World Bank and Fiji Sign Agreement to Reduce Forest Emissions and Boost Climate Resilience

New Delhi: The Republic of Fiji has signed a landmark agreement with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), a global partnership housed at the World Bank, that will unlock up to US$12.5 million (approx. FJ$26 million) in results-based payments[1] for increasing carbon sequestration and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Fiji is the first small island developing state to sign an Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) with the FCPF. The five-year agreement will reward efforts to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation under Fiji’s ambitious emission reductions program. Both the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Forestry play leading roles in this initiative.

“Fiji is on the frontlines of addressing climate change; coastal erosion and sea level rise threaten the very existence of some of our seaside communities and strengthening cyclones can decimate our economy overnight. So, we know first-hand the importance of reducing emissions,” says Fijian Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

“Our forests have a critical role to play in building not only a more resilient nation, but a more habitable planet. By strengthening our natural environment — reducing deforestation and degradation — Fiji is continuing to lead in the global fight against climate change.”

Fiji’s emission reductions program will address the main drivers of deforestation and forest degradation through integrated land use planning, native forest conservation, and sustainable pine and mahogany plantations. Other aspects will focus on community-driven afforestation, climate-smart agroforestry, and alternative livelihoods initiatives. These efforts are designed to provide job opportunities and improve livelihoods for local communities. The program will also include training and agricultural extension services to establish community plantations and woodlots as well as improving kava and vanilla agro-forestry systems. These sustainable land-use techniques help to boost incomes while also reducing pressure on forests.

“Fiji continues to demonstrate its leadership in climate action,” said Lasse Melgaard, World Bank Resident Representative for Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga & Tuvalu. “It was the first country in the world to ratify the Paris Agreement, and it continues to signal its commitment to tackling climate change. We are proud to support the Government of Fiji with this agreement and reaching this important milestone. It is the culmination of Fiji’s careful planning and political commitment to managing its forests and land sustainably as part of national efforts to combat climate change, build resilience, and ensure inclusive green growth.”

The program covers 90 percent of Fiji’s landmass, focusing on the islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni where 86 percent of the population lives. The initiative aims to reduce emissions by 2.5 million tonnes over five years and will also contribute to restoration of ecosystem services essential for increasing resilience to climate change, such as soil retention and flood regulation.

An inclusive benefit sharing plan was developed through extensive stakeholder consultations at national and local levels, to ensure that participating stakeholders, and particularly local communities, are fairly recognized and rewarded for their role in reducing emissions.

Fiji is the fourth country in Asia, after Indonesia, Lao PDR and Vietnam, and the tenth country worldwide to sign an ERPA with the FCPF. The total value of these ten agreements, which have also been made with Chile, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Mozambique, is over half a billion US dollars. Several other countries are expected to finalize their emission reductions programs and follow suit with ERPA signings early this year.

The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) is a global partnership of governments, businesses, civil society, and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, forest carbon stock conservation, the sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries, activities commonly referred to as REDD+. Launched in 2008, the FCPF has worked with 47 developing countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean, along with 17 donors that have made contributions and commitments totaling $1.3 billion.