Multilateral Programmes Focus on Integrated Governance of Land-Based Capital
UN Photo/JC McIlwaine
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The World Bank embarked on its first-ever operation targeting greenhouse gas emissions from a landscape perspective and “across an entire jurisdiction,” with a start-up grant for the Oromia Forested Landscape Program (OFLP) in Ethiopia.

In Madagascar, the Sustainable Landscape Management project, supported by the GEF, the World Bank and the French Agency for Development (AFD), aims to improve livelihoods for more than 38,000 rural people.

A recent Land Policy Initiative assessment of large-scale investments in Africa’s land sector concludes that governance, rather than funding constraints, presents the main bottleneck in inclusive and sustainable management of the continent's natural capital.

March 2017: The World Bank embarked on its first-ever operation targeting greenhouse gas emissions from a landscape perspective and “across an entire jurisdiction,” with a US$18 million start-up grant for the Oromia Forested Landscape Program (OFLP) in Ethiopia. Also on landscapes, another World Bank-supported project will target rural poverty in Madagascar, while the Land Policy Initiative released an analysis of large-scale investments in Africa’s land sector.

Through its BioCarbon Fund (Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes), the World Bank is supporting the Oromia Regional State in Ethiopia to establish community-centered activities that reduce deforestation and land-use based emissions. The grant will support participatory forest management and reforestation investments in deforestation hotspots, coupled with improvements to the institutional systems that underpin large-scale investments and emissions reduction purchases. If successful, this preliminary phase is expected to unlock a BioCarbon Fund commitment to purchase up to 10 million tons of carbon dioxide emission reductions, which would also support progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relevant to climate action (SDG 13) and life on land (SDG 15).

The OLFP is aligned with Ethiopia’s Second Growth and Transformation Plan and Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy, which aim to reduce poverty while transforming the way rural landscapes are managed. These national plans include targets to add 5 million hectares of additional forest cover by 2020 and restore 22 million hectares of degraded landscapes by 2030.

In Madagascar, a Sustainable Landscape Management project, supported by the GEF, the World Bank and the French Agency for Development (AFD), aims to contribute to improved livelihoods for more than 38,000 rural people by providing increased access to technical services, agricultural inputs and forestry services. The project seeks to enhance the management of 10 protected areas and sustainably manage productive landscapes and forests covering more than 1.13 million hectares. It will also test and deploy innovative financing mechanisms such as payments for ecosystem services, REDD+ and carbon financing.

Despite the initiation of hundreds of large scale land-based investment agreements (LSLBIs) covering over 40 million acres of arable land, only 58% of the 474 LSLBI deals signed since 2000 are operational today, and only 19% of the land area is under investment.

A recent Land Policy Initiative assessment of large-scale investments in Africa’s land sector concludes that governance, rather than funding constraints, presents the main bottleneck in inclusive and sustainable management of the continent’s natural capital. The study highlights the importance of effective institutional and governance frameworks in harnessing the full potential of foreign and domestic investments Africa’s land sector. It finds that despite the initiation of hundreds of large scale land-based investment agreements (LSLBIs) covering over 40 million acres of arable land, only 58% of the 474 LSLBI deals signed since 2000 are operational today, and only 19% of the land area is under investment.

The findings were presented by Stephen Karingi, Director of the ECA’s Capacity Development Division, during an event held on the sidelines of the African Development Week in Dakar, Senegal, on 26 March 2016. Karingi noted that from an investor perspective, the poor performance of LSLBIs was due to operational challenges faced, including the “volatile nature” of institutional arrangements and high transaction and settling costs. From a country perspective, he lamented that some LSLBIs “have led to the least favorable outcomes,” by depriving local communities of their livelihoods without due compensation, and failing to generate meaningful employment, infrastructure and other expected benefits.

The discussions emphasized the importance of contextualizing LSLBIs within existing national strategies for sustainable agricultural development and safeguarding smallholder producers through implementing investment models that minimize land transfers and lead to shared prosperity at local and national levels. There are a number of regional policy frameworks that contain guiding principles for integrated and sustainable land use and the management of LSLBIs. They include the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges, and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa.

The Land Policy Initiative is a joint programme of the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Its purpose is to enable the use of land to lend impetus to the process of African development. [World Bank Press Release on Oromia Landscape Programme] [GEF Press Release on Madagascar projects] [ECA Press Release on Land-Scale Land Investments in Africa]

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