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New Forests partners up to fight climate change in Africa

CDC Group – UK’s development finance institution, Finnfund – the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation, Norfund ­­– the Norwegian Government’s investment fund for developing countries and New Forests announced an intention to partner to develop investment strategies designed to scale and transform the sustainable forestry sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Source: Timberbiz

This new partnership will aim to raise up to US$500 million over the next three to five years in the fight against climate change.

Africa is home to around 17% of the world’s forests, including 20% of all tropical forests. These vital ecosystems are under pressure from biodiversity loss and deforestation, as the continent faces a growing wood products shortage as economies and populations grow. Increasing the sustainability of timber production and improving forestry and landscape management practices is critical in combatting climate change and creating nature-positive outcomes in the region.

The new partnership will aim to provide much-needed capital to:

  • support the development and effective management of sustainable forestry practices, including conservation of remaining natural forests.
  • responsibly expand productive forest plantations, community forests and forest restoration projects across the region.
  • facilitate development of nature-based climate solutions that will help prevent forest loss and preserve Africa’s natural capital.
  • Accelerate the creation of green jobs, improve livelihoods, and generate sustainable and inclusive economic development in rural communities across sub-Saharan Africa.

The partnership builds on each organisation’s existing commitments to responsible forestry, bringing together CDC, Finnfund and Norfund’s expertise in investing for development in Africa, with New Forests’ track record in scaling investment and climate finance in forestry into new geographic and market segments.

“We are excited to partner with like-minded investors in developing a scaled approach to investing in sustainable forestry in Africa. New Forests’ vision is to see the forestry and land use sectors as central to the transition to a sustainable future. As we look towards fulfilling this vision, sub-Saharan Africa must be part of the equation,” David Brand, CEO at New Forests said.

The partnership highlights an ambition by the DFIs to catalyse climate positive investments across Africa in the coming years.

“We believe that responsible investment in sustainable forestry will preserve Africa’s rich natural environment and is a key step toward addressing the climate emergency, while bringing prosperity and green jobs to rural communities. As each COP conference demonstrates, co-operation is at the heart of climate action. We’ve already assembled a wealth of expertise to work together and as we develop the partnership, we will be looking to invite other like-minded leaders in the sector to join us,” Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of CDC Group, said.

Jaakko Kangasniemi, CEO of Finnfund, said: “Sustainable forestry is one key way to curb de-forestation as well as climate change. Investing in responsible forestry companies has long been one of Finnfund’s focus areas. Besides the benefits to nature and climate, forestry can significantly contribute to people’s livelihoods – particularly in Africa. The forestry sector in Africa has enormous growth potential and by partnering with fellow development financiers and New Forests, we believe we can together bring the change needed to unlock that potential.”