By Ezaruku Draku Franklin
The Restore Africa Programme has set an ambitious target of restoring up to 1.9 million hectares of land with tree cover. The programme also targets support to 1.5 million small holder farmers in six African countries, including Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.
In June, 15 African governments, global and local NGOs, corporate investors and donors attended a three day conference at Commonwealth Resort, Munyonyo where they agreed to build the capacity of all key stakeholders to make appropriate informed decisions in relation to private sector investment in voluntary carbon projects and the handling of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
The organisers said the Global EverGreening Alliance’s Restore Africa Programme will accelerate and massively scale-up the adoption of contextually appropriate agroforestry practices, whilst drawing down and storing carbon in the landscape across the East and Southern African Region. They said Restore Africa will restore 1.9 million hectares of land and directly support the livelihoods of 1.5 million small-holder farming families.
Christof Kutscher, Chief Executive Officer, Climate Asset Management said the project will significantly contribute to the AFR100, which aims to bring at least 100 million hectares of degraded land under restoration by 2030.
“The scale of this one is very unique. It is the largest community led land restoration programme in the world. We are delighted to be part of what reputedly will be the biggest community-led land restoration project in the world. Having made the original announcement of our agreement at COP 26, it is great that the talking has turned into direct action, and we hope these inception workshops are a great success and provide a strong platform for the future,” he said.
He said Climate Asset Management, the specialist Natural Capital Asset Manager, a partnership between HSBC Asset Management and Pollination, has confirmed its Nature Based Carbon Strategy will be providing the first tranche of an estimated $150m financing package to kick off the programme in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda.
He also said part of the carbon credits generated over the lifetime of the programme will be used by its investors to contribute to their net zero carbon commitments.
Chris Armitage, the Chief Executive Officer of Global EverGreening Alliance the programme demonstrates a new model for funding large-scale development initiatives, which puts the people directly impacted by climate change first, and in the process, creates more resilient landscapes.
“This landmark programme, Restore Africa, represents a major paradigm shift in the way we support the world’s most vulnerable communities and how we address the impacts of climate change. It demonstrates a new model for funding large-scale development initiatives, which puts the people directly impacted by climate change first, and in the process, creates more resilient landscapes,” he said.
“The programme will not only increase the food security and livelihoods of around 9 million people, but also provide their communities with long-term revenue from the sale of almost half of all carbon credits generated, so they can invest in their own futures,” he added.
Jonathan Muriuki, Interim Restore Africa Manager said the African Land Restoration Forum follows the launch of Restore Africa, one of the largest farmer-led nature based carbon programmes in the world, directly improving the lives of over 9 million people.
He said at least a quarter a million households will directly benefit in the next few years as the programme takes shape.
“In the next five years we expect to have improved the livelihoods of 250,000 households, so if you go by an average of 6 people per household that’s going to be about 1.5 million people that will be impacted” he said.
Mamadou Diakité, Acting Head of Environmental Sustainability Division (ESD) Manager of the AFR100 Secretariat African Union Development Agency AUDA-NEPAD said through co-creating processes, collaboration and working together, the programme aims to connect the actions of multiple stakeholders to create massive scale. He said this is needed to transform and restore ecosystems which is attractive for corporates and organisations looking to offset their unavoidable carbon emissions as they transition to a net zero model.
“The Restore Africa Programme will significantly contribute to our AFR100 goal of bringing at least 100 million hectares of degraded land under restoration by 2030. The programme’s community driven approach allows the needs of communities to be met for long term sustainability” he said
How the programme will work
The Global EverGreening Alliance’s Restore Africa Programme aims to restore 1.9 million hectares of land and directly support 1.5 million smallholder farming families, across six African countries. The Programme will also significantly contribute to the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100), which aims to bring at least 100 million hectares of degraded land under restoration by 2030.
The programme will actively support and work alongside farmers and local communities and aims to offer significant community benefits including: the provision of technical assistance and capacity building know-how; a transition back to traditional agroforestry practices with a move away from the western style agriculture that is not suited to the African landscape and a re-education in these traditional agroforestry practices where knowledge has been lost over the years.
It will also improve livelihoods through a growth in crop yields from superior practices, diversification of income through diversity of cropping rather than monoculture, inclusive employment opportunities particularly for women and carbon revenue sharing; and better routes to market to facilitate sale of product through market linkage/networks.
Caroline van Tilborg, Senior Carbon Investment Manager at Climate Asset Management said the restore Africa programme is a win-win journey that will target significant improvements to the livelihoods and food security of up to 10 million people through productive farms that are resilient to the impacts of climate change.
“We will aim to provide our clients with high quality carbon credits for their own journey to net zero,” she said
The program will follow a staged approach with the first nature based carbon project starting in Kenya, followed by Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Zambia. The Global Evergreening Alliance’s Restore Africa programme is one of the world’s largest and most ambitious large-scale restoration programmes.