By the Program on Forests (PROFOR) team at the World Bank. These ideas will feature at the Global Landscapes Forum Investment Case Symposium in Washington on May 30 during a discussion, The private ask: How the public sector can support private sector investments in sustainable and productive landscapes.
Agriculture provides most of the world’s food. It also contributes the most to global deforestation. This does not mean, however, that we need to choose between feeding a rapidly growing population and protecting the forests that are so essential to our wellbeing.
While many countries have first depleted their forests before seeing a rebound in tree cover, this “business-as-usual” scenario is not inevitable. But changing it does require a paradigm shift. In part, it means redefining what “successful” pathways to sustainable development look like, so that they resonate with local leaders and reflect local realities – and thus gain political support. In addition, transitioning away from the status quo depends on forming new and creative partnerships between companies, communities, governments, and investors.
How to bring about this new food-and-forest paradigm? An ongoing study – funded by the Program on Forests (PROFOR) and led by the World Bank’s Agriculture and Environment Global Practices along with experts from many agricultural and environmental organizations – is trying to find concrete answers.
The team is focusing on six agricultural commodities: three that are heavily implicated in deforestation activities (palm oil, soy and beef), and three that could include planting trees in their cultivation (cocoa, coffee and shea butter). In an initial synthesis study, the researchers draw out some key lessons for removing deforestation from agricultural supply chains sooner rather than later, and for increasing the planting of trees in agricultural lands. Here are just six of their takeaways:
Initial findings from the synthesis study, “Leveraging agricultural value chains to enhance tropical tree cover and slow deforestation (LEAVES),” will be shared at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF): The Investment Case in Washington, D.C. on May 30. Its authors hope to start building momentum for their new approach to productive and sustainable agriculture.
“Although the private sector has been the main driver behind sustainability initiatives like Brazil’s Soy Moratorium and Cattle Agreement, support from the World Bank was instrumental,” said Dora Nsuwa Cudjoe, senior environmental specialist, and co-task team leader of the LEAVES knowledge product at the World Bank.
“The Bank can show the same level of engagement in the agroforestry commodities like coffee, cocoa, and shea, to help scale up private sector efforts. The opportunity is here.”
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