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First Projects access the GEF Incentive Mechanism for Forests

July 19, 2011, Washington DC - The GEF Incentive Mechanism for Forests moves into a new phase with the first four projects, recently approved by the Council, that access the incentive funds available for SFM/REDD-plus projects.

The projects in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Jamaica and Turkey use a range of locally appropriate approaches to achieve multiple global benefits in biodiversity, climate change and land degradation. By supporting a mix of policy revision and improved field-based management, together with piloting innovative ways to involve local communities and encourage uptake of sustainable management techniques, these projects will protect and maintain forests important for their biodiversity, ecosystem services and the livelihoods of local people.

The four projects will receive funding from the GEF for a total of $19.3 million (which include $4 million from the Incentive Mechanism for Forests), supplemented by $51.9 million of co-finance from other sources.

The projects will lead to enhanced protection in nearly 200,000 ha of new and existing protected areas, aiming at improving management practices in 2 million ha of land.

Together the projects will result in a reduction of more than 2.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions reduction by avoiding deforestation and forest degradation. Additionally improved forest watershed protection will ensure reliable water supplies for over 300,000 people. By developing and piloting payment for environmental services frameworks the projects will make sure local communities, farmers and forest users will be able to contribute to protecting and enhancing their local forest areas while developing new opportunities for livelihoods creation.

The SFM/REDD-plus Incentive Mechanism for Forests is a $250 million fund to encourage countries to combine part of their STAR allocations to generate multiple environmental and social benefits from SFM/REDD-plus and LULUCF projects. Altogether the GEF aims to make up to $1 billion available for SFM/REDD-plus projects throughout the course of its fifth phase.

A wide range of projects and programs are eligible for inclusion in the SFM portfolio and contribute to the overall goals to reduce pressures on forest resources, generate sustainable flows of ecosystem services and reduce GHG emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. For more information on the GEF Incentive Mechanism for Forests visit the following webpage http://www.thegef.org/gef/SFM_REDD_Incentives.

For more information contact Ian Gray, GEF Sr. Environmental Specialist, igray@thegef.org.