Feature Story | Mar 08 2018

The city of Luang Prabang, Lao PDR, will play host to the 2017 Forest Investment Program (FIP) Pilot Countries Meeting, on September 27-29. The FIP provides indispensable direct investments to benefit forests, development and the climate, with a parallel focus on enhancing partner learning and coordination. Annual pilot country meetings bring together participants from government, the private sector, civil society, Indigenous Peoples, local community groups, and colleagues from the multilateral development banks (MDBs) that implement FIP-funded projects, to foster peer-to-peer learning among the 53 pilot countries—from practical issues related to the design and implementation of FIP investment plans to other forestry activities. The last FIP Pilot Countries Meeting brought together over 100 participants from all 23 FIP countries, in Oaxaca, Mexico, June 12-14, 2016. This will be the first Pilot Countries Meeting in which FIP and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) collaborate to bring peer-to-peer learning to over 50 countries, for a meeting of minds that represents the newest strides in forestry and REDD+. The host country, where forests cover about 40% of geographical area, was one of the first 8 pilot countries to benefit from FIP funding. Lao PDR’s FIP Investment Plan aims to complement ongoing REDD+ initiatives, including a focus on strengthening legal and regulatory frameworks. FIP resources are also being used to support participatory forest management and sustainable environmental services at all levels (national, provincial, district), both in and out of designated state forest areas. The SUFORD (Scaling Up Sustainable Forestry for Rural Development) Project is just one good example of FIP investments at work in the host country. Watch the video to learn more about the project. The project’s core objective is to reduce carbon emissions through sustainable forest management in priority areas and to pilot forest landscape management in four northern provinces of Lao PDR. SUFORD has seen early success in developing community action plans and village livelihood activities, which divert villagers out of the forests and through sustainable livelihood opportunities. This approach protects forests from deforestation and degradation. Participatory sustainable forest management of this nature will be one of many topics for discussion at the meeting, along with how countries can take ownership of communicating their experiences and lessons learned. The FIP recognizes that the management of forests requires a long-term perspective. That is why opportunities like this, which provide countries with a platform for ongoing knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer learning, remain a top priority for the program.

In the News | Mar 08 2018

Renowned musician Okyeame Kwame, real name Kwame Nsiah-Apau, has hit the ground running in his new role as the Climate Change Ambassador for the $5.5 million Ghana Dedicated Grant Mechanism project. The DGM is an innovative grant program for fighting forest loss is putting project design and funding decisions in the hands of indigenous peoples and local communities, giving them the power to set priorities and implement programs aimed at conserving their natural environment. It was conceived and designed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities and funded by the global community through the Forest Investment Program (FIP) to provide the resources to Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities that will enable them to strengthen their participation in the FIP and other REDD+ processes.  

