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New Grant to Support Forested Landscapes as a Key Pillar of Ethiopia’s Green Economy

July 30, 2014


  • The Ethiopian government recently signed a $10 million grant agreement with the World Bank Group to help the country implement approaches to sustainably and equitably manage its forests as a contribution to its vision of a Climate Resilient Green Economy
  • The grant, provided by Norway and DfID (UK) through the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund, specifically provides additional funds for Ethiopia’s REDD+ Readiness program, a multi-donor initiative that assists countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, foster conservation, and enhance forest carbon stocks
  • The grant will also support the country to develop an investment pilot operation in Oromia Regional State

ADDIS ABABA, July 30, 2014 – The Government of Ethiopia has recently signed a new grant agreement with the World Bank to continue to implement approaches to sustainably and equitably manage its forests. The $10 million grant, provided by Norway and DfID (UK) through the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund, will be implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The grant will support the development of an investment operation in Oromia Regional State that would conserve forests, restore degraded lands, and enhance landscape productivity for multiple benefits. The grant will also further strengthen capacity for scaling up similar landscape-wide initiatives in other parts of Ethiopia. Additionally, it will support finalization of the national strategy to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, also known as REDD+ Strategy, as well as support the identification of options for benefits sharing arrangements and participatory forest management approaches.

Ethiopia’s vision for sustainable landscapes has the potential to improve the lives of more than 80 million people that depend on the health and long-term productivity of the country’s rural and forest landscapes. Investing in greener landscapes also contributes to the country’s Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy, as well as its Growth and Transformation Plan. Ethiopia’s climate-smart and green growth ambitions are producing local benefits while contributing to the global response to climate change.

“The Government of Ethiopia signed a $10 million grant with the World Bank Group that will strengthen Ethiopia’s capacity to manage its forest resources sustainably, and allow the country to establish ‘readiness’ for international forest climate finance by developing baselines and systems for monitoring forest carbon, and to preparing a landscape-level climate-smart program in Oromia Regional State,” said Magda Lovei, World Bank Practice Manager for Environment and Natural Resources in the Africa Region, which is leading the delivery of this grant. “The grant will also support Ethiopia’s strategic goal of maximizing the contribution of Ethiopia’s forests to green growth.”

For two decades, Ethiopia’s communities have been transforming their environment toward more productive and greener landscapes that generate multiple benefits such as cleaner and more plentiful water, higher yields, and expanded tree and vegetation cover that provide livelihoods and buffer against shocks.  The government’s Sustainable Land Management Program, for example, has been financed by the Bank and other development partners, and has helped scale up community-led watershed management. The support to the forest sector through REDD+ and other sources will continue to advance work at landscape level. Examples of successful community forest management, supported by the government, are changing the pre-conceptions that many have about deforestation and degradation in Ethiopia – and the ability of the landscape to heal and contribute to poverty reduction. 

" The investments in Ethiopia’s forests and rural landscapes contribute directly to Ethiopia’s bold and ambitious vision for a Climate Resilient Green Economy "

His Excellency Ato Kebede Yimam

Ethiopia’s State Minister for Forests

“Ethiopia has set a course on a development path to build a resilient, carbon-neutral economy by 2025.  Long-term sustainable management of the country’s land and forests is one of the key pillars for achieving our vision for shared prosperity and poverty reduction,” said His Excellency Ato Kebede Yimam, Ethiopia’s State Minister for Forests.

In the 1990s, Participatory Forest Management (PFM) was introduced in Ethiopia to tackle severe forest loss resulting from escalating demand for fuel wood and for land for crop production and grazing. Considering that Ethiopia lost large tracts of its forest area since the 1950s, new and effective ways were urgently needed to manage the remaining forest areas (where coffee originated) and to reduce the degradation and loss of fertile land.

In areas where these innovations were introduced, communities have experienced positive impacts, not only in terms of increased prosperity, but also in terms of social empowerment. The key to success was the participatory process where forest and land management plans were developed jointly by communities and local governments, spelling out rights and responsibilities for both sides. Ethiopia’s vision of sustainable landscapes is well placed to integrate PFM with a range of other techniques for land restoration, water retention, and promotion of new energy sources that can help reduce deforestation, improve land use, protect soil and water resources, and improve livelihoods. 

Ethiopia is now using community-based models to rehabilitate forested landscapes on a wider scale. In the north, Ethiopia’s agricultural and forested landscapes are undergoing a transformation supported by the sustainable land management program implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture. The World Bank and other development partners, including Norway, Germany and Global Environment Facility (GEF), are helping to blend financing in innovative ways to support this national vision. Looking forward, the vision of increasing benefits from sustainable landscapes - including poverty reduction and shared prosperity – can be achieved through the integrated efforts of Government agencies in partnership with communities.   

“PFM has promoted community awareness about how forests control land degradation, maintain healthy landscapes and sustain food and energy security,” said Ato Ararsa, Deputy Director General of Ethiopia’s Oromia Forest and Wildlife Enterprise. “With PFM, communities can diversify and enhance their sources of income, improve social capital and build resilience to droughts and floods.”

The regional state of Oromia harbors 60% of the country’s remaining forest and has seen successful PFM pilots. Building on this success, the government now wants to scale up and replicate this effort.

Recognizing the fact that development efforts need to take an integrated approach to address the complex and intertwined issues of deforestation, environmental degradation and rural poverty, an ambitious landscape-level program will be implemented in Oromia Regional State. The program aims to break down sectoral silos and foster cross-sectoral institutional coordination with the aim to protect forest, stimulate green growth, enhance food security, and rural livelihoods.

The $10 million grant for the forest sector is a strategic complement to the existing large portfolio of World Bank financial and advisory support to the country on sustainable landscapes. One example is the second phase of the Ethiopia Sustainable Land Management Project (SLMP-2), financed through the regional World Bank-GEF Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP) in support of the Great Green Wall Initiative. SAWAP is a second generation TerrAfrica investment of $1.1 billion financed by the International Development Association (IDA), GEF, and trust funds, and supports the implementation of a country-driven vision of integrated natural resources management for sustainable and climate-resilient development in twelve African countries.