Capacity building workshops held in Côte d’Ivoire to mobilize forest financing

This week, the UNFF Secretariat organized two capacity building workshop in Abidjan, in response to Côte d’Ivoire’s request for support in unlocking financing for its forests, and in collaboration with two members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. From 7 to 9 November 2019, the UNFF Secretariat and FAO co-organized a capacity-building workshop on designing project proposals on forests for the Green Climate Fund. Initially designed for staff of the Ministry of Water and Forests, the workshop unexpectedly attracted interest from four other ministries which also joined in – Agriculture and Rural Development, Environment and Sustainable Development, Animal and Sea Resources, and the Ministry of Economy.

The second workshop, held in Abidjan on 12 and 13 November 2019 aimed to unlock private financing to design sustainable agroforestry models integrating the production of cocoa, the main driver of deforestation. The workshop was co-organized by UNFFS, UN Environment, and the EU-REDD Facility. Initially planned for 100 participants, the workshop was oversubscribed and drew 125 representatives of international organizations, government ministries, researchers, NGOs, private cocoa operators, institutional investors, and local communities, demonstrating the need to address these issues. It also drew considerable media coverage (TV, radio and written press) in the country and beyond.

The workshop resulted in the identification of several sustainable agroforestry models that combine cocoa with the production of timber, fuelwood and food crops such as maize, cassava, plantain, yam, and rice. Funding is needed to shift practices towards these sustainable models, but once they are adopted they will provide income to farmers and thus a financial incentive to stop clearing forests further. The world’s two largest producers of chocolate, Nestle and Mondelez, as well as one large bank, BNP Paribas, expressed interested in investing in this shift towards sustainable agroforestry to remove deforestation from their supply chains.