Feature Story | Mar 08 2018

With over 10 million inhabitants in Kinshasa, traditional cookstoves in the capital have a very real and direct impact on deforestation in the country. A change in the way Kinshasa families cook daily meals holds great potential for reducing emissions from deforestation. An initiative is boosting the production and use of more efficient cookstoves in this Congo Basin country. A year ago, 51-year old grandmother Janine Nyota-Nguburu traded in her traditional cookstove, about the size of a large metal lantern, for an energy-efficient version that she bought just around the corner from her small urban farmhouse in Kinshasa. The ceramic center of Janine’s new cookstove does a better job of harnessing radiant heat and reduces the amount of charcoal she needs to burn to prepare her signature fried beans. This also means a 70-kg bag of charcoal that costs about $20 now lasts her two months instead of two weeks. But it’s not just the money she’s saving that has her breathing a little easier. “My kitchen was always too hot, and the smoke from burning so much charcoal over many hours each day would burn our eyes and give us lung problems,” said Janine. Traditional cookstoves cost about $2, whereas improved cookstoves cost between $8 and $70 (Photo: Catherine Sear, World Bank) Cooking is now cheaper and safer in Janine’s kitchen, but according to the Congolese Alliance for Improved Cookstoves (ACFCA in French), only about 4% of households in Kinshasa use an energy efficient version. Families either don’t know they exist or they can’t afford one--traditional cookstoves cost about $2, whereas improved cookstoves can cost anywhere between $8 and $70. With over 10 million people in Kinshasa, traditional cookstoves in the capital have a very real and direct impact on deforestation in the country. It is estimated that 84 percent of all harvested wood in DRC is used for charcoal and firewood. Charcoal is preferred over burning wood because it provides a slower, somewhat cleaner burn. But charcoal production is very wasteful. It takes about 6 kg of wood to produce 1 kg of charcoal, and at every stage of production and transport, more waste occurs. What’s more, fuelwood is usually sourced unsustainably from natural forests, creating vast, degraded areas around Kinshasa and other urban centers. In an effort to protect tropical forests in DRC’s Mai-Ndombe province directly north of Kinshasa, the World Bank is implementing an Improved Forested Landscape Management Project, funded by the Forest Investment Program (FIP). It includes about $2 million to support the production and marketing of energy-efficient cookstoves in Kinshasa, work that’s being implemented by the Bureau d'Etudes et de Recherche pour le Développement on the ground. This demand-side approach to reducing the drivers of deforestation complements the project’s parallel supply-side agroforestry activities in Mai-Ndombe’s savannah lands, namely planting trees that grow rapidly for charcoal production in order to take the pressure off the area’s natural forests.   Biso na Bino (BNB) is a Kinshasa-based Congolese company that produces energy-efficient cookstoves, much like the one Janine uses. Biso na Bino (BNB) is a Kinshasa-based Congolese company that produces energy-efficient cookstoves (Photo: Guy Ngazi)  With support from the FIP project, they have been able to relaunch their industrial production facility. As of today, the company manufactures more than 1,500 cookstoves per month, making them Kinshasa’s largest producer. As production grows, the company saves on fixed costs, which in turn allows them to make the stoves more cheaply and sell them for less.  Prior to FIP’s support, BNB’s smallest cookstove sold for $30. That same model is now available to distributors for $15, though that’s still considerably more than a $2 traditional cookstove. This is why the FIP project has also earmarked funds to support organizations that can help promote the threefold benefits of energy-efficient cookstoves to communities. “Spending a bit more on an improved cookstove can save money because it burns charcoal more efficiently. They can also improve air quality and reduce pressure on forests for fuel, which in turn helps protect DRC’s natural assets,” said Yvon Mutombo, Executive Director of the Congolese Alliance for Improved Cookstoves. The Alliance is working with BNB and dozens of smaller artisanal cookstove producers to reduce production costs and raise awareness among consumers. “We need to make energy-efficient cookstoves more popular across the developing world” said Dr. Bernard Ndaye Nkanka, a professor at Kinshasa’s Renewable Energy Research Center (CERERK, in French), the only center in Central Africa that tests and certifies cookstove efficiency. BNB is currently working with CERERK to run comprehensive tests and acquire certifications for its stoves. Dr. Ndaye Nkanka and his team have also participated in knowledge exchanges with several countries, including Honduras, Senegal, Uganda and the United States. He says energy-efficient cookstoves are a small, but important part of the solution in tackling climate change. These cookstoves can both improve livelihoods and help protect the planet – and that’s a recipe for success.

In the News | May 23 2017

Sound management of the vast forest resources in sub-Saharan Africa is key to enhance climate change response in a continent worst hit by the negative impacts of that phenomenon, scientists said Monday.

Blogs | Apr 19 2017

Gerhard Dieterle, one of the founding fathers of the Forest Investment Program, in conversation with the CIF about his life and career in forestry.  

My childhood shaped much of my career and my choices in life.  I grew up in a small, 150-person village in the Black Forest in Germany.  It was nine years after the war.  Like many people in developing countries now, we could only survive with subsistence agriculture. We had a cow, 12 chickens and a pig.

