Climate Action

COP19: new public-private forest protection initiative receives $280m pledge from Norway, UK, and US

The new "BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes" aims to advance forest protection efforts up until 2020.

  • 20 November 2013
  • William Brittlebank

The new "BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes" aims to advance forest protection efforts up until 2020.

The multi-million dollar initiative, designed to protect some of the world’s most valuable forest habitats, was announced at the United Nations Summit in Warsaw today.

Ministers from the UK, Norway, and the US have jointly announced that they will be providing a total of around $280 million through to 2020 to the World Bank’s new BioCarbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes. Norway has pledged $135 million, the UK has offered up $120 million and a further $25 million is expected to come from the US.

Ed Davey, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, stated action against deforestation is one of the most effective means of tackling climate change, arguing that there are huge opportunities to reduce emissions, protect biodiversity, agriculture and other livelihoods, through reducing protecting forests and  deforestation.  The US Secretary of state John Kerry added to this, saying that the initiative is a critical tool for sustainable development and will help countries move forward on the UN’s wider REDD+ forest protection mechanism.

The new fund, which is a public-private initiative, is also backed by consumer goods giant Unilever, coffee producer Mondelez International, and investment and agri-business firm Bunge. The World Bank asserted the fact that private companies would be heavily involved, arguing that these companies can provide valuable resources, capital and technical expertise to the initiative. Unilever, Climate Change Capital and Bunge have all expressed enthusiasm for the initiative, stressing that forest protection initiatives have the potential to bring substantial benefits to businesses. Bunge added that the BioCarbon fund will help the goods industry respond to the growing demand from consumers and producers for more sustainable supply chains.

According to the World Bank the funding will primarily be used to develop a portfolio of four to six projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with the main focus including; improved livestock management, climate-smart agriculture, sustainable forest management, and greening and securing supply chains. Oromia, an area that contains 60 per cent of Ethiopias forest, is set to benefit considerably from the fund. The region will receive technical and financial support to promote sustainable agricultural practices, increase productivity, establish new sustainable timber markets and reduce the demand for unsustainable cooking fuel within the community.