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The World Bank Group has been successful in reporting on the business and investment climate in developing countries through its Doing Business rankings which look at regulatory systems at the country and sub-national level. PROFOR and other partners have also devoted time and energy in trying to mobilize greater participation of businesses in meeting forest sector economic, social and environmental goals. A conducive investment and business climate would seem to be an essential element in this effort and would help increase the forest sector's contribution to "green growth".
However the regulatory requirements faced by large multinational and small local businesses vary widely; implementation of regulation is often inadequate; and investments in the forest sector may be driven by other factors such as adequate information on the resource base (inventories, land use maps, etc) and whether that resource is accessible (infrastructure, land rights, etc).
PROFOR created and tested a practical tool (methodology) for systematically assessing how administrative and regulatory requirements impact the business climate for investment in wood products and the forest sector more broadly. To develop the tool, PROFOR established a forest investor typology that reflects the needs of both domestic and international strategic investors and small and medium forest enterprises, and reviewed existing investment climate studies and tools and their applicability for forest sector investors.The applicable tools were then tested in Lao PDR and Tanzania to assess demand for such tool tailored to the forest sector, identify gaps in measuring forest investment climate, and understand the value add of a new instrument.
The publication Business Climate for Forest Investments: A Survey provides an overview of a diversity of tools to assess investment climate, their applicability in the forest sector and main gaps, and offers a menu of options for further development to improve methodologies and investment climate for sustainable forest management and wood processing.
Author : PROFOR
Last Updated : 02-24-2017
World Bank Africa Region and World Bank Oil, Gas and Mining Policy Division (SEGOM).
Deforestation in the Congo Basin is expected to increase significantly in the future as investment in productive sectors grows. Thus, it will be essential to assist Congo Basin countries in ensuring that forestland development is planned and implemented in such a way as to avoid, minimize and/or offset unnecessary economic losses and social hardship and to draw optimal benefits from sustainable forest resource use. In 2013, the World Bank published a study on “Deforestation Trends in the Congo Basin – Reconciling Economic Growth and Forest Protection,” with support from PROFOR. One of the sectors covered by the study was the mining sector.
Early planning for the development of mineral resources, including the associated infrastructure (roads, railroads and energy, in particular) may help to reduce future impact, create development benefits at the local level, and enhance the sustainability of mining-driven development. However, land-use planning and zoning exercises in the Congo Basin so far have been centered on the forestry sector and have had limited impact on development policies in other sectors.
The development objective of this activity is to come up with innovative cross-sectoral methodologies and stakeholder processes that inform the decision-making process on large mining and associated infrastructure developments, enabling decision makers to reduce forest loss and the resulting negative environmental and social impacts. Activities included:
- Lessons learned from relevant initiatives; and
- Participatory land-use planning. The team conducted a land-use planning and road map exercise, and developed sector-specific recommendations for the Republic of Congo (ROC).
This activity led to the development of an informed process – applicable at both the national and sub-national level - for how the Government of ROC can move forward on land use planning. The activity stressed the significance of inclusive and participatory methods, as well a mechanism for settling disputes, and a process that works across sectors. The introduction of spatial analysis tools enabled government authorities to (i) develop a clearer understanding of how they can pull together information related to competing interests, such as economic development and social and environmental impacts; and (2) advance practices that can help harmonize development initiatives, even if it is not possible to resolve every conflict.
The ROC Ministry of Land Use Planning and Public Works led much of the exercise, which was also supported by the World Resources Institute. While there is still implementation work to be done, investments in the forest, agriculture and mining sectors have sought out how to incorporate the practices, tools and processes that were highlighted in this activity. There has also been greater coordination the different sectoral ministries. Results from this activity will also inform ongoing investments, including REDD+ activities under the Forest Investment Program (FIP), and were used in the preparation of the Congo Commercial Agriculture Development Project.
In addition, this activity helped to consolidate knowledge, best practices and tools on land use planning, and share them with multiple stakeholders in the Republic of Congo, including government ministries, NGOs, civil society organizations and indigenous peoples’ groups. Since participants from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are undergoing a similar process, they benefited from learning about the experience in ROC.
Author : World Bank Africa Region and World Bank Oil, Gas and Mining Policy Division
Last Updated : 02-28-2017
World Bank Africa Region
In many African countries, native forests are under pressure from rapidly-spreading roads, dams and other infrastructure, as well as the allocation of large forest areas to mining, commercial agriculture, and other non-forest uses. Biodiversity offsets are one of the tools available to address such pressures. Offsets can be used to strengthen protected areas of similar or greater conservation value than the area lost to specific projects. The driving impetus for such offset schemes is usually biodiversity protection, although the associated conservation areas provide additional ecosystem services such as soil and water conservation, flood mitigation, and habitat for sustainably exploitable fisheries. In an era of often flat -- and sometimes declining -- governmental support for forest conservation in general and protected areas in particular, biodiversity offsets provide an underutilized opportunity to mobilize substantial new funding from public infrastructure accounts as well as the private sector.
Biodiversity offsets are not a panacea, nor are they always the best tool available for achieving forest conservation. As part of the “mitigation hierarchy” underpinning the World Bank’s Safeguard Policies and the IFC’s Performance Standards, offsets are considered a last resort, after efforts to avoid, minimize, and restore any significant damage to forests or other natural habitats. Nonetheless, given that many infrastructure, extractive, and other large-scale projects have an inherently large footprint, a biodiversity offset scheme may be warranted (and required by some funding entities).