Following in My Father’s Footsteps

My Father was what we call a forest ranger or guard.  He often brought me into the forest when he went out to work.  I would have been eight or nine.  In the winter, the snow meant we had to go out out on skis!  As I got older, I helped measure the length, diameter and volume of the trees we harvested and I was introduced to traditional hunting practices.  All this was great experience for when I worked on forests later - I had a degree of credibility because I’d had the lived experience of hard chainsaw labor when I was young. 

I come from a very traditional forestry family going back for many generations.    When I was young, it was not normal that someone would go to high school or to university.  It was not normal that you left the place you grew up.  So the past 40 or 50 years have been incredible but it was sometimes hard for me and my family to adjust to new places and roles in society. 

Gerhard, second from left, Albania Forest Project (2007)

My childhood helped me to connect to local people throughout my career and to see them as my target groups.  I couldn’t have had the Dedicated Grant Mechanism idea without it.  I can always draw a line between what I did as a youngster and what I do now. 

I always remember from growing up in Germany that if you deal with rural people, they are very honest and they won’t let you down if you give them a chance. That’s been my experience across the world, from Africa to Europe.  It needs specific conditions though – it needs communities and social structures.  I am concerned that this social fabric may weaken in our rapidly changing and increasingly mobile world. 

When Opportunity Knocks

After my PHD –I wrote my thesis on sustainable forestry management - I joined the local state’s forest administration to become a civil servant wearing the traditional green uniform.  So, I was all set to become a district officer in the Black Forest and being competitive in cross-country ski racing. But here is my advice for my young colleagues who are eager to build a successful career: be prepared for unexpected turns!

Out of nowhere I was offered to work in the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry on air pollution and acid rain which, at that time was a major environmental problem in Germany. From there I got my first exposure to the international forest regime and everything changed when I had the chance to work at FAO in Rome.  During that time I looked after the German Minister of Agriculture who, back in Germany, asked me to work for him as his personal assistant. 

We traveled the world together.  I remember being in Togo and Cameroon with him, around 1988.  GIZ, the Germany development agency, had a forest program there.  A member of the delegation said they were looking for a team leader and I said “that’s me!” I had no experience in tropical forest management but they gave me a chance. A dream came true as it was always my childhood dream to get out of the small village in the forest into the big world.

So, from 1990 to 1993, I was leading one of the biggest German-funded forestry projects in Africa. There I learned lessons which later I could translate into projects at the World Bank and in particular the Forest Investment Program. Sustainable management and use of forests can transform the lives of people and landscapes.  But at the end, there was a Civil War.  That taught me that conflicts can start from small entry points and become bigger, bigger, bigger and things developed over years can fall apart in no time.  I saw lots of hurt and lots of grief.  The situation got so bad that we were evacuated.  That was a big shock, especially for my family.  Looking out at what happens today, for me, preventing conflicts at early stages is a radically better option than fighting them through.

Making Forestry My Life’s Work

Working at the European Commission in Brussels from 1993 to 1996 was another unexpected opportunity. My main task there was to develop the EU Forest Sector Development Guidelines which are still in use. This strategic work and my role as an adviser to the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry in Jakarta from 1996-1999 during the end of the Suharto era and the catastrophic forest fires in Kalimantan were invaluable building blocks for my work at the World Bank where I did not want to miss a single day of the last 18 years.

Gerhard in Guatemala, 2010

In my role as the Bank’s Forests Adviser I was one of the initiators of the Forest Investment Program.  I wrote the design document and we went around donor capitals to convince them to invest in forests.  I think back to the Pledging Conference in Brussels for the FIP.   We got $420 million on the first day.  That was something really outstanding and spectacular, to go from a broad idea a year before to a pledged fund of that size.  It was certainly a special moment even if I sometimes was so exhausted that I couldn’t fully enjoy the moment!

