Forests

Gabon to get $150 million to preserve its forests

Norway signs a 10-year deal to help the African nation become the first in the continent to get paid to cut greenhouse emissions from deforestation

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Tuesday 24 September 2019
Gabon has preserved most of its pristine rainforests by creating 13 national parks. Photo: Getty Images

Gabon, where forests cover 90 per cent of the area, will soon become the first African country receive funds to preserve its rainforests against climate change.

Norway will, in partnership with Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), give the African nations $150 million as part of a 10-year deal. It is to help Gabon “reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation, and absorb carbon dioxide by natural forests”.

There’s also a major incentive for Gabon: Carbon price floor set at $10 per certified tonne. The nation has preserved most of its pristine rainforests by creating 13 national parks. One of them — Lopé National Park — is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

“Norway’s agreement to double the price of a tonne of rainforest carbon dioxide is highly significant and gives us hope that the international community will move towards a realistic price that will provide a real incentive for rain forest countries to follow our example,” said Lee White, Gabon’s minister of forest, seas, environment and climate change

Gabon houses almost 60 per cent of elephants in Africa, which is “a key indicator of sound natural resource governance,” according to CAFI.

“The agreement will reward both past performance and future results to be paid annually until 2025,” according to CAFI.

CAFI was launched in 2015 to create investment frameworks to support conservation of rainforests. It is a collaborative partnership between the United Nations Development Program, six central African countries (Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Bank and a coalition of donors including the United Kingdom, Norway and South Korea.

“It (the deal) takes properly into account Gabon’s special status as a country with high forest cover and low deforestation. I hope our partnership can help the country reach their goal to maintain 98 percent of forests in the future,” said Ola Elvestuen, Norway’s minister of climate and environment.

Norway is one of the signatories to the New York Declaration on Forests (NYDF) that celebrated its fifth anniversary on September 23, 2019.  NYDF is a voluntary and non-binding international declaration to take action and halt global deforestation.

“There is no climate solution without rainforests. I am glad tropical deforestation is now receiving the attention it deserves. The international community needs to step up and support committed forest countries that deliver, with predictable results-based finance,” said Elvestuen in a statement.

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