Between 1960 and 2017, Côte d'Ivoire's forest cover fell from 12 million hectares to less than 3 million hectares as agriculture, and cocoa production in particular, expanded. Deforestation rates remain extremely high at around 3% (even more than 4% annually in the gazetted forests outside protected areas), posing a threat to the provision of environmental services which are essential for consolidating Côte d'Ivoire's agricultural economy.
Drivers of deforestation and degradation
The main drivers of deforestation are international trade in commodities such as cocoa and rubber, and domestic demand for staple crops such as yam and rice. The main barrier to forest restoration is the lack of secure tenure for farmers.
To address these drivers Côte d'Ivoire plans to:
- Decouple agricultural production from deforestation by investing in sustainable agricultural practices, land use planning and securing land tenure
- Shift to a greener development paradigm
- Strengthen protected area management
- Improve land use governance in collaboration with the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) process
- Facilitate public-private partnerships for plantations
REDD+ actors and activities
The REDD+ Secrétariat Exécutif Permanent (SEP-REDD+), within the Ministry of Sanitation, Environment, and Sustainable Development, leads the REDD+ process at national level. There is also an interministerial Technical Committee on REDD+ (CT-REDD+).
A national REDD+ strategy was formulated in 2016, awaiting national validation in 2017. An important part of the strategy is about greening existing policies in the agricultural sector in partnership with supply chain organizations and the private sector. In 2014 the President of the Republic already outlined a vision for deforestation-free cocoa which started a broader national debate on zero deforestation agriculture, and the need to invest in forest restoration. Civil society organisations and local communities have established a platform for coordinating their engagement in the REDD+ and VPA processes jointly.
Côte d'Ivoire is a member of the Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA), a beneficiary of the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and is a partner country of UN-REDD.
Status of FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA)
In 2013, Côte d'Ivoire and the EU began negotiations towards a VPA to improve forest governance and ensure that only legal timber and timber products reach the EU market.
For more information, see the Côte d'Ivoire page on the EU FLEGT Facility's website.
EU REDD Facility briefing note: Comment concilier développement agricole et forestier en Côte d'Ivoire et à quel coût?