One night during the negotiations at the second design conference of the CIF, I wrote the famous Paragraph 38.  That was the starting point for what became the Dedicated Grant Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples.  That’s how the DGM came about! It didn’t start as a big process.  It was a flash moment where I thought I could do something that I experienced in childhood and over my thirty years of professional experience; which is to concretize a way to show that working from Local to Global is as important as working form Global to Local.  The next day we worked on the design document and it stayed in.  The observers (from civil society, Indigenous Peoples and the private sector) were in the room and they spoke up saying “we have been waiting for this for so long and it’s exactly what we need.”  The DGM is one of the things I’m most proud of. It shows how transformative local action and initiative can be. 

What we do in the FIP makes a lot of sense to me.  The MDBs are working on Investment Plans decided jointly with countries.  You create something, you demonstrate something, you involve local actors in an engaging way and then you can watch them graduate within the system to become leaders. 

The climate change story has been the most influential trend in forestry in the past decade.    Climate has redefined our approach to forests decisively and forests will continue to play a decisive role for global mitigation and adaptation efforts.

However there is still much to be done to develop the crucial economic, livelihood and income functions of forests and meet the projected supply gaps for timber and wood-based energy in the years to come. We need to encourage bold moves in landscape restoration and sustainable management practices across a range of value chains because climate change mitigation and adaptation and green, inclusive growth do not exclude each other.

Looking Back with Gratitude and Tips for Young Professionals

I’m grateful to the World Bank and to my managers that I could be part of the big development agenda and involved in programs and policies that have changed the lives of so many people.  This is a unique privilege and the World Bank is one of the few places where people like myself and can make a difference.  It allowed me to take initiative and to take risks. 

In terms of people who want to work in forestry and development  what I see in successful young people is they are willing to learn.  They listen.  It’s been gratifying to see all of the young talents I have worked with and helped develop take their own distinct and successful career paths.

My advice to anyone would be to follow your passion and be prepared for unexpected turns. At the end of the day, you need to believe in things and live this. Link your inner values with what you want to do.  Do this and you’ll be good at what you do.  


‘In My Life’ will be a regular feature where those in climate and development who have lived a life less ordinary share stories and lessons from their experiences.

Blogs | Apr 03 2017

When it comes to eliminating deforestation from commodity supply chains, it’s been an exciting last few years. Through the declarations made in New York and Amsterdam and most importantly the Paris Agreement, governments in many countries are making major commitments. 

They’re doing this, increasingly in step with the private sector and civil society. Showing a unity that was lacking for so long and is so very welcome right now. That’s because unlocking how to deliver productive and climate-resilient agriculture and forestry really matters. It is a pre-condition for delivering global food security and human development.

There are a number of reasons why this is increasingly on the public and political agendas:

  • Deforestation and agriculture are responsible for just under a quarter of GHG emissions. So reducing these will really move the needle when it comes to tackling climate change.
  • Forests and agriculture are important drivers of many developing countries’ economies – often the starting point of supply chains that span the world.
  • And three-quarters of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas relying on natural resources for their livelihoods. Crucial if we are to deliver on the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals and to ‘leave no-one behind’.

Right now, we are close to a point where the interests and incentives of business, policy-makers and international donors are becoming closely aligned. This shift opens up a real opportunity for getting to scale with sustainable land use. 

But despite this opening, making the connections between the many players, their needs, their business models and the range of funding remains difficult. That’s because we are only beginning to understand the challenges facing state and non-state actors working with the economic, social and ecological complexities associated with rural development. 

But there are already examples of where that challenge is beginning to be met:

  • Many national, sub-national and regional governments in key forest countries are setting ambitious green growth plans focusing on sustainable land use. For example, the Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force work in the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso and Acre. 
  • In West and Central Africa, we are seeing collaboration between governments, business and local people to develop principles for sustainable palm oil and cocoa. 
  • From the business side, by end of 2016, more than 400 companies had time-bound goals for removing deforestation from their products – including some of the most iconic brands and products.

We are also seeing more collaborations like that between the Tropical Forest Alliance and the Banking Environment Initiative gaining traction. Within my own organization, the Climate Investment Funds’ Forest Investment Program, we’re supporting sound governance that is good for business, and, also provides good outcomes socially and environmentally -- the so-called triple-win.

