- Uganda has become the first country in Africa to undertake a reforestation project that will help reduce global warming emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.
The Nile Basin Reforestation Project in Uganda is a ground-breaking project being implemented by Uganda's National Forestry Authority (NFA) in association with local community organisations. The growing trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, in exchange for revenues from the World Bank BioCarbon Fund paid to NFA and the communities.
“This is a milestone for Uganda, especially considering the difficulty associated with bringing reforestation projects to this stage of final approval. I am happy that apart from providing physical financial resources, the project will also generate up to 700 jobs for the local population,” said Kundhavi Kadiresan, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda.
The Ugandan project is one of only eight reforestation projects world-wide that have been approved to date, seven of which were registered this year. The project will generate about 500 jobs during planting and 200 jobs during ongoing management of the forest.
“The Uganda project is the first of several projects that are in the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism pipeline for registration, and which can lead to strong co-benefits, including higher incomes for local communities and greater climate resilience,” said Ellysar Baroudy, Fund Manager for the BioCarbon Fund of the Carbon Finance Unit of the World Bank.
The project will establish a plantation of pine and mixed native species in the Rwoho Central Forest Reserve, grasslands that were degraded due to deforestation and erosion. This project is an example of sustainable forest management in a country that currently only has a few thousand hectares left of timber plantations.
The expansion of wood resources in Uganda is also crucial for the country to meet a growing demand of wood and to reduce the pressure on the remaining native forests in the country. This is the first of five small scale projects developed through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), where each will be registered separately and the total size of the plantation will ultimately reach 2,137 hectares.
“This pilot project has equipped the NFA with the skills and contacts required to develop more carbon forestry projects in Uganda. Also, the project demonstrates that small-scale farmers can benefit from the international carbon market,” observed Damian Akankwasa, Executive Director of NFA.
The World Bank is on the forefront in developing land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) projects on a continent that has not seen a large number of CDM projects being developed. To date, only eight forestry projects have been registered under the CDM, and this is the third LULUCF project to be registered in the BioCarbon Fund.
The BioCarbon Fund is an initiative with public and private contributions. It purchases emission reductions from afforestation and reforestation projects under the CDM, as well as from land-use sector projects outside the CDM, such as projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) and increase carbon sequestration in soils through improved agriculture practices.
“Forestry and agriculture in Africa are areas where we see great potential for carbon projects and a win-win opportunity for the climate change agenda. Through climate-smart land management and forest conservation, Africa can play a vital role in carbon sequestration and climate regulation. Scaling up these practices is a priority, as they also have great potential for providing sustainable livelihoods for rural Africans,” says Inger Andersen, Director, Sustainable Development (Africa Region) for the World Bank.
The announcement of this first forestry project in Africa coincided with an important meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bangkok, which is the penultimate negotiating session before Copenhagen in December where governments hope to agree on an ambitious and effective international climate change deal.
Forest issues are a key part of the talks. Until now, only reforestation and afforestation have been part of the CDM. Negotiators are currently discussing not only the streamlining of CDM rules, which have been a challenge to implement, but also whether it should include more land use activities such as the restoration of wetlands, agriculture and REDD. If this is achieved, poor rural communities, especially in Africa, will be able to implement more land use and forestry projects and benefit from carbon revenues from sustainable development.
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