The World Bank is preparing to procure USD 40 million worth of carbon from Ethiopia by the end of 2022. The amount is destined to finance the protection of forests in Bale and west Oromia region.
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance, which has been negotiating with the World Bank, is expected to ink the agreement shortly.
The World Bank’s fund will be implemented through Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) project, which started carbon trading in Ethiopia since 2012. Ethiopia is the fourth African country participating in such a project. The distribution of the fund will commence by end of 2022 and stretch through to 2029.
But if more carbon is sequestrated over the time, an additional fund is expected from the private companies. The second phase of the REDD+ project was launched in 2017 and will phase out this year.
The fund is largely distributed to local communities who protect the forest. Usually, 60 percent of the fund is distributed to the local community, while the rest goes to the Oromia Forest and Wildlife Enterprise, a developmental arm of the regional state.
In 2021, Bale zone and west Oromia sequestrated carbon worth 149 million birr, selling 5.5 metric ton of carbon by protecting forest on 12,500 hectares of land.
The amount of carbon that will be sold is known only after a study is conducted to determine if deforestation has increased, how much is covered by forest protection, and how much carbon can be obtained, according to Seifedin Mehadi, Head of Oromia Environment protection authority.
“If deforestation continues there may be no carbon for sale”, said Seifedin, adding, carbon sales as a country has only recently begun, with limited experience.
The project plus the sustainable management of forests, and the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, has made a significant impact in natural resource development and conservation.
REDD+ is a multi-platform program established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It provides a way for stakeholders and involved organizations to share experiences, lessons learned, and outcomes of their work.
Southern Region of Ethiopia is a pioneer in carbon sales through NGOs in 2010.
With the protection of 12,500 hectares of Bale’s vast forest resources, emissions from various factories have been recovered. 4.7 million tons of carbon dioxide was sold in Bale between 2017 and 2019, earning EUR 5.1 million.
Currently, 64 associations have been organized and were given boundaries in Oromia region, becoming able to improve their lives. Oromia is a region with high forest cover. In addition to Bale, plans are afoot to expand the conservation of Guji and Borena forests, Seifedin said.