Liberia launches public-private cooperation to improve livelihoods and protect forests

Today the Liberian government has announced the first steps in an ambitious plan to work with leading international companies to improve smallholder productivity and livelihoods, while conserving the country’s forests and growing its economy. Today’s launch of a public-private cooperation will turn commitments made by commodity companies to improve their social and environmental track record into action.

To protect Liberia’s natural forests and improve agricultural productivity, Liberia and Norway signed a partnership agreement during the New York climate summit in September 2014. In support of this partnership, IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative, is bringing together the Liberian authorities, leading international mining and palm oil companies and civil society, to develop new approaches for green inclusive economic development.

Liberia is therefore in an advantaged position to grow its economy while minimizing environmental harm. This requires addressing both production of commodities and the protection of forests. IDH leverages commitments of private palm oil and mining companies and aligns those with the power and knowledge of governments and civil society organizations.

IDH will be active in three landscapes in Liberia: a mining landscape in the north-east, and two palm oil growing areas in north-west and south-west Liberia. In collaboration with the Forest Development Agency and other public and private sector partners, IDH aims to improve smallholder productivity and livelihoods, while conserving the forest in these landscapes.

The companies committed to this process includes Sime Darby Plantation, Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) and ArcelorMittal. Both palm oil companies endorsed the New York declaration of Forest under the UN climate summit in September 2014, and have made international "non deforestation" commitments.

Today’s launch is the first practical step under a cooperation agreement between Norway and IDH, made possible through a grant from Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI).

Over the next few months, contracts will be signed with the companies and partners in the landscapes to develop Production Protection Agreements. These agreements will mobilize investment in agricultural development coupled with investment in forest conservation, on the basis of Green Growth Plans in the 3 landscapes.

Press Contact for IDH:
Director Daan Wensing
Phone: +31 615883 096

Press Contact for NICFI:
Director Per Pharo
Phone: +47 930 46 184

Background

In December 2015, Norway (NICFI/NORAD) signed an agreement with IDH to support IDH’s landscape program in three countries to help delink commodity production from deforestation. The agreement involves funding IDH with 50 million NOK (~5.3 million euros), to fight deforestation and forest degradation in Liberia, Indonesia and Brazil. These programs will be scaled up in the period 2017-2020 after a successful inception year.

Through this program, IDH and Norwegian government aim to de-couple increased agricultural productivity from deforestation, address governance challenges through a multi-stakeholder approach, prepare the ground for investment in agricultural intensification, and introduce production-protection compacts among others.

The program targets private sector corporations, smallholder producers, local, provincial and national governments and local communities. In the next year, the grant will be utilized to – together with partners - establish multi-stakeholder coalitions in the landscapes, draft Green Growth plans with supporting business cases, create the conditions for production-protection agreements and start piloting these. IDH will also create the framework for innovative finance options that de-risk and leverage investment by the financial and private sector, and start building the monitoring framework.

About IDH’s Initiative for Sustainable Landscapes

The IDH landscape approach is based on safeguarding natural resources in threatened tropical commodity sourcing areas by formulating and driving the business case for joint public-private landscape investment, and improving the enabling environment in which these investments are made. It is characterized by mobilizing multi-stakeholder landscape coalitions for collaborative action based on shared understanding, negotiation and commitment to long-term land-use management objectives.

About NICFI

Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) aims at supporting efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+). Reducing such emissions could deliver 25-30 per cent of the climate change mitigation the world needs towards 2030. NICFI has so far disbursed close to 17 billion NOK to REDD+.
Web site: www.government.no/climateforest
Twitter: @Climateforest

About NORAD

Norad is the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, whose main tasks are to perform aid advisory services, grant management and quality-assurance of Norwegian development cooperation. The Agency is a directorate under the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In matters regarding Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), Norad reports to the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment.
Web page: www.norad.no
Twitter: @noradno