WASHINGTON, August 27 , 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a total of US$9.3 million in trust fund grants for the Government of Rwanda to help boost land management of the Gishwati and Mukura forests and improve the environment, local livelihoods, and climate resilience.
This area has lost most of its natural forest in recent decades, and has suffered from severe soil erosion, landslides and floods. But some patches of native forest remain, alongside important biodiversity, including a small population of chimpanzees.
The financing in the form of grants from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) will support the Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation Project. It will increase the number and diversity of trees to help improve soil fertility, stabilize slopes, regulate stream flow and expand the resource base for local livelihoods.
The project will also focus on rehabilitating the forests and its biodiversity, improving sustainable land management and agroforestry, and introducing silvo-pastoral approaches. This will be complemented by direct support to community livelihoods, improved flood forecasting and preparedness, and investments in terracing to prevent land erosion.
“The long-term vision is that protecting the Gishwati-Mukura area’s soil, water, forest and scenic riches will support a diverse and profitable economy, and ultimately boost tourism along the Lake Kivu shore. Project activities and coordinated planning across government agencies will play a major role in meeting this goal” said Stephen Ling, World Bank team leader for the project.
The rural residents living in the Gishwati-Mukura area, a quarter of whom make up the poorest people as well as those who farm on land highly vulnerable to natural disasters, will benefit directly from increased agricultural production through improved land management, livelihoods diversification and improved flood warning and response systems.