a global partnership that is helping countries draft REDD+ readiness plans and will provide carbon payments to countries that meet certain targets. The Bank is also the implementing organization, together with other multilateral development banks, of the Forest Investment Program (FIP), and is financing pilot investments for reforestation and soil carbon through the BioCarbon Fund, a public-private initiative that mobilizes resources for pioneering projects that deliver emission reductions, while promoting biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. Those interventions, blended with more conventional World Bank lending activities, are converging to create transformative change in the forest and broader rural sector in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mexico.Such alliances are critical to ensuring the world has the funds necessary to confront the vast array of challenges in protecting and better managing forests. While the World Bank currently is the largest single source of finance in the multilateral community for forest projects, its loans and grants are only a fraction of what is needed to navigate the trade-offs between forest protection and economic growth and secure a prosperous and sustainable planet for future generations. Show Less -
CAPE TOWN, 1 July 2011 – The Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), a partnership of five multilateral development banks, approved $444 million in grants and near-zero-interest loans to support Cambodia, Mo... Show More +zambique, Nepal, St. Lucia, and Zambia in their efforts toward national-level climate resilience. Also in Cape Town two new investment plans were endorsed for Burkina Faso and Democratic Republic of Congo for a total of $90 million in grants. Under the CIFs’ Pilot Program for Climate Resilience, five nation-wide strategic programs for climate resilience were approved: $105 million for Cambodia to improve irrigation, flood and drought management, climate-resistent agriculture and forestry in coastal areas, and mainstream climate resilience into development planning; $102 million for Mozambique to improve the capacity of roads and coastal cities to withstand climate change, transform their hydro-meteorological services, and enhance climate-resilient agricultural production and food security; $110 million for Nepal to build climate resilience of watersheds in mountain regions, build resilience to climate-related hazards, and build climate-resilient communities through private sector participation; $17 million for St. Lucia to build national climate resilience (as part of the Caribbean Regional Program); and $110 million for Zambia to strengthen climate resilience in Barotse and the Kafue River Basin. The total $444 million funding envelope for these five countries is nearly half grants ($207 million) with $237 million in near-zero-interest credits. These countries join Bangladesh, Grenada, and St. Vincent and Grenadines as the first eight countries in the world to create Strategic Programs for Climate Resilience (SPCRs) linked to their development plans with CIF support. “The CIF's Strategic Climate Fund gives priority to highly vulnerable least developed countries, including the small island developing states. As momentum grows for climate action on the ground, the CIFs can be a real game-changer," said Admed Shafeeq Ibrahim Moosa, the Presidential Envoy for Science and Technology from the Maldives, and co-chair of the CIF’s Strategic Climate Fund, at the end of the first week of meetings. Under the CIF’s Forest Investment Program, two new investment plans were endorsed: $30 million in grant funding for Burkina Faso to decentralize sustainable forest management, encourage participatory protection of state forest reserves, and integrate information-sharing; $60 million in grant funding for Democratic Republic of Congo to address deforestation and degradation, provide small grants to promising small-scale REDD+ initiatives, and engage the private sector in REDD+. “This week we’ve seen impressive strategic plans from the many developing countries who want to partner with the Climate Investment Funds. Now even more countries are queuing up. At this point, nearly all CIF funds have been allocated and as we press forward on implementing these important projects, we are seeing a need for additional financing – at least to cover the gap between today and when the Green Climate Fund is fully operational,” said Andrew Steer, World Bank Special Envoy for Climate Change. During the Clean Technology Fund meetings, the Government of India expressed interest in submitting an Investment Plan soon. Despite a current shortage of funds, the Climate Investment Funds have invited India to prepare an Investment Plan that will be reviewed in November 2011. “We estimate that current programs in the Clean Technology Fund will result in 1.56 billion tons of CO2 reductions or avoidance. If and when India partners with the CTF we will see even more dramatic CO2 reductions being financed by the Climate Investment Funds,” Steer added. Other Recent Financing DecisionsAs announced last week during the first CIF Committee Meetings, the CIFs’ Clean Technology Fund also approved $197 million for the 125 megawatt Ouarzazate I Concentrated Solar Project in Morocco, a large-scale investment that is expected to help bring down the costs of concentrated solar and create as many as 80,000 jobs in Morocco by 2020. This solar power plant is the first project in a Middle East and North Africa Regional Plan that will eventually triple today’s global investments in concentrated solar power. Morocco is partnering with the African Development Bank and World Bank, two partners in the Climate Investment Funds, on this project. “Despite all of these efforts, the bottom line is that there is an urgent need to improve access to climate finance at the scale required for transformational impact in Africa and put in place mechanisms that can best respond to Africa’s needs,” said Bobby Pittman, Vice President for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration at the African Development Bank. The Morocco solar project was approved just days after the World Bank Board of Directors approved US$47.12 million under the PPCR to help Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines improve the safety of their buildings from the impacts of climate change and increase their public institutions’ capacity to assess natural