Norway strengthens rainforest cooperation with Ethiopia

Ethiopia is well on track towards their 2030 target of increased forest cover in the country. This is encouraging news in a time where global emissions continue to increase.

The renewed agreement marks a transition to a phase where Norway supports Ethiopia’s forest and land use policy through payment for reduced emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation.

Minister of Climate and Environment Andreas Bjelland Eriksen signed the renewed partnership agreement during a visit to Addis Abeba this week. Through the agreement, Norway will support Ethiopia in the work they do to protect their valuable forest areas.

Ethiopia has worked consistently to protect existing forests, plant new, and restore degraded forest areas over several of years, benefitting the climate, nature, agriculture and local communities. Payments will be based on results achieved on the ground, measured in emission reductions from reduced deforestation.

– I am impressed by the effort Ethiopia has made both to take care of the forest they have – but also to restore and plant new forest. We know how important the tropical forests are in slowing down climate change. In Ethiopia, these forests are also important for climate adaptation and food security. It is important that we support them in their ambitions towards green development, said Minister of Climate and Environment minister Andreas Bjelland Eriksen after meeting several of his Ethiopian colleagues in the capital Addis Ababa.

A green “water tower”

During his visit to Ethiopia, the Norwegian Climate and Environment Minister learned about the important role the forests in Ethiopia have as “water towers” for the entire region. The Ethiopian forest regulates rainfall and thus the possibility of food production for millions of people in Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and all the way down to northern Kenya.

Norway has collaborated with Ethiopia on forest conservation for more than ten years. So far, the support has helped to protect one million hectares of natural forest, which is now under sustainable management. The support has also helped to restore one million hectares of degraded forest. 300,000 people have had their living conditions improved as a result of the partnership with Norway.

– Contributing to better living conditions in a country that is as severely tested by climate change and political unrest as Ethiopia, makes a lot of sense. Protecting the rainforest benefits millions of people in the countries where we work. In addition, we secure a global common good of preserved nature and a better climate.

Performance payments

Forests play an important role in Ethiopia’s climate goals. More than 50 percent of the reduced emissions Ethiopia is planning by 2030 is expected to come from the forest sector, in the form of reduced emissions and considerably increased uptake of greenhouse gases. Furthermore, there is a goal to double the forest cover by 2030.[1] During the visit, the Ethiopian authorities confirmed that they are well on their way to achieving this goal.

Under the renewed partnership, Norway will support Ethiopia’s forest and land use policy by paying for reduced greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. Norway will contribute up to 100 million dollars[2] if Ethiopia achieves the goals in the agreement.