22 Aug 2018

Cocoa Producers’ Commitment to Climate Change Mitigation in Ivory Coast. News from WFO Members

Last month the World Bank released the 7th Côte d’Ivoire Economic Update, confirming the country’s good economic performance since the end of the political crisis in 2011. The report nonetheless underlines the fact that if Ivory Coast hopes to maintain this favourable trend, it must strengthen the basis for its sustainable development, focusing on managing its natural capital and taking immediate action to mitigate the impact of climate change.

The challenge that lies ahead for Ivory Coast is not only to continue its economic growth at an accelerated pace, but also to ensure that this growth is sustainable in the long run. The uncontrolled use of its natural capital stock could negatively affect the economic growth rate in the years ahead.

Deforestation is certainly the most visible symbol of natural capital degradation.
Estimated at the 37% of the national territory in 1960, forest cover was less than 14% in 2010 (AFD, 2013). This is one of the fastest deforestation rates in the world. However, because of their carbon-storing abilities, tropical forests play a key role in fighting against climate change. These forests also satisfy the essential local needs by regulating the temperatures, helping generate rainfall, and purifying the air and water. Healthy forests help rural communities thrive.
If no actions are taken, the extent of climate change and the lack of preparation by Ivory Coast to address climate change make the country particularly vulnerable.

In this context the WFO Ivorian member organization RIAD - Réseau Ivoirien pour une Agriculture Durable is carrying out a reforestation project, focusing on creating areas of community forests in five cocoa-producing regions in Ivory Coast.
The management of plots of land will be entrusted to cocoa producers and their organizations under the supervision of forest rangers.
The main objective of the project is to enhance climate change mitigation by increasing the forest cover.
The process will mitigate the rise in the average temperatures and its related effects since forests facilitate biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
The duration of the project will depend on the tree species planted.

The initiative includes different sets of activities, among others the development of partnership agreements between the cocoa-producing cooperatives and the Ministry of Water and Forests, the Ministry of Agriculture and specialist structures, such as SODEFOR - Société de développement des forêts.