FAO Regional Office for Africa

Green Climate Fund approves FAO project to reduce emissions by promoting zero-deforestation cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire

$11.8 million project will support small-scale cocoa farmers in moving towards sustainable agroforestry practices

The Green Climate Fund has approved FAO’s first funding proposal for Africa, a US$11.8 million project to support zero-deforestation cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire.

19 August 2020, Abidjan – The Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) today approved an $11.8 million project to support zero-deforestation cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire, to be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the country’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MINEDD). The project is the first REDD+ proposal in Africa and globally to be approved under the GCF’s Simplified Approval Process Pilot Scheme (SAP). It is also the first GCF funding proposal approved for FAO in Africa.

Out of the $11.8 million, the project will receive $0.5 million in co-financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), making it the first GCF-GEF co-financing collaboration for FAO. The Government of Côte d’Ivoire, through MINEDD, is also contributing $1.2 million to the project as part of a broader national effort to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by almost a third.

The newly funded initiative aims to support Côte d’Ivoire’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, build resilience and mitigate the effects of climate change. This will be achieved by stopping agriculture-related deforestation, improving agricultural productivity, conserving biodiversity, replenishing forest cover, and improving farmers’ livelihoods. 

“With this significant backing from the Green Climate Fund, we aim to support a new, zero-deforestation agricultural model in Côte d’Ivoire, and to begin a transitional path towards a low-carbon economy and a more resilient future,” said Samy Gaiji, FAO Representative in Côte d’Ivoire.

A win-win for farmers and climate

The West African country is one of the world’s leading cocoa producers and cocoa farming is essential to the livelihoods of around two million smallholder producers. Côte d’Ivoire also has one of the world’s fastest rates of deforestation and forest degradation. Agriculture is responsible for almost two-thirds of the deforestation, of which 38 percent is driven by cocoa production.

The project will build on the success of a REDD+ pilot project in the La Mé region in the country’s south-east, where cocoa producers were supported to develop sustainable, organic, fair-trade cocoa production with zero deforestation. The project will also pursue partnerships with national and international private sector investors for greater impact.

Around 7,550 farmers, a third of whom are women, will directly benefit from the project, and another 600,000 farmers will receive indirect benefits over the 5-year implementation phase. Project leaders aim to replicate good practices in other regions for eventual nation-wide adoption.

The project will also contribute towards the goals of the national REDD+ strategy to strengthen institutional and regulatory systems, and improve land and forest monitoring and management.

A changing climate in Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire is particularly vulnerable to climate change and is experiencing increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfall, which are detrimental to food crop production.

Despite stakeholders, including leading chocolate companies, making commitments to support deforestation-free cocoa production, deforestation continues to increase even inside protected areas and national parks.

This loss of forest cover has a significant effect on climate change because forests absorb CO2from the atmosphere and store carbon in their vegetation and soil. It is estimated that globally, deforestation and forest degradation account for around 11 percent of CO2 emissions. Halting deforestation is a cost-effective action that reduces global greenhouse gas emissions and delivers long-term benefits.

Addressing deforestation to combat climate change and food insecurity

‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, plus the sustainable management of forests, and the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks’, known as REDD+, is an essential part of the global efforts to mitigate climate change. FAO supports developing countries in their REDD+ processes and in turning their political commitments – as represented in their Nationally Determined Contributions – into action on the ground.

Addressing climate change through nature-based solutions is also an important part of FAO’s work towards ending hunger and malnutrition and encouraging sustainable agriculture.

Forestry, agriculture and climate change are closely interlinked, posing challenges for the coordination of development, adaptation and mitigation policies. The sustainable management of both forests and agriculture, and their integration in land-use plans, is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring food security and tackling climate change.