Despite the progress, it's important to acknowledge that governments, business and communities still face challenges, ranging from matching the pace of change as they target sustainable development to linking rural livelihoods to the worlds of business and finance, which is essential if we are to ever see the step change we are all working towards.

All of this raises three pretty big questions:

  1. How do these international, national, local and even individual – demands, pressures and incentives come together?
  2. Is the fabled, and much-sought triple-win really there?
  3. And, are tough trade-offs between mitigation, adaptation and development objectives inevitable?

These are just some of the challenges aired and insights shared at the World Bank's Land and Poverty Conference 2017, into some of the opportunities and innovations at the nexus of climate and sustainable land use.

World Bank Land and Poverty Conference 2017

This year's theme was Responsible Land Governance—Towards an Evidence-Based Approach. In case you missed it, here's a link to more information.

Blogs | Mar 06 2017

We are in Namarebo, a small village in the district of Mocuba, in the province of Zambezia, Mozambique. Observing the inherent contrasts of rich natural resources and rural poverty, we ask ourselves how can the management of these natural resources translate into improved livelihoods for the community?

When it comes to promoting rural development, securing land rights is one of starting point to sustainability.  Security over land tenure incentivizes communities to adopt land use practices with longer-term benefits. This is of course, quite logical – people will only invest time and capital if they know they can reap the benefits that come further down the line. While this is the foundation, it is certainly not the finish.

Smallholder farmers tilling their land

In order to generate value from their land and natural resources, poor communities and smallholders often need technical assistance, access to inputs and to credit. Take the case of agro-forestry. While it is widely recognized that this type of land use can contribute to increased production, reduced erosion, and ultimately to reduced deforestation, its adoption among smallholders in Mozambique is still very limited. This is the mainly due to lack of widespread technical assistance to smallholders, and access to inputs needed to start the activity, such as quality seeds and tree seedlings.

So promoting rural development in Namarebo and rural Mozambique needs a long-term and integrated set of interventions.  These range from securing land rights, to promoting access to agriculture inputs and markets, to technical assistance on adding value to forest products.

This type of integrated approach is exactly what the World Bank’s USD $47 million Mozambique Forest Investment project[1] is trying to achieve, in collaboration with the Climate Investment Funds’ $758 million Forest Investment Program. The project aims to improve the overall enabling environment for forest management (transparency, benefit sharing, law enforcement capacity), to promote more sustainable land and forest management practices. Together, these are expected to have a significant impact over large ‘landscapes’, in terms of reduced rural poverty and better management of natural resources, including reduced deforestation. Interventions cut across several sectors, including agriculture, biomass energy, forestry and land management.

Forest fires are used to open new land for small-scale agriculture

MozFIP will be implemented on a pilot basis in two provinces in Mozambique: Cabo Delgado and Zambezia. This type of integrated operations are innovative in the country, and are encouraged by the recently-created Ministry of Environment, Land and Rural Development (MITADER), itself an attempt to promote further coordination to achieve sustainable rural development. If the efforts in terms of reducing deforestation are successful, the Bank will also pay for the reduced emissions associated with deforestation, through the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility – Carbon Fund. These payments would be used mainly to reward smallholders and communities for their efforts in managing natural resources sustainably, and represent yet another revenue stream associated with sustainable forest management.​

Community members learn new charcoal-making techniques

But back to Namarebo - what would MozFIP look like? How is equitable and sustainable development delivered in practice in this context? 

Essentially, Namarebo would receive different types of support, all of which are necessary in the complex interdependent world of forests. And it’s this nuance and context-specificity which means communities are empowered to choose from a number of paths to development.  For example, technical assistance is available to those engaged in agro-forestry as well as charcoal-making (from practical techniques to marketing.)  Community-based forest enterprises can forge partnerships with private sector actors in everything from sawn-wood to honey to cosmetics.  There will also be training in land use planning, allowing communities to ensure they are fit for the future and can make better informed land use decisions.  And – crucially – documentation certifying people’s land tenure gives them the security and stage to flourish.

