Carbon market, a source of green and sustainable financing for Gabon in the future?

29 mars 2022

UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Water, Forests, Sea and Environment, the Ministry of Economy and Recovery, the Ministry of Budget and Public Accounts, and Citi Bank organized on March 9-10, 2022 a capacity building workshop on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and sustainable financing.

The objective of this workshop was to facilitate a series of training modules aimed at raising awareness and technical capacity of key governmental administrations to further mobilize resources to meet the financing needs of Gabon’s Emerging Strategic Plan, the Transformation Acceleration Plan and the SDGs.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Idrissa Diagne, Senior Economist at UNDP Gabon, expressed UNDP's commitment to support the Government in exploring these new financing instruments, particularly thematic bonds that take into account ESG criteria.

Ms. Nicole Janine Lydie Roboty, épouse Mbou, Minister of Economy and Recovery, opened the workshop by emphasizing that Gabon’s economic recovery, severely tested by the pandemic, is conditioned not only by the mobilization of new financial resources, but also by the opportunity to accelerate its ecological transition.

"Exploiting the forest to save the forest" is Gabon’s goal as stated by Professor Lee White, Minister of Water, Forests, Sea and Environment, during his presentation. He explained the recent reforms undertaken to value the carbon market while presenting the climate risks facing Gabon. Valuing wood and selective controlled logging lead to fewer trees being cut down, higher incomes and more sustainable jobs for Gabonese, he added.

Gabon is one of the countries with the highest forest cover in the world (88% of its land area). Emissions from the land-use sector, though limited, come not from deforestation but rather from forest degradation. Gabon's forests absorb 140 million tons of CO2 per year and emit about 30 million tons. Gabon should build its financing strategy using these innovative instruments, including developing the carbon market.

The following points were raised during the discussions:

  • To raise awareness and training all stakeholders including members of the Parliament on sustainable finance ;

  • To properly articulate a resource mobilization strategy taking into account the complexity and use of each financing instrument presented;

  • To negotiate the price of Gabon's carbon ton with regard to environmental and biodiversity conservation efforts;

  • To set up a multi-sectoral working group in order to establish an implementation roadmap.