FAO forum eyes private investment into forest and landscape restoration
Written by: George Kalisa
Thursday, May 18th, 2017, 22:06
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) funded forest and landscape forum that ended on Wednesday in Kigali resolved to enhance private investment into the forest and landscape restoration. Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD), Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM), GIZ and MINAGRI were among key players who ensured the success of this regional forum that attracted participants from the East African region and beyond.
The two-day forum was a market place that aimed to seeking alternative value chains as well as identifying innovative finance opportunities to fast track the restoration of degraded forests and landscape observed Attaher Maiga, FAO’s country representative in Rwanda.
“The organization of market places like this is to support alternative chances of finance and the bankable projects and many different ways of enhancing investment into degraded landscape,” observed Maiga
Maiga noted that FAO through its forest and landscape restoration mechanism supports countries worldwide to create enabling conditions that is helpful in the transition to a healthy and productive landscape that is critical in attaining increased agricultural productivity to cope with increased appetite to solve food insecurity on a sustainable basis.
He lauded Rwanda for her commitment to restore over two million hectares of degraded landscape. FAO diplomat attributed fast progress in landscape restoration in Rwanda to strong leadership which he said was crucial to achieving nations’ commitments as regard to the Bonn challenges.
Maiga said Rwanda and many countries committed to landscape restoration have FAO’s mandate on sustainable resource management and stressed the importance of a healthy natural resource base in gaining productive agriculture.
Dr. Vincent Biruta, the Minister of Natural Resources who presided over the Forum observed that robust financing was crucial to achieve the restoration goals, estimated at close to USD50. He, however, decried the uneven distribution of investment in forest and landscape restoration with the least of one per cent in Africa.
“The ambitious restoration goals set by the global development agenda require large investments. According to a recent analysis by FAO and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, between USD 36- 49 billion of investments are needed every year to achieve these goals. But investments in forests and landscapes are unevenly distributed worldwide. While most are made in Latin America, only one percent are in Africa,” Dr. Biruta observed.
“The main barrier to tackling these amounts is not the lack of investors willing to engage but rather the lack of knowledge of stakeholders on the variety of financing opportunities and on how to get ready to access them. By bringing together key stakeholders and giving them the opportunity to exchange on the main topics that harness investments in restoration, we hope as a country to make a significant contribution to advancing the FLR agenda in Africa,” added Dr. Biruta.
Participants agreed that all efforts directed towards forests and landscape degradation aim at enhancing livelihoods and prosperity. They echoed an urgent call to the private sector to massively invest in forest and landscape restoration in order to timely achieve the targets.