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DRC and Morocco elected to new forest financing programme

afrol News, 20 October - Signaling their commitment to a unique partnership to combat climate change through forest management, six developing countries will join five contributor countries on the newly elected governing body of the Forest Investment Program (FIP), a programme of the Strategic Climate Fund under the Climate Investment Funds of the multilateral development banks.

The developing countries, which include two African states of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Morocco, together with Brazil, India, Nepal, and Romania, were selected through a regional self-selection process to take seats on the FIP governing body. They join Australia, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States, who have pledged nearly US$350 million to the FIP.

The FIP Trust Fund Sub-Committee, the governing body of the Programme, will meet in Washington D.C. for the first time on 29 October, 2009, to begin implementation of the programme, including consideration of criteria on how to select pilot countries and regions.

The FIP governance structure is among the first in a new generation of partnerships among developing and developed countries and other stakeholders which takes account of the need for a level playing field in addressing climate action.

“This new programme will provide much-needed upfront investment to developing countries and forest-dependent communities to help them prepare for and benefit from financial flows for the sustainable management of forests,” said Eduardo Saboia, who represented Brazil in the series of FIP design meetings.

FIP investment programmes will be implemented through a limited number of country-led and owned FIP pilots. These should lead to replicable models resulting in effective forest management, improved forest governance and information systems, restoration and sustainable management of degraded forests, forest protection measures, and other investments to reduce the pressure on forests, both inside and outside the forest sector. The pilot programmes will be chosen by taking into account country distribution across regions and biomes, ensuring that the FIP will generate broad lessons addressing a range of challenges for the sustainable management of forests.

Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development for the UK, which has announced a pledge of up to £100 million to the FIP, said: “Deforestation is a global tragedy, destroying the homes and livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest people. Rampant, large scale deforestation also produces more carbon emissions than all the world’s planes, ships and cars combined. We need strong, decisive action now and at Copenhagen to reverse this dangerous situation. I expect this program to develop workable solutions which will offer a route to a successful, sustainable future for the world’s forests.”

All stakeholders agree that, for the FIP to be effective, support must be built from the ground up. Therefore, a special Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Dedicated Initiative will be established within the FIP. It will provide grants to these communities as an integral part of country or regional pilots. These grants will support the participation of Indigenous Peoples in the development of FIP investment strategies, programs, and projects.

“Forest dependent people had a strong voice in the design process of the FIP” said Stewart Maginnis, Director, Forest Conservation Programme at IUCN. “Such involvement is critical in order to ensure that emission reductions efforts are durable. Those people whose way of life depends on forests must have a hand in helping to shape national pilot initiatives as well as guarantee that they will be included as direct beneficiaries.”

The FIP, one of three specialised programmes under the Strategic Climate Fund of the Climate Investment Funds, will be implemented jointly through the multilateral development banks (the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank Group) in close collaboration with other development partners, such as the United Nations and bilateral agencies.

Active observers at the meetings of the FIP Sub-Committee include representatives of indigenous peoples, civil society organisations, the private sector, GEF, UNFCCC, the UN-REDD technical secretariat, and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility secretariat.

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