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On May 24, 2017 at the 52nd Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council meeting, the GEF approved a total funding of US $11.2 million for two projects co-financed with the African Development Bank (AfDB). The projects, one in Mali (Scaling up a Multiple Benefits Approach to Enhance Resilience in Agro- and Forest Landscapes of Mali’s Sahel Regions) and the other in Benin (Sustainable Forest Management and Conservation Project in Central and South Benin) focused on the “poorest and most vulnerable”, particularly Least Developed Countries (LDCs), according to the GEF CEO Naoko Ishii. Mali and Benin are both LDCs and the projects will improve land and forest management to promote sustainable, resilient and healthy agro- and forest ecosystems. The projects comprise new funding for US $8.6 million (Mali) and US $2.6 million (Benin) with a total AfDB co-financing of $78.8 million.
The “Scaling up– a Multiple Benefits Approach to Enhance Resilience in Agro- and Forest Landscapes of Mali’s Sahel Regions” project aims to promote food security and multiple environmental benefits through a landscape approach. The project is considered very innovative in its design given it is based on the land degradation and sustainable forest management focal areas while also integrating climate change mitigation and chemicals and waste aspects, connecting interrelated problems for local communities within the full rural landscape.
Land degradation is severe in Mali’s Sahel and poses a major threat to livelihoods. The degradation of soil is caused both by natural processes such as wind and water erosion but also by inappropriate agricultural and waste practices, overgrazing, and overexploitation of woodlands. The project is co-financing to the Program to Build Resilience to Food and Nutrition Insecurity in the Sahel, a multi-year program financed by AfDB to increase production, develop infrastructure, basic social services, and diversify income options.
The GEF intervention emphasizes the need to enhance resilience and is based on activities to promote integrated landscape planning and management, investments in protecting the health of landscapes and enhancing productivity, and better learning. Its integrated nature will help produce multiple global and local environmental benefits in addition to improved food security and health.
The project, Sustainable Forest Management and Conservation Project in Central and South Benin, will promote socially and environmentally sustainable forest management by improving forest and land management in target areas of the country as a way to preserve forest cover and biodiversity. The project focuses on the forests of Mont Kouffe and Wari-Maro which constitute some the country’s most important areas for species abundance and diversity. The deforestation rate in Benin is very high (2.5%) and agriculture is a key driver of forest degradation as well as the primary form of economic activity.
The GEF project will improve the management effectiveness of new protected areas, develop local capacities in sustainable forest management, and support alternative livelihoods away from unsustainable agricultural practices. In addition, it will enhance carbon stocks and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Since 2007, the partnership between the GEF and the AfDB has been growing rapidly, working to generate environmentally sustainable, climate smart and transformational change in Africa,” said Mahamat Assouyouti, AfDB/GEF Coordinator. “The goal is to reduce the vulnerability of people and communities to climate change and to reduce negative environmental impact on the continent. The scale of the joint work being carried out by the GEF and AfDB has also matured and diversified substantially. As of end 2016, the overall portfolio of projects funded by GEF and managed by the AfDB amounts to US $302 million, leveraging more than US $2.8 billion in co-financing.”
The AfDB-GEF partnership is an important alliance for tackling pressing environmental problems and reducing the vulnerability of people to climate change in Africa. The Bank is committed to further expand the collaboration and deliver more resources to ensure resilience, sustainability and to drive low-carbon growth.
Read the GEF Annual Report 2016: http://bit.ly/2seBD4V
About the GEF
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a multilateral donor trust fund established in 1991 to finance actions which address critical threats to the global environment. Since then, the GEF has provided over US $14.5 billion in grants and mobilized an excess of US $75.4 billion in additional co-financing for more than 4,000 projects in 167 countries. The GEF is a unique partnership of 18 agencies – including multilateral development banks (MDBs), United Nations agencies, national entities and international NGOs – working with countries to address challenging environmental issues.
The GEF administers several funds: the GEF Trust Fund (TF), the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). The GEF TF works through six focal areas: biodiversity, climate change, chemicals and waste, land degradation, international waters, and sustainable forest management. The LDCF and SCCF instead finance climate adaptation activities.