By: Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh
Ghana and Burkina Faso have received endorsement of their far-reaching plans for sustainably managing their forest sectors as part of their goals for climate-resilient economic development.
The endorsements came from the Forest Investment Programme (FIP), one of the four programmes of the US $7.2 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIF), with support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and other partners including the World Bank Group.
Under the Forest Investment Program (FIP), Burkina Faso was allocated US $30 million and Ghana was allocated US $50 million for sustainable management of their forests, through activities under programs for reducing deforestation and forest degradation and instituting sustainable forest management (REDD+), and including agro-forestry and sustainable agriculture.
'Endorsement by the FIP of these two plans signals a leap forward in recognizing the need to transform forest sectors across the Africa region,' said Mafalda Duarte, Chief Climate Change Specialist and CIF Coordinator in AfDB's Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department.'
Mafalda Duarte told participants at the meetings of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) in Istanbul, Turkey: 'As the FIP gets its investment plans underway, it is imperative that Africa provides a window into catalytic investment in this all-important sector for both sustainable development and climate change.'
In Ghana, where timber exports account for nearly 20 per cent of the country's export base, forest cover has been reduced from 8.2 million to 4.9 million hectares over the last century. In response, Ghana is one of the first countries in Africa to institute a REDD+ strategy to address sustainability in its forest sector.
The US $50 million FIP-funded investment plan will help address the underlying drivers of deforestation and catalyze transformational change by creating new models for management and benefit sharing arrangements, new financial instruments and incentives, engaging the private sector in REDD+, and improving coordination and knowledge sharing.
In Burkina Faso, with its unique combination of semi-arid forests, woodlands and wooded agricultural lands, the $30 million investment plan is designed to help fund a program to manage the state-owned forests, with a strong emphasis on participatory approaches and sustainable governance.
The program is expected to be transformational in the sector, particularly by applying a catalytic landscape approach which will enhance results on the ground, inspire needed institutional and regulatory framework changes, and inform decision-making.
The investment will also catalyze self-sustaining, economically viable models for REDD+, with the potential for scaling up beyond the country's borders. In addition, local communities' interests will be bolstered through US $4.5 million provided to the Burkina plan through the CIF Dedicated Grant Mechanism.
With CIF endorsements in place, the African Development Bank and other multilateral development bank partners will now review the plans for specific approvals of project-level work under the investment plans.
Instructively, the US $7.2 billion Climate Investment Funds are a global partnership of the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank Group.