World Bank and Republic of Congo Sign Agreement to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Preserve Forests
New Delhi: The Republic of Congo has signed a landmark agreement with the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) that will unlock up to US$41.8 million for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and increasing carbon sequestration—commonly known as REDD+. This Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) will reward efforts to reduce 8.4 million tons of carbon emissions through 2025 under the Republic of Congo’s ambitious emission reductions program.
“This agreement marks an important step toward a more sustainable forestry sector in the Republic of Congo. The results-based payments generated by the ERPA will incentivize companies, communities, and the government,” said Abdoulaye Seck, Country Director, Republic of Congo. “Our shared goal is to balance the economic and environmental benefits of this precious resource now and for generations to come,”
The Republic of Congo’s forests constitute carbon stock that is vital globally and are home to biodiversity of worldwide importance. The forest also plays an important role in national and household economies.
The country has the third largest expanse of tropical rainforest in Africa, and 80 percent of it is not protected.
The Republic of Congo’s emissions reduction program will be among the first in Africa to test REDD+ at scale. The program will be implemented in the Sangha and Likouala Departments—a huge area covering over 12 million hectares of land and representing nearly 60 percent of the country’s forests. While the national deforestation rate has been historically low, the rainforest risks becoming a future deforestation hotspot particularly due to increased activity among companies involved in logging, palm oil production, and mining. The program will work with them on emission reductions activities, such as adopting reduced-impact logging techniques and identifying and avoiding the conversion of forests with high conservation value.
The program includes an inclusive benefit sharing plan, developed through extensive stakeholder consultations at national and local levels to ensure that community members and local partners are recognized and rewarded for their role in reducing emissions. These include indigenous peoples and local beneficiaries that depend on forests for their livelihoods. They will help lower carbon emissions and boost their own incomes through sustainable agricultural practices and market connections, including smallholder cocoa production, subsistence agroforestry systems, and outgrower schemes among other initiatives. The program also envisions providing payments for environmental services for forest and watershed protection.
The Republic of Congo is the sixth country in Africa and the 13th worldwide to sign an ERPA with the FCPF. Together, these agreements commit nearly $645 million for approximately 130 million tons of carbon emissions reduced through 2025.
The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) is a global partnership of governments, businesses, civil society, and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, forest carbon stock conservation, the sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries, activities commonly referred to as REDD+. Launched in 2008, the FCPF has worked with 47 developing countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean, along with 17 donors that have made contributions and commitments totaling $1.3 billion.