Located in the inter-tropical zone of West Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, or the Ivory Coast, is comprised of a diverse land area of 322,462 km2 and a population of 22 million. The country has a Human Development Index of 0.432, placing it at 168 of 187 countries. After years of conflict and mismanagement, the government restored a normal budget cycle in 2011 to begin reform. The Ivory Coast’s economy has rebounded, with GDP growing by 9.5% in 2012 to $24.68 billion. However, following the 1999-2002 sociopolitical conflict, protection and sustainable management of natural resources, particularly forests, has been challenging for the government. According to Société de Développement des Forêts, the infiltration rate of forest reserves increased from 18% in 1996 to roughly 50% in 2014.
The country’s forest cover, approximately 37% of the country’s territory in 1960, is estimated to have decreased to less than 14% in 2010. The adverse consequences of the crisis on security and governance, alongside rapid and uncontrolled urbanization, have increased environmental degradation with overexploitation of natural resources. Large segments of the population moved into the forests during the conflict when enforcement of regulatory controls were non-existent, and are now entrenched in utilizing forest resources for their livelihoods. In July 2013, Ivory Coast initiated the development of its national REDD+ strategy, in conjunction with the World Bank and UN-REDD. The implementation of REDD+ activities are expected to lead to a 10% reduction per annum in annual loss of forest area from, 93,000 hectares in 2015 to about 50,000 hectares in 2020. Though post-conflict recovery is slow, the outlook is optimistic for the Ivory Coast.
Successful implementation of FIP projects in Ivory Coast have the potential of reducing annual CO2 emissions by as much as 2,000,000 metric tons.
In conjunction with the World Bank, UN-REDD (under a FAO/UNDP partnership), and the French Development Agency, the Ivory Coast is partnering with the CIF to leverage FIP funding. The support of the FIP will allow successful implementation of field activities to ensure adherence of the local communities in the targeted project areas of the Bélier region and the former district of Bas Sassandra. FIP resources will enable the Ivory Coast to increase agricultural productivity and reforestation while reducing deforestation, strengthening fuelwood supplies, restoring gazette forests, developing sustainable mining, and securing land through private sector investments. FIP funding is expected to foster an enabling regulatory environment and attractive climate for investments to not only rehabilitate and develop socioeconomic conditions of the Ivory Coast, but also restore and protect the country’s forests.