A key challenge is systematizing and scaling-up biodiversity offsets through a national or other aggregated offset approach in order to overcome limitation like: (i) the high transaction costs often borne by each separate project; (ii) sub-optimal selection of conservation offset areas due to uncoordinated, ad-hoc approaches; and (iii) insufficient participation and ownership by governmental authorities in arrangements negotiated primarily between large private firms and conservation NGOs. The cumulative impacts of multiple (including smaller-scale) projects could also be more effectively addressed through an aggregate offset approach.
Under this activity, the team produced a Biodiversity Offsets User Guide containing key information about biodiversity offsets that practitioners should know about, with references provided where readers could obtain further information. Three case studies of reasonably successful biodiversity offsets were added to the User Guide as annexes. The case studies involved two private sector mining projects (in Liberia and Madagascar) and one World Bank-supported hydropower project (in Cameroon). These case studies are intended to show readers how the concepts explained in the User Guide can realistically be applied to achieve positive results on the ground.
In addition, in response to a strong expression of interest from the Government of Mozambique, this activity also provided legal technical assistance for incorporating biodiversity offsets into the Government’s official Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. Two reports were produced: (i) An analysis of Mozambican environmental legislation with respect to the use of biodiversity offsets; and (ii) a draft revision of the actual EIA regulations.
Finally, two pilot Country Roadmaps were completed to assess the potential for large-scale biodiversity offset systems in Liberia and Mozambique. The Roadmaps are intended as preliminary country examinations of legal and regulatory frameworks, national policies, land use plans, financial structures, and other relevant information.
The research team found that multiple detailed publications already exist about the details and controversies of biodiversity offsets, but that a concise reference with practical advice on how actually to do them was still lacking. This is the void that the Biodiversity Offsets User Guide seeks to fill.
The Liberia Biodiversity Offsets Roadmap emphasizes industrial-scale mining. Since adequate funding for Liberia’s protected areas remains a challenge, biodiversity offsets offer the potential for improved financial sustainability. The Liberia Roadmap outlines a series of steps for scaling-up biodiversity offsets in Liberia; among the most important is the establishment of a national Conservation Trust Fund to enable the reliable and transparent transfer of funds from extractive firms to priority Protected Areas. The new Liberia Forest Sector (REDD+) Project, approved in April 2016 with support from the World Bank and Government of Norway, provides a vehicle for moving forward the Roadmap’s key recommendations.
In Mozambique, existing Conservation Areas (CAs) cover about 26% of the country’s land area, and encompass most types of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. However, most are seriously underfunded. The Mozambique Biodiversity Offsets Roadmap (also available in Portuguese) proposes using Mozambique’s BioFund to transfer biodiversity offsets funding from infrastructure and extractive industry projects to selected CAs that are ecologically similar to the project-affected areas. Implementation has begun of the Roadmap’s recommendations, through the Government’s recently revised Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations.
Author : World Bank Africa Region
Last Updated : 02-28-2017
In the last decade two programs helped make forest policy processes more inclusive.
- The National Forest Program Facility (NFP), hosted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, worked for 10 years in 80 partner countries. It aimed to foster country leadership and strengthen the participation of stakeholders in developing and implementing national forest programs. About 75% of the 900 grants it delivered went to civil society organizations; the remainder supported central forestry agencies.
- The Growing Forest Partnerships (GFP), financed by the World Bank, worked for three years in five of those partner countries. It helped create a strong network of local forest stakeholders and linked these networks with three global alliances of forest right holders. Those countries also benefited from improved collaboration between the various partners implementing these programs: FAO, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the World Bank.
Although these programs ended in 2012, there is an ongoing need for strong and equitable organizations and networks. Such organizations can help smallholders, women groups, communities and Indigenous Peoples make their voices heard in policy making processes at local, regional, national and global levels on forest and farm related issues, and more readily access financing and investments for forest and farm development.
The Forest and Farm Facility was launched in September 2012 to take this work forward. The Facility is expected to support national and sub-national governments to establish multi-sectoral platforms (through dialogues, information and capacity building) to better-coordinate the various ministries, private sector and civil society stakeholders involved in, or affected by, policies and activities related to forest and farm management like food security, SFM, climate change, bio energy and water. The Facility will also help organize and strengthen communities and small producers at the local level.
The objectives of the Facility are to promote equitable governance mechanisms; improve coordination among multiple funding streams; enhance skills and access to market opportunities; and contribute to creating public awareness.
While core funding has been mobilized for the Facility’s startup phase, these resources are quite limited and provide few opportunities for partners who have had long engagement through the GFP to continue collaborating. The objective of this activity is to facilitate coordination among the main organizations that will be involved with activities associated with the Forest and Farm Facility and to provide a mechanism to finance incremental and follow on activities which improve collaboration. Coordination among the key organizations (Facility, IIED, and IUCN) will be instrumental to effectively and efficiently implement activities identified by the Facility.
Since December 2012, IIED and IUCN have been working closely with members of the Facility management team on a range of issues, from scoping and launch visits in six pilot countries, to setting up the M&E strategy in each country and for the Facility more broadly.
The six initial pilot countries are as follows :
- Latin America: Guatemala and Nicaragua
- Africa: Gambia and Liberia
- Asia: Myanmar and Nepal
Author : IIED , IUCN , Forest and Farm Facility 
Last Updated : 02-24-2017