On August 30, the World Bank (WB) and the government of Norway signed two agreements with the government of Ethiopia to boost sustainable development practices and fight the negative effects of climate change in the African country.
In a country where 85 percent of the population depends on agriculture, many are vulnerable to climate change. The agreements were to solidify funding provided by the Norwegian government and the World Bank in order to help finance sustainable land management practices, climate-smart agricultural polices, and the decrease of deforestation in Ethiopia.
The first agreement promises $50 million USD from the Norwegian government to fund the Sustainable Land Management Program (SLMP II), which has the goal of diminishing land degradation and increasing land productivity of smallholder farmers.
Under the terms of the second agreement, the government of Norway grants $13 million USD via the WB’s BioCarbon Fund (BioCF) to fund Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Facility and to endorse climate-smart agriculture techniques, protection of forestry, and land restoration.
Under SLMP I, which started in 2008, Ethiopia made significant advancements in halting land degradation and increasing sustainable land and water efficiency. With SLMP, over 190,000 hectares of previously degenerate common and individual farming lands were reformed thus increasing agricultural efficiency. The new SLMP II plans to build on the achievements of SLMP I.
Ethiopia is also a part of REDD+, which is a climate change mitigation solution supported by the United Nations (UN). The REDD+ mechanism is an effort to give a moneyed value for the carbon stored in forests, so that developing countries will have economic incentives to lessen emissions from forests and invest in low-carbon approaches to sustainable development. It also includes conservation and sustainable management of forests polices. The new funding that Ethiopia will be receiving from the BioCarbon Fund will help to further finance its preparedness for REDD+ as well as reaching its goal of being a carbon neutral nation by 2025.
“The World Bank expects that these two initiatives will contribute significantly to Ethiopia’s efforts to deal with three of the most daunting challenges of our times: land degradation, deforestation and climate change…These two initiatives strengthen the Bank’s partnership for Ethiopia’s sustainable development,” said the World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Guang Zhe Chen.
– Elisha-Kim Desmangles