Gabon’s rainforests are critical to protecting biodiversity and containing carbon emissions, and now the West African nation has a 10-year deal with Norway to ensure the forests will be preserved.
That’s according to the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), which announced the US$150 million deal on Sunday as global leaders gather for the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City.
CAFI says it’s the first time that an African nation will be rewarded by other countries for protecting the forests that the entire planet depends on, through reduction of its own greenhouse gas emissions linked to deforestation and degradation, and the absorption of carbon dioxide by the forests covering 90 percent of its territory.
“We have to raise the value of the Gabonese rain forests in order to ensure that conservation and sustainable exploitation can be used as tools to improve the living standards of the Gabonese people by creating jobs and livelihoods,” said Lee White, the new environmental minister.
“Norway’s agreement to double the price of a ton of rainforest carbon dioxide is highly significant and gives us hope that the international community will move towards a realistic price that will provide a real incentive for rain forest countries to follow our example.”
CAFI works with six African nations that hold critical rainforest lands in the Congo Basin. Among them is Republic of Congo, which earlier this month signed a $65 million CAFI letter of intent, and will see funds from Norway, France, the European Union and other partners.