Bale Mountain
Ethiopia plans a large scale forest restoration and protection program to reach their ambitious climate goals. Credit: Ane Marit Lid

Representatives of the two countries on august 16. 2017 signed an agreement for a NOK 600 million (approximately USD 80 million) investment aiming to protect Ethiopia’s remaining natural forests and for transforming the Ethiopian forest sector. The grant will be used for forest protection and restoration activities and for establishing innovative public-private partnerships in the forestry sector.

Economic growth without increased emissions

The support will contribute to Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy which aims for middle-income country status by 2025 while maintaining greenhouse gas emissions at 2010-level. To achieve this, Ethiopia plans to avoid greenhouse gas emissions of 255 Mt CO2e by 2025, compared to a business as usual emissions scenario.  Half of these emissions will be avoided by protecting and restoring forests.

The agreement constitutes the main element of Phase II of the Ethiopian-Norwegian partnership agreement on forests and climate.

Unprecedented forest restoration

-Protection of Ethiopia’s remaining natural forest as well as forest restoration at an unprecedented scale is needed to reach Ethiopia’s climate ambitions. Norwegian support focuses on innovation and new partnerships aiming to drive the costs of forest restoration down. Success in this area is important, not only to Ethiopia, but to all countries planning to undertake large scale forest restoration, said H.E. Mr. Andreas Gaarder, Norwegian Ambassador to Ethiopia.

Forests prevent droughts

The majority of Ethiopians depend on rainfed agriculture for their livelihoods. The country is highly vulnerable to climate change and suffering from unpredictable rainfall, drought and extreme weather.  Forests prevent soil erosion and can help raise the ground water level as well as provide food, fuel and building material. Forests are also a source of commodities such as honey, coffee and herbs and an important resource and security net for the poor. From a global climate perspective, forests have huge importance because of their ability to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This multidimensional benefit of forests makes investment in the sector a worthy developmental pursuit and a strategic area for tackling challenges of climate change.