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A Vision and Strategic Agenda for Mozambique’s National Forest Program


The development objective of this activity is to influence forest policy and decision making in Mozambique. The activity will support the preparation of the country's Forest Sector Agenda 2035, which will outline a set of objectives for forest and land use and economic development of the forest sector, detailing present and future trade-offs, and potential conflicts. Developing the Agenda 2035 will also enable critical input to be provided to the current legal reform taking place in the country, such as the revision of the Forest Policy and Strategy, Forest Law, concessions framework, and the National Forest Program. This activity will rely on an extensive stakeholder engagement process, culminating in a national conference on the Agenda 2035. 


Mozambique is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters, such as droughts and floods; good management and land use decisions are necessary to strengthen the country’s resilience. This is made more difficult by ongoing political, economic, and social changes, including accelerated oil and gas developments, illegal timber trading, high population growth, and increased demand for food and fiber – all of which put the country’s forest resources under stress.  

While Mozambique’s forest sector stakeholders have recognized that the country has plans and aspirations for a more developed forest sector, a shared agenda is lacking. As a result, public resources are wasted, and piecemeal activities are contributing to forest degradation and fragmentation. Therefore, there is a need to build consensus on the short and long-term objectives among all stakeholders, including working towards the climate change goals under the Paris Agreement, and the Sustainable Development Goals.



This activity consisted of two tracks:

  • A technical review and synthesis of literature and information
  • Extensive stakeholder engagement

Key outputs:

  • Forest Sector Agenda 2035 for Mozambique document
  • Policy briefs


The goal of the activity was to stimulate a shift towards forward-looking policies and practices in the forest sector that will achieve better environmental and social outcomes for the forest and its stakeholders.  

The technical studies that were completed showed that, by 2035:

1) wood products demand is going to outstrip domestic supply; and

2) deforestation will increase based on projections of variables such as population growth and road development.

These studies served as the foundation to equip working groups to provide inputs to the Agenda 2035 document and served as a basis to engage the government of Mozambique.

Overall, the activity has provided a vision and roadmap that can guide decision-makers and stakeholders towards this goal. While the resulting Agenda 2035 and National Forest Program has gained ownership by the government, it will be the implementation of the actions in this roadmap that will lead to better environmental and social outcomes. The process of developing the instruments, due to its participatory nature, revived the discussion of key issues among stakeholders, and introduced a level of transparency in decision-making.

An important next step will be for the government to complete the revision of their policy and legal framework, integrating the principles and actions from the Agenda 2035, National Forest Program and Forest Policy and Strategy into the Forest Law and its regulations. It will also be important for stakeholders to continue to engage in this process and hold the government accountable for the implementation of the revised framework.  

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Last Updated : 05-07-2020

Land Use Planning for Enhanced Resilience of Landscapes in Madagascar and Mozambique


The widespread use of natural resources and exploitation of forests have left vast areas in Mozambique and Madagascar deforested and degraded. Population growth and climate change are aggravating these challenges. For example, in areas where land is increasingly degraded, crop yields are likely to stagnate or even decline, leading to additional pressure to expand agricultural production into marginal areas to accommodate population’s demands for food. Climate change is likely to further compound the challenge of managing landscapes and sustaining their ability to deliver development benefits in both countries.

There is a need to enhance the countries’ ability to quantify the extent of the status and trend of land degradation (including forest loss) and to estimate the future pressures on land and forests. PROFOR’s program will support the development tools to support integrated decision-making for landscape management across various sectors and levels of government. These tools are expected to help the governments of Madagascar and Mozambique identify an effective mix of interventions to achieve objectives regarding food security, landscapes, and forest sustainability in the face of competing development interests.


The activity consists of two components:

  1. Land degradation baseline: Development of a detailed and up-to-date spatial dataset that will allow the estimation of the capacity of land to deliver the services being assessed (food provisioning, carbon storage, and erosion control), and to improve understanding of the present situation and implications of land and forest degradation. The activity will develop suitable metrics for assessing the extent of land degradation due to both the change of land cover and the use of inadequate management practices on agricultural land.
    • The expected outputs are a land degradation baseline (data and maps), and an interactive spatial data visualization tool
  2. Prototype land planning decision support tool: development of a forward-looking, spatial decision-support tool to assess how selected indicators are likely to change over time in response to exogenous drivers, endogenous responses of socio-economic actors, and policy decisions. The tool will consist of a dynamic land use change analysis platform, organized in different modules. It is intended to capture the interaction between demand for land products (including staple crops and other agriculture products, timber for fuelwood, construction and other uses) and the supply of those products, mediated by local and national markets, and connected through road networks.
    • The expected output is a spatial simulation platform. 

A series of training and dissemination activities will be developed to hand over the full set of data sets and tools to relevant government officials and stakeholders in both countries.



The hydrologic modelling tool (LANDSIM-R) will be directly used by the PADAP team to inform the development of its landscape management plans. More specifically, from the hydrological point of view, the tool will help identify the optimal intervention to implement upstream in order to limit negative impacts from erosion for specific locations downstream. This is a very significant achievement as the tool will serve to decision-making in the preparation of landscape management plans which could constitute the future of land use planning in Madagascar. 

The national model (LANDSIM-P) will be used to present a number of scenarios and examples during a public review event with decision-makers during which the team will present results and will use the occasion to discuss about policies and programs that are needed to address the risks identified in the different scenarios.  


