Gabon commits to protect its forests, receives funding to reduce emissions by 50%

The US$18 Mn deal with Central African Forest Initiative will help Gabon better plan and monitor the use of land and protect over 23 million hectares of tropical rainforest.

Gabon and the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) have agreed to a US$18 million plan to protect the country’s forest resources and combat climate change.

Gabon’s signature on the Letter of Intent will enable it to develop agriculture while ensuring that its forest resources are not cut down for growing crops.

With CAFI’s support, Gabon gains the means to reduce by 50% its greenhouse gases emissions by 2025, compared to 2005. The funding from CAFI will not only help Gabon achieve this climate target, but also to monitor it, and this within the short time-frame the Gabonese authorities have set for themselves. 

Régis Immogault, Gabonese Minister of Prospective Economy and Sustainable Development Programming, stressed Gabon’s commitment to sustainable development. He said, “The commitment from CAFI donor countries to support our sustainable development policy is a sign of the recognition of the efforts our Government has made for years, efforts to optimise our development while preserving ecosystems and biodiversity.

Gabon is one of the most forested countries on earth, with forests covering 88 per cent of its territory. The country has long committed to protect its natural resources, with notably, a vast network of national parks and protected areas, and a Forest Code that imposes sustainable management.

“This agreement is a big step forward. Gabon is committing to measures that, if implemented, would preserve about 98 per cent of Gabon’s rainforests”, said Vidar Helgesen, Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment and chair of CAFI. ” CAFI is proud to support this ambitious but pragmatic plan, which seeks to grow a middle- income economy while preserving invaluable natural capital, for the people of Gabon and for the world.”

Gabon is the second country within the CAFI—after the Democratic Republic of the Congo last year—to make such a commitment.

With this engagement, Gabon could set a standard for sustainable development that could inspire other countries in Central and Western Africa.

Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, said, “By accelerating reforms, the country will engage on a genuine green economy path that offers solutions for both climate and agriculture, and is attractive for green private sector investments more generally. The agreement between Gabon and CAFI paves the way for deforestation-free economic growth.”