As a result, we expect to see healthier forests, wildlife and soil, and a brighter future for the present and future generations in Namarebo and elsewhere in rural Mozambique.

Blogs | Feb 19 2017

The Dedicated Grant Mechanism (DGM) for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) is a unique initiative of the Forest Investment Program (FIP). The DGM was designed by IPLC representatives to reflect their priorities and empower forest-dependent communities to design and implement forestry policies in line with their own interests. With the release of the DGM’s first annual report, it seems fitting to reflect on the DGM’s greatest accomplishments from its first year.

We demonstrated direct access as a viable model for climate finance

One factor that makes the DGM unique is its provision of climate finances to IPLCs through direct access. Using this model, provided funds are made available to an actor at the national level, rather than the more traditional model of multilateral or international entities accessing the funding on behalf of a national entity. This model builds the national entity’s capacity and gives it greater ownership over the resources and results, which ultimately makes interventions more sustainable. Over the course of this first year, the DGM has shared its early experiences at COP21 and other major events to engage indigenous peoples, policymakers, and funders working in the climate change arena.

We launched the Grievance Redress Mechanism

The Grievance Redress Mechanism that was launched this year is one of the DGM Global Project’s core accountability measures, and the Global Steering Committee (GSC) will implement the mechanism in close coordination with National Steering Committees (NSCs) in each country. By incorporating customary decision-making and conflict resolution procedures already in place in most indigenous territories, the Grievance Redress Mechanism will set an important precedent for grievance redress led by indigenous peoples and will hopefully influence the design of project-level mechanisms elsewhere.

Women working at a farm at Lamas district inTarapoto, Peru. Credit - E. Benavides/T. Reuters Foundation

National governance structures were established

Because the DGM relies on a direct access model of climate finance, it is critical that countries establish a national governance structure with the capacity to manage that funding. Within the first year of the program, seven DGM countries have established National Steering Committees (NSCs) to manage these funds, and three more countries have set up interim steering committees to help make decisions until a full NSC can be established. Once established, each NSC can select an organization to serve as the country’s National Executing Agency (NEA) to manage that country’s DGM activities. To move forward with project approval and implementation, the NEA and the World Bank must come to an agreement.

Knowledge was shared across countries and continents

The DGM’s structure allows each Country Project to move at its own pace. Countries in the earlier stages of their DGM projects can learn from those that are more advanced. Already in the DGM’s first year, members of Mozambique’s interim steering committee visited the Brazil Country Project to learn about the next steps they would need to take toward project implementation. A team from DGM Indonesia visited both Brazil and Peru to learn more about how they have selected their sub-projects before beginning that process themselves. When Ghana’s National Steering Committee held its first meeting in February 2016, the GSC member from Burkina Faso and the Technical Director of the DGM Global Executing Agency (GEA) attended the meeting to share DGM experiences from DRC, Burkina Faso, Peru, Brazil and Indonesia. The Global Executing Agency also facilitated an exchange among National Executing Agencies in January 2016, hosting a meeting with representatives of the NEAs from Ghana, DRC, Brazil, Indonesia, and Peru.

Field visit to climate-smart cocoa farm in Ghana. Credit: CIF

Gaining momentum

By the end of the project’s first year, four country projects—Brazil, Peru, Burkina Faso, and DRC – had already been approved for implementation. Of those, Brazil, Peru, and Burkina Faso had also already requested sub-project proposals from IPLCs, and DGM Brazil had even produced a series of videos to explain the proposal process to these communities.

In short, year one of the DGM has been very productive for some of these countries, and it will be very interesting to see how much they can accomplish in five years.

Read the report in: English, French, Spanish and Portuguese



In the News | Jan 26 2017

Africa’s forests, landscapes, and ecosystems have many contributions to development. They contribute directly to the well-being and food security of poor people.