The LANDSIM-P, the land use land cover map, and the land degradation products have been used to assess the impacts of the IDAI cyclone and these datasets were used in order to feed into the PDNA (Post-Disaster Needs Assessment) led by the World Bank in the environment side. The three products have shown that they have potential in a scenario of scarcity of spatial information in the country. The Land degradation baseline results will be also used to design the Land Degradation Neutrality in Mozambique. The former minister MITARDE has been now divided into two ministries, MTA – Land and Environment and MADER – Agriculture and Rural Development. The tool now will be used by both ministries to derive results in order to inform National Policies.

The tool as well as the land degradation baseline in Mozambique, were intensively used to assess and model degraded lands and High degradation risk zones and the information fed into the Proposal submitted to the GEF. Because of the existence of such detailed results, Mozambique got an additional funding from the GEF 7 on the amount of 22million. The tool supportted the identification and assessment of the degradation of critical habitats for restoration, with particular attention to critical habitats in this landscape, including mangrove forests. Mozambique has also been commended for having such tools and results in country during the recent GEF meeting held in Rome in February 2020. Under the Sustenta and MozFIP project, results from the first component are also being used to inform areas that need to be restored. The LandSIM platform has also shown to be of great importance to the Emission Reduction Program in Mozambique. The tool is being employed to assess different optimal scenarios to reduce deforestation while improving the livelihood and food security at the local level. 

Biofund, Foundation for the Conservation of Biodiversity is a private financial institution with the aim of financing the conservation of biodiversity in Mozambique also showed interest on using this tool and were actively engaged since the beginning on the design of the tool. Biofund is one of the institution in Mozambique that will largely benefit from the additional funding from the GEF 7. WCS – Wildlife conservation society in close collaboration with Biofund are now also interested on using the tool and have benefited from the in country training delivered in October 2019.  


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Last Updated : 06-08-2020

In Mozambique, Government, Conservationists and Private Sector Come Together to Protect Biodiversity

When it comes to protecting our planet’s biodiversity, we can’t afford to not have a plan – especially where environmental impacts are inevitable.

In conservation, the “last resort” option is an approach known as biodiversity offsets. It involves preserving habitat in one area to compensate for unavoidable environmental damage elsewhere, usually as a result of large projects, such as those involving mining or oil and gas development.

“Offsets are based on the ‘mitigation hierarchy’ approach to environmental damage,” explained World Bank Senior Environmental Specialist Douglas J. Graham. “First try to avoid it, minimize it, or restore any affected areas; if nothing else is feasible, look to biodiversity offsets. Where losses simply cannot be avoided but are deemed acceptable, compensate for the losses by protecting similar habitat somewhere else.”

Graham, along with his colleague George Ledec, World Bank Lead Ecologist, has recently been supporting the Government of Mozambique in thinking through what a “last resort” program would look like given the country’s complex conservation challenges. Mozambique is rich in biodiversity but faces tough development issues, including a poverty rate above 50 percent. Biodiversity offsets present a solution for protecting habitats – including providing badly needed funds for Mozambique’s protected areas, which cover 21 million hectares, or 26 percent of the country’s land area – while tapping into valuable natural resources from the mining and petroleum sectors.  

National-level biodiversity offset systems are both complicated and without much precedent: Liberia is another African country where this approach is being tested with support from the World Bank. With funding from PROFOR, Graham and Ledec guided a team in Mozambique to put together a Road Map for Mozambique to show how this could be achieved. 

“Mozambique is an incredibly interesting place to be implementing biodiversity offsets,” Graham noted. “First, it has very large mining and oil and gas infrastructure projects. Second, private sector companies are required to protect biodiversity in order to comply with international finance regulations [specifically the International’s Finance Corporation’s 2012 Environmental and Social Performance Standards and the Equator Principles]. And third, the Government is very interested in making this a success. The Ministry of the Environment (MITADER) has even shown their commitment by modifying the decrees regulating environmental impact assessments, requiring that large projects result in no net loss of biodiversity.”

The Road Map notes that, far from being a burden to private companies, this new regulation may actually speed up the approval process for new projects by clarifying procedures, giving companies a way forward to comply with national rules and international standards, for which they are increasingly accountable.

Moreover, Mozambique already has an organization capable of operating the offsets program. The Foundation for the Conservation of Biodiversity (BIOFUND), supported under a separate World Bank project, is primed to make the difficult calculations of how much of one habitat is equal to another; to collect and manage funds from private sector companies, and to protect those “equivalent” habitats in perpetuity. BIOFUND also has the responsibility of classifying habitats based on their level of biodiversity, and mapping critical areas where offsets are not appropriate.   

“Some habitats are so rare and so important that they shouldn’t be sacrificed,” Graham said. “For example, this appears to be the case with the Swahili coastal forests in northern Mozambique; that ecoregion could be considered a no-go because of its high global biodiversity value and lack of protection.” Biodiversity offsets are never meant to justify development projects that would seriously damage habitats with unique and irreplaceable biodiversity.

Importantly, the initial steps laid out in the Mozambique Road Map are actively taking place, thanks to a proactive MITADER, significant follow-up funding from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and World Bank support to BIOFUND.

“This is a great example of a partnership between the government and a willing private sector,” Ledec said. “Very big international companies are involved with investments worth many millions of dollars. They really want to do this, to show to their boards and to the world that they are meeting their commitments. But they can only do this if the money is well used and handled transparently.”

The Mozambique Road Map was produced as a part of the broader PROFOR-supported work on biodiversity offsets, which includes a Global Biodiversity Offsets User Guide to advise the World Bank and other groups on whether, when, and how to prepare and implement offsets. The Mozambique Road Map is available in English and Portuguese.

(Photo: Victor Brott via Sida Swedish Int. Development Cooperation Agency, Flickr CC)

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Last Updated : 04-01-2018