Africa’s Largest Pay-for-Performance Initiative To Save Its Forests

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Forests have a critical role as carbon stores.  They influence water, climate and weather systems. They build countries’ resilience to extreme weather events and help people adapt to a changing climate. Around 1.2 billion poor people directly depend on forests for their livelihoods. Forests are also home to an estimated 80 percent of the world’s species. Taking action to preserve these landscapes, the U.K. government has set up the International Climate Fund (ICF) to provide £3.87 billion between April 2011 and March 2016 to help the world’s poorest adapt to climate change and promote cleaner, greener growth. One country needing this financial aid is the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It believes that it has a responsibility to protect its forests for the benefit of humanity, yet as a developing nation, it needs a partnership with industrialised nations to help provide the financial support.

So, this May at the Houses of Parliament, His Excellency Bavon N'sa Mputu Elima, Minister of Environment, Conservation of Nature and Tourism for the DRC, announced that this region of Africa is embarking on a massive green development program, which will be financed by the sale of emissions reductions that will be earned when the scheme succeeds in striking reductions of deforestation. This is Africa’s largest pay-for-performance initiative to capture the natural value of standing forests and is very significant, as nothing like it has been attempted before.

It’s a scheme that utilises the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism to protect nearly 9 million hectares of primary tropical rainforest, in a 12 million-hectare landscape, which is almost the size of England! It is a plan that demonstrates the transformational power of REDD+ to conserve forests for future generations while providing unprecedented green development for local citizens.

The is a very special region, home to approximately 1.8 million people and to many magnificent endangered species, including the forest elephant and the bonobo, the great ape known as the closest relative to humans that lives only in the DRC. The U.K. government is very supportive for this vital work that the DRC is doing to protect its forests, which will benefit the global community. Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park & North Kingston, reinforced the importance of the DRC forest conservation program as a turning point in the battle to protect threatened forests. He also underlined the belief that this partnership represented the beginning of an essential dialogue between the two countries on how the UK’s International Climate Fund could best support this initiative.

It is hoped that this pioneering climate change mitigation program will become a model for the Congo Basin Forest Nations of Africa and perhaps for forest nations throughout the developing world.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia