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Friday, September 28, 2012

New forest investment guidance to triple returns

A man siting next to a felled tree at the Afi mountain
forest reserve near Ikom, cross River, Nigeria 

Various discussions between investors and forest rights-holders in the recent times have led to a new guideline for investment with the capability of returning three-fold on investments.
The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) revealed to NaijaAgroNet in a press statement that the investment guideline if followed will provide livelihood security for local communities and protection for forests.
The guide emanated from eleven meetings organised by The Forests Dialogue (TFD) on behalf of Growing Forest Partnerships and with the support of IIED, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, FAO and the World Bank.
Commenting on the advice on investment in locally-controlled forestry, Gary Dunning of TFD said that the guide shows how investors and forest-dependent community form mutually-beneficial partnerships that would deliver social, environmental and economic gains.
The meetings have in attendance indigenous people, family foresters, researchers, government representatives, investment bankers, donors and philanthropists to share views on the role of investment in the forest sector.
The new guidelines, according to IIED is a representation of the insights of the meetings' participants with many case studies from across the globe showing how investment in locally-controlled forestry offers investors secure access, reduced risks and better long term management opportunities and an evidence of social and environmental sustainability.
The lead author of the guide, Dominic Elson said investing in locally controlled forestry not only leads to improved economic outcomes but it also leads to an improvement in the political economy in a way that can help governments of developing countries to shift into a more sustainable, low-carbon development path.
The guide looks in detail at how to encourage a happy marriage between ‘enabling investments’ that prepare the ground for commercial success and ‘asset investments’ that seek a return, usually as profit or products.
The leader of the team that produced the guide, Chris Buss of IUCN said strong businesses generate profits worthy of asset investment, “But growing those businesses may need enabling investments from NGOs, philanthropists or governments for infrastructure, capacity building or to secure and formalise commercial forest rights."
Another contributor to the guide, Duncan Macqueen of IIED that forests provide livelihoods for a billion people, adding that “About a quarter of the world’s forests are locally controlled, by members of three major alliances of indigenous peoples, forest communities and private family smallholders."
Macqueen revealed that forests also provide goods and services worth $75 - $100 billion annually, stressing "What’s missing is the investment that can boost these benefits in a sustainable way and put local people in the driving seat.”

Yinka Awosanya/LS


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