Partnering with Sweden to support Ethiopia's forest sector

November 15, 2023

Ethiopia's forests play a crucial role in supporting various sectors of the economy and have the potential to contribute significantly to the country's social and economic development through various environmental, ecological, economic, and social services. Besides providing diverse wood and non-wood products, Ethiopia's forested landscapes offer a wide range of environmental benefits, including watershed protection, energy and soil protection, biodiversity conservation, and ecotourism potential, all of which contribute significantly to the country's overall health and wealth. However, the primary challenge facing the forestry sector in Ethiopia is the high rate of deforestation and forest degradation. 

To address this challenge, a focus is being made on forest restoration, increase landscape productivity, and development and promotion of forest enterprises while generating income. Additionally, to achieve the goal of increasing forest cover from the current 15.5% to 30% by 2030, there was a need to expand technical capacities beyond the existing capacities to support innovation and stronger engagement with private sector and civil society partners. This will create more sustainable and cost-effective forest sector development models that will benefit the people and the country. 

Over the years Ethiopia has implemented policies and strategies that recognize the crucial role that forests play in promoting environmental resilience and sustainable socio-economic development. These include the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy, the National Forest Sector Development Programme (NFSDP), the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), the REDD+ strategy, and the Ten-Year Forest Sector Development Programme.

These strategies prioritize the need to reduce and eliminate deforestation and forest degradation in Ethiopia while simultaneously increasing forest cover through afforestation, reforestation, and forest landscape restoration. The private sector is also encouraged to actively participate in these efforts.

To support Ethiopia's forestry projects, the Government of Ethiopia and development partners such as the Government of Sweden have been actively involved in the Institutional Strengthening Forest Sector Development Project (ISFSDP Phase I, 2015-2022) and the Catalyzing Forest Sector Development Programme (CFSDP Phase II, 2019-2022). The objective of these programs is to promote sustainable and competitive tree-based production systems in both rural and urban areas in Ethiopia, ultimately contributing to improved community and ecosystem resilience, including the reduction of recurrent floods. 

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