London — Mozambique has become the first country in the world to receive a payment from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) for reducing carbon emissions.
The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, which is a World Bank trust fund, paid the country 6.4 million US dollars for reducing carbon emissions by 1.28 million tons since 2019. This is the first of four payments under the country's Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) with FCPF that could unlock up to 50 million dollars for reducing CO2 emissions in the central province of Zambezia by 10 million tons.
Under the agreement, the Zambezia Integrated Landscape Management Programme (ZILMP) is pursuing a strategy of reducing deforestation and forest degradation whilst implementing measures to improve the lives of rural people. The programme covers nine districts in Zambezia where three million hectares of forest cover 56 per cent of the territory. It has been calculated that over one per cent of this woodland is being destroyed each year, due largely to slash and burn practices by small scale farmers, charcoal production, and illegal logging.
Mozambique received the payment after submitting an official monitoring report confirming the emission reductions along with an independent third-party verification which was carried out between September 2020 and May 2021.
According to the World Bank's representative in Mozambique, Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, "preventing deforestation and increasing efforts to restore those forests that have already been damaged are the twin actions essential to ensuring a safer, climate-resilient, and more prosperous future for local communities and the country as a whole". She added that the funds will "provide much-needed finances to improve sustainable forest management and resilience".
For the World Bank, "the payment is an acknowledgement of Mozambique's contribution to the implementation of emission reduction activities, such as adopting sustainable agriculture practices, monitoring use of forest resources or restoring degraded land".
The programme covers the districts of Alto Molocue, Gile, Gurue, Ile, Maganja da Costa, Mocuba, Mocubela, Mulevala, and Pebane. In these districts, local communities will receive payments based on their contribution to reducing deforestation. According to the World Bank, "this will allow the stakeholders to continue promoting community management of natural resources and restoration of degraded areas while stimulating conservation-friendly, nutrition-sensitive, and climate-smart farming models".
The recognition of the country's carbon emissions reduction was welcomed by the Minister of Land and Environment, Ivete Maibaze, who stressed that "forest communities are the real winners here. This agreement will allow Mozambique to secure long-term finance to provide alternatives to deforestation and reward efforts to mitigate climate change, reduce poverty, and manage natural resources sustainably to meet the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) targets". She added "this is a major step forward to the country's ongoing efforts to save forests and halt deforestation".
The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) is a global partnership of governments, businesses, civil society, and Indigenous Peoples' organisations. Seventeen donors have made contributions and commitments totalling 1.3 billion dollars which are managed by the World Bank. The Facility aims to support countries' efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, activities commonly referred to as REDD+.