Côte d’Ivoire


At the current rate of deforestation, Côte d’Ivoire will likely lose all its forest cover by 2034. Agricultural expansion for cash crops, such as cocoa, rubber and palm oil, has developed the rural and national economies over the past decades, but is also the main driver of deforestation, soil degradation and biodiversity loss. This critical situation for the Ivorian ecosystems has been exacerbated by the effects of climate change, which in turn jeopardize a strategic sector of Côte d’Ivoire’s economy. Ensuring the sustainability of the agricultural sector is an urgent social, economic and environmental issue.

The 1 for 20 Partnership is an innovative new programme that aims to mobilize $$1 billion to restore 20 percent of forest cover in Côte d’Ivoire by promoting sustainable agriculture and facilitating dialogue and cooperation between stakeholders. The partnership is a collaboration between the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Coffee-Cocoa Council, with technical and financial support from UNEP, UN-REDD and the EU REDD Facility.

The country has been engaged with REDD+ since 2011, with an aim to reverse deforestation and restore forest cover to 20 percent of land cover by 2030. In addition, the country’s National REDD+ Strategy includes the promotion of zero-deforestation agriculture in the cocoa, palm oil and rubber sectors. However, upscaling viable production models is a significant challenge that requires financial solutions.

“The 1 for 20 Partnership increases private sector engagement to take actions, make direct investments and advocate for change to avoid deforestation and forest degradation, promote forest restoration and zero-deforestation cocoa and other commodities production in Côte d’Ivoire,” said Jean Paul Aka, the UN national advisor on the forest-agriculture-climate nexus and local catalyser of the 1 for 20 Partnership. “The programme stimulates finance for investments in the forestry and land-use sector for smallholders by connecting the country with public and private sector partners. It is only in pushing this harder and setting higher ambitions that we can prevent deforestation from commodity supply chains in Côte d’Ivoire.”

There are several issues the partnership aims to overcome, including, the low and uncertain income of the farmers due to the monoculture of a volatile commodity, and local cooperatives lacking adequate financing.

Additionally, microfinance institutions struggle to access long-term capital; national commercial banks cannot access collateral from smallholder farmers; investors have difficulty reaching smallholders, and the government lacks resources to decouple agriculture commodity production from deforestation.

Many financing solutions exist, and there are profitable economic models based on diversifying farmers’ income through agroforestry. Financial solutions may take the form of a buyer establishing a long-term purchase contract that will support financing, or of a local bank offering loans through concessionary-rate funds, or an aggregation of several projects within a financial vehicle followed by securitization.

The 1 in 20 Partnership has a three-pillar action plan around promoting these types of sustainable financing models. This plan is anchored in viable production models and incentives for small producers that are aligned with the country’s climate change objectives, and it aims to facilitate partnerships between private stakeholders, the financial sector, and public partners to set up financial projects at scale and promote stakeholder dialogues to share experiences of sustainable agricultural models and practices.