South-South cooperation for reforestation

Barbara Hendricks talks to forest ranger
Dr Barbara Hendricks visits the territory of Rugezi Wetlands and gets explanations to reforestation in its buffer zone; Photo: BMUB/Inga Wagner

Federal Environment Minister Dr Barbara Hendricks supports cooperation between Rwanda and El Salvador to restore forests.

German Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has met with her counterparts from Rwanda, Vincent Biruta, and El Salvador, Lina Pohl, in Kigali, Rwanda to set up the first specific South-South reforestation cooperation programme. The German Federal Environment Ministry’s International Climate Initiative (IKI) is providing the two countries with almost EUR 14 million in funding to support this work. 

Federal Environment Minister Hendricks explained, ‘With the reforestation programme, Rwanda and El Salvador are helping mitigate climate change and protect biodiversity while reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development. We will assist the governments of the two countries in developing general conditions that make forest restoration attractive to private investors, too.’ An initial cooperation agreement to plant and manage coffee forests is in place. Rwanda and El Salvador will present their joint activities at COP 22 in Marrakesh in November, as well as at CBD COP 13 in Cancún in December.

The idea for this specific partnership came about in response to the Bonn Challenge. Five years ago the German Federal Government conceived this challenge, which is the most significant international platform for action on forest conservation. The Bonn Challenge aims to restore 150 million hectares of forest by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. So far, almost 30 countries have pledged to restore a total of 113 million hectares of forest. Regional conferences organised by the platform for action followed in Latin America in 2015 and in Africa in 2016.
A project recently started by IKI is helping develop and publish the Bonn Challenge Barometers of Progress to show advances in implementing the challenge and to provide donors and partners with information to speed up this implementation process. The barometer is being developed in six pilot countries and implemented at the global level.

Another IKI project is supporting the local population in the south west of Rwanda at the edge of the Cyamudongo forest in Nyungwe National Park in their transition to using sustainable agroforestry and reforestation practices. Farmers who have received training under the project are planting 1.5 million seedlings. These agroforestry systems and small forests will remove the need to extract timber from Cyamudongo, and will simultaneously store carbon in their biomass.

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