Gabon became the first African country to receive money to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by reducing the deforestation of its rainforests. The first tranche of $17 million was provided by Norway, the total cost of the transaction is $ 150 million. The payment was made within the framework of the Central African Forestry Initiative (CAFI), a UN-supported program, writes the BBC.
CAFI is an affiliate platform established in 2015. A coalition of European donor countries and South Korea have pledged to encourage African states to stop deforestation. The CAR, Cameroon, Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea participate in the program.
Nearly 90% of Gabon’s land area is covered with forests, which absorb more carbon than the country emits. In recent years, the state has implemented several environmental programs: created 13 national parks and launched a project to combat illegal logging.
Gabon proved to CAFI that it was able to reduce deforestation and emissions in 2016-17 compared to the previous decade. Therefore, in 2019, as part of the initiative, the country entered into a deal to allocate $150 million to it.
The first tranche is just 0.1% of Gabon’s annual GDP, but Forestry Minister Lee White said the disbursement is “a critical first step.”
Central Africa is home to the second largest rainforest after the Amazon. It absorbs about 1.5 billion tons of CO₂ annually, which is 4% of global emissions. More than ten thousand species of plants and animals live there. The lives of 40 million people depend on forests in this part of the planet. Since 2001, it has lost over six million hectares.
Earlier media reported that the Brazilian forests of the Amazon have emitted more carbon dioxide in ten years than they have absorbed: 16.6 billion tons versus 13.9. Now, probably, this process can be neutralized. When humanity passes the point of no return, and the jungle of the Amazon will become not a friend, but an enemy of the planet – scientists do not yet know.
Read our explanation why forests are providing the ecosystem services for us for free.