Forests are important for sustainable development—forest conservation is written into the SDGs—but how are multilateral development banks (MDB) doing at incorporating forests and forest peoples into their development work? To answer this question, BIC has been looking at how the World Bank (WB), arguably the MDB leader on forest conservation and sustainable forest management, is fulfilling its April 2016 Forest Action Plan (FAP), which (rhetorically at least) commits the Bank to integrating forests throughout its portfolio.
One tool for ensuring that forests are integrated—that the Bank’s projects are “forest-smart”—is the preparation of Country Forest Notes (CFNs). The Bank committed in the FAP to prepare 10 of them. These Notes are supposed to inform the Bank’s overall analysis of a country’s development needs (in its Systematic Country Diagnostic, SCD) and its agreement with the country on its program (WB Country Partnership Framework, CPF). These country lending strategies (SCD and CPF) determine how the WB lends in individual countries and thus are a crucial tool for improving the Bank's forest investments. It’s critical that the CFNs address issues beyond the forest sector itself because forest sector finance accounts for only about 2% of the Bank’s commitments ($1.7 billion of $89 billion total, FYs 2017+18).
How is the Bank doing? So far, it has made public just 3 CFNs. BIC has analyzed all three: Mozambique, Liberia, and Nepal, and ,looked also at the CFN draft the Bank prepared for Indonesia, the final version is not public yet. You can read our analyses here —and draw your own conclusions.