The World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have signed the $6 million agreement to support the Government of Mozambique in its efforts to strengthen the sustainable management of its forest sector, promote good governance, improve forest concession systems, and enable private sector participation.
“For FAO, this agreement is extremely important as it allows us to engage in highly relevant policy dialogue in a country that is willing to make transformational change towards a sustainable forest economy,’’ said Thais Juvenal, Senior Forestry Officer, Forestry Policy and Resources Division, FAO. ”We will work on implementing a model for the management of the large forest estate to generate socioeconomic benefits for all, while securing the long-term sustainability of the resources.”
The agreement is part of the recently-approved $47 million Mozambique Forest Investment Project (MozFIP), which aims to stem the rapid pace of deforestation and create alternative livelihoods for rural communities. The Bank has been supporting Mozambique’s forest sector for over three years, and is now deepening its strategic commitment by collaborating with the FAO.
“Mozambique has engaged in several reforms in the past two years, and has taken some bold actions,” said Andre Aquino, Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist, World Bank. “Export of logs were banned as a way to stimulate national value addition. An independent law enforcement agency was created to oversee forests and seize illegal logs to be publicly auctioned or used for school desks and chairs. Incentives, like certification giving access to new international markets and higher prices were proposed to local enterprises promoting the sustainable use of forest assets.”
A key barrier to the implementation of these reforms has been low capacity within the country. Modern forest management requires knowledge in biology, ecology, economics, markets law and policies. Moreover, it necessitates keeping abreast of recent technologies that are rapidly changing the sector, such as the use of high resolution satellite images to guide forest management and support government’s law enforcement efforts.
“Mozambique’s forests can be a significant source of income and a key contributor to the national economy,” said Xavier Sakambuera, National Director of Forests, Mozambique. “They can generate benefits to the global community by harboring unique and threatened habitats and by stocking billions of tons of CO2. The current management model needs to be thoroughly reformed, and for that our government needs state-of-the-art expertise and continued technical assistance. The path towards sustainability in forest management is long, but we are committed to it, with the support of our partners such as the Bank and FAO.”
This agreement is a part of the Bank’s efforts to promote further UN-Bank collaboration. A general template has been negotiated between the two institutions, and eased the promotion of this type of cooperation. Teams across the Bank used it to agree with the Government of Mozambique and FAO on how to best deliver the technical assistance.
Project implementation will start this month. Deliverables include preparation of a 20-year forest vision and a National Forest Program; revision of the institutional framework for forest concessions and implementation of model concessions in targeted provinces in Cabo Delgado or Zambézia;establishment of a georeferenced Forest Information System; strengthened capacity of the National Directorate of Forest and provincial offices.