risks. Rehabilitating vulnerable infrastructure is a central part of the Caribbean Regional Program and ties directly to PPCR’s focus on vulnerable countries and small island developing states. Additional donor support to the CIFs was also pledged recently to help scale-up renewable energy in low-income countries. Norway announced a 150 million krones pledge (equal to $US 28 million) and Australia announced a pledge of 25.5 million Australian dollars (equal to $US 27 million). The financing announcements made during the annual CIF Committee Meetings coincided with the 2011 CIF Partnership Forum, a 2-day public dialogue co-hosted by the African Development Bank and co-chaired by South Africa. Speeches were made by South African Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and South African Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane. The Forum attracted more than 500 CIF stakeholders from 79 countries to assess progress on CIF investments, explore ways to scale-up countries’ impact on climate change, and share lessons learned. More than 70 civil society representatives attended the event with many more participating online to discuss green jobs, biodiversity-smart planning for wind farms, and how to finance large-scale, transformative investments. The event featured sessions on private sector engagement, scientific updates, and climate modeling. Discussions were held on the significance of CIF governing bodies’ equal representation of developed and developing countries, on innovative financing, on national-level planning, and on the importance of involving a range of participants in decision-making. “Through the CIFs we’re learning important lessons on climate action and helping inform the discussions on climate finance. It’s clear that Africa needs financing that reflects its priorities and challenges in responding to climate change,” Pittman said. The $6.5 billion Climate Investment Funds are a global partnership of the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, InterAmerican Development Bank, and the World Bank Group. Show Less -
Washington DC, February 4, 2010 - A $100 million pledge from the Government of Japan has helped to secure the funding base and launch the operational phase of two new climate programs supporting fores... Show More +t management and renewable energy investments in developing countries.On the eve of the first meeting of the Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP) sub-committee in Washington, the Japanese government pledged $40 million to the path-breaking program, already supported by the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.Japan also pledged $60 million to the Forest Investment Program (FIP) whose other donors include Australia, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States.Total pledged contributions to SREP and FIP now amount to $300 million and $400 million respectively.The two programs are funded under the Strategic Climate Fund, one of two funds established as part of the $6 billion multi-stakeholder Climate Investment Funds (CIF). All CIF programs are now underway after a fast turn-around design and funding process which took just over a year and a half.Governing bodies for the two newest programs are meeting at World Bank headquarters in Washington this week to begin the selection process for pilot countries to receive their support."These Climate Investment Fund meetings send a strong signal that donor and recipient countries alike want action for climate transformation. All of the proposed CIF programs have now been given enough financial support to move into operations" said Katherine Sierra, Vice President for Sustainable Development for the World Bank, which manages and administers the funds in partnership with other Multilateral Development Banks.The Climate Investment Funds are a unique pair of financing instruments designed to test what can be achieved to initiate transformational change towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development through scaled-up financing channeled through the Multilateral Development Banks."The value of the Climate Investment Funds is two-fold: to pilot and demonstrate, through working in a few selected countries, how to transform economic and sectoral development in a climate-friendly way," said Sierra. "This is also an unprecedented opportunity to scale up experiences and a growing knowledge base so that the pilot countries become real-time global laboratories for climate action."Both the SREP and FIP offer an unprecedented opportunity to low income countries to undertake pilot programs. The FIP supports countries' efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) by financing investments to address the causes of deforestation and forest degradation. The SREP will help a small number of low income countries initiate energy sector transformation by helping them take renewable energy solutions to a national programmatic level.Both programs operate through a governing mechanism with equal representation by contributor and recipient countries, and which officially includes representatives of the broader stakeholder base, including non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples, and the private sector as observers.All CIF stakeholders will gather in Manila, Philippines at the Asian Development Bank on March 18-19, 2010 in a Partnership Forum for a dialogue about CIF accomplishments and challenges, and to begin to collectively harvest knowledge on climate action emerging from early CIF work.The two Climate Investment Funds are the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), financing scaled up demonstration, deployment, and transfer of low-carbon technologies for significant greenhouse gas reductions within country investment plans; and the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF), financing targeted programs in developing countries to pilot new climate or sectoral approaches with scaling-up potential.Both the CTF and SCF trust fund committees have equal representation from developed and developing countries. Recognizing the imperative of climate change deliberations underway in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the CIF were designed as an interim measure to strengthen the global knowledge base for low-carbon and climate-resilient growth solutions. The CIF are implemented jointly by the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, and World Bank. Show Less -