World Rainforest Movement

Green Climate Fund ignores Open Letter demand to say NO to funding requests for industrial tree plantations

On 11 March 2020, the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) approved a request from the Arbaro Fund for USD 25 million to set up industrial tree plantations in seven countries in Africa and Latin America (Ethiopia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru).

Industrial tree plantation in Mozambique. Ph: JA!

By approving this funding to set up industrial tree plantations, the GCF Board ignored the message from 133 organisations and 101 individuals from 56 countries who signed an Open Letter to the GCF Board on 08 March 2020. The signatories of the letter warn that communities in the seven countries have heard promises like those from Arbaro before, that the plantations will bring jobs and community benefits, that community rights will be respected, and that plantations will be established on land not used by communities. Their experience with industrial tree plantations has overwhelmingly shown these promises to be empty promises, that companies forget as soon as they have signed the lease contracts to take over community land. With these USD 25 million of public money that the GCF has given to Arbaro, communities in the seven countries will need to be on alert and guard against the take-over of their land for more industrial tree plantations.

The GCF Board approval for more funding for industrial tree plantations comes just a day after the Swedish Energy Agency cancelled its contract for the purchase of carbon credits from a tree plantation company in Uganda after it had been drawn into the company’s conflict with communities for years. The company had started out with much the same promises to respect community right, provide employment opportunities and set up its plantations only on so-called degraded land as Arbaro is now promising in its funding request to the GCF. The result of these promises were escalating community conflicts at all the sites the company set up its industrial tree plantations.

Read more about this issue here:

>>> The Green Climate Fund must reject Arbaro’s industrial tree plantations (REDD Monitor).

>>> Open Letter to Green Climate Fund Board: Say NO to funding requests that promote monoculture tree plantations