ADDIS ABABA, March 23, 2017 —The World Bank today signed a new grant agreement with the Government of Ethiopia to improve the enabling environment for sustainable forest management, investments, and emissions reductions in the state of Oromia. The $18 million grant, provided by the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund (Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes), will support the government’s new Oromia Forested Landscape Program (OFLP). This program would be the first operation financed by the Bank to target greenhouse gas emissions from a landscape perspective across an entire jurisdiction.
This grant will support community-centered activities that reduce deforestation and land-use based emissions, as well as enhance forest carbon stocks in deforestation hotspots in selected sites in 49 districts of Oromia. It will set the stage for improving land use management in the rest of the state.
This preliminary work is expected to unlock a BioCarbon Fund commitment to purchase up to 10 million tons of carbon dioxide emission reductions expected to be achieved through this grant. The purchase agreement would become effective in 2018, for the next 10 years, based on verifiable results in slowing state-wide deforestation.
“Communities are at the heart of the forest resources in the Oromia National Regional State and this grant will enable them to benefit from restoring and maintaining forests that are key to their lives,” said Admasu Nebebe, State Minister for Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation. “At the national level, we hope this innovative approach will serve as a model for scaling up action on forests for poverty reduction, improved livelihoods, better water security, and climate change mitigation.‘’
Oromia state is roughly the size of Italy and home to 30 million people. “Oromia’s rich forested landscapes are not only critical for livelihoods and climate mitigating effects, but are vital for water security throughout Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa region due to their water provisioning and filtering services,” said Magda Lovei, Practice Manager for Environment Group at the World Bank. To ensure sustainable management of these forests, the government of Ethiopia initiated the OFLP, financed by multiple sources and instruments.
“The World Bank is pleased to partner with the Government of Ethiopia on an initiative that considers forests to be an important driver of development. We hope this is just the start of a platform that crowds-in investment from various actors to benefit those who live in rich forests, but often are the poorest,’’ said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director, Ethiopia.
The grant will support participatory forest management and reforestation investments in deforestation hotspots, coupled with improvements to the institutional systems state-wide that underpin truly large-scale investments and emissions reduction purchases. These systems include a benefits sharing mechanism, emissions monitoring, and an investment coordination platform to align various initiatives on the ground to increase the likelihood of achieving the country’s forest cover targets.
The OLFP is fully aligned with Ethiopia’s Second Growth and Transformation Plan and Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy that aim to reduce poverty while transforming the way rural landscapes are managed. These national plans include ambitious targets to add 5 million hectares of additional forest cover by 2020 and restore 22 million hectares of degraded landscapes by 2030.