Forests, Finance, and Food Insecurity: Global Canopy Programme

9 December 2015

COP21 has seen rich countries and global financial institutions promise a raft of investments for reforestation and sustainable agriculture in developing countries. The UK, Germany, and Norway pledged $5 billion in total over a 5-year period to support initiatives in countries that can prove their commitment to sustainable agendas.

Colombia has announced that it will work alongside the the same 3 donor countries in a $300 million initiative to reduce deforestation. And the World Bank has committed to investing $1 billion into the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, a project aiming to restore 100 million hectares of land in 14 countries over the next 15 years. But however sizeable these figures may seem, they are dwarfed by the finance driving deforestation.

The agricultural production of just 5 commodities causes roughly 60% of global deforestation. The annual value of the trade in these commodities is $136 billion. So despite the ambition and commitment their $1 billion-a-year donation shows, the UK, Germany, and Norway have set out to fix deforestation with a tool that is well over 140 times too small.

Furthermore, most forest countries are hard pressed to fund the conservation and resource management necessary for healthy water systems and soil. This puts future agricultural productivity at risk. Domestic economies already provide over 2 thirds of the $25 billion currently invested in landscape conservation. A recent report by the New Climate Economy shows $250 billion annually is necessary to meet conservation targets in developing countries.

23244812510_bd45014ab3_zAs Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, formerly Nigeria’s Minister for Finance, recently argued at the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris, ‘How can this need be met where most of the land in question is densely occupied, often by very poor people?’

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Originally published at Global Canopy Programme

 

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