Since the signing of the Paris Agreement the climate policy landscape is changing rapidly. New international finance mechanisms may help communities in the global South to manage their natural resources more sustainably, while mitigating the worst effects of climate change.
For this purpose, EthioTrees was founded in 2016 by members of the Ghent University Geography Department, jointly with six communities in northern Ethiopia. EthioTrees provides innovative climate funding, unique in the Horn of Africa. EthioTrees is committed to accelerate positive environmental change in Ethiopia. Participative mapping and decision-making form the cornerstones of the EthioTrees model. After only two years the high level Plan Vivo standard was awarded, which can be used to finance tropical forest rehabilitation.
By 2018, more than 10,000 tons of CO2 equivalent were trapped from the atmosphere into 726 hectare of reforested community areas; it serves the local communities and climate mitigation. In compensation, over 30,000 euro of carbon credits per year have been obtained, for the next 20 years. The climate funds are not only used to finance ecosystem rehabilitation, but investments are also made in drinking water and educational facilities, as well as in the development of micro-economies based on forest products such as honey and incense. Most of the project participants are young farmers who have no access to agricultural lands. About ten more communities have now also started engaging in the programme.
By so doing smallholder farmers are not the cause of environmental degradation, but can be the key to a sustainable future.
Prof. Sil Lanckriet, guest professor, Department of Geography, UGent. Sil.firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Miro Jacob, voluntary post-doctoral staff, Department of Geography, UGent. email@example.com
Prof. Jan Nyssen, professor of physical geography, Department of Geography, UGent. firstname.lastname@example.org