Three ways community microfinance builds smallholder resilience and livelihoods - FAO
Sitting at the forefront of the climate crisis, forest and farm producer organizations (FFPOs) have a vital role in supporting smallholder resilience and attaining climate change and biodiversity goals. Together, their members have a transformative potential to achieve sustainable development and respond to climate change at scale.
They cannot, however, fulfil entirely this role without sustainable and adequate access to financial resources to support their activities. Currently, only 10 percent of global funds for climate change adaptation and mitigation reach the local level, and just 1.7 percent are accessible to locally controlled organizations.
Obstacles to smallholder finance
Smallholder producers, Indigenous Peoples and local community (IPLC) groups, women’s organizations and their enterprises in low-income countries, particularly in Africa, struggle to access sufficient finance to meet their needs. They have limited access to the few finance opportunities available, which often come at unfavourable scales with constraints and terms and conditions that do not suit their unique activities.
While many smallholder organizations have well-developed business and organizational capacities, strong credit track records, valuable assets, and effective governance systems, they face disproportionate risks that limit their access to finance. Investors and financial institutions have a limited understanding of the many value chains in which grassroots organizations operate and the scale, terms and conditions appropriate for supporting their activities. As a result, they fail to provide financial products tailored to the needs of smallholder groups for improving and scaling up sustainable forest and farm management practices. Unfavourable policy environments and weak governance systems in many contexts create further disincentives for financing smallholder producers.
The potential of community microfinance
In this context, the Forest and Farm Facility has witnessed the promise of community microfinance for providing rural communities with much-needed funding towards sustainable natural resource management and resilient livelihoods. FFPOs, given their close relationship with and understanding of their members, smallholder value chains and livelihood activities, are therefore well positioned to provide financial products on suitable terms. When successfully implemented, microfinance offers business and value chain development opportunities, supports resilience and climate-adaptation activities, and provides social services across communities.
1) Developing innovative business plans and diversifying value chains
Delivering small loans, savings services, insurance and other financial services to low-income populations helps them build assets, stabilize consumption, manage risks and develop sustainable livelihood opportunities. In Madagascar, the Women’s National Platform for Sustainable Development and Food Security (PNFDDSA) uses funds from Village and Savings Loan Associations (VSLA) to provide women with business plan development training, support start-ups such as tree nurseries with loans and organize trade fairs. The VSLA mechanisms in Madagascar have come to represent a critical support structure for smallholders as they often provide the only accessible means to obtain production inputs such as seed and equipment as well as household expenses for education and health at affordable rates without the need to provide guarantees.
Savings associations and microfinance allow the establishment of new enterprises based on identified market gaps and can be strong opportunities for local value chain development. For example, in Nepal, many community forest user groups have incorporated spice-based agroforestry in their community forests. To improve the local turmeric processing capacity in these communities, thereby increasing local revenues, 20 Bungdal Women’s Micro-Enterprise Group members formed a turmeric production and processing enterprise with finance from FECOFUN, the national federation of community forest user groups. Similarly, El Ceibo’s internal finance mechanism in Bolivia allows it to build technical capacities and business development with targeted support to women. This support has led to 853 members adopting practices aligned with Fair Trade standards and organic production – improving their market position whilst respecting socio-environment requirements.
This thematic summary and Compendium serve to compile the discussions, recommendations and conclusions reached over 4 intensive days of work in thematic ateliers (Streams), plenary, side events and political discussions.
Mr Christophe Guilhou, Director of Sustainable Development, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, France, and Mr Ghislain Moussavou, Director General of Forests, Ministry of Water, Forests, the Sea and the Environment, in charge of the Climate Plan and the Land Use Plan, Gabon, were officially installed as CBFP Facilitators on 12 July 2023 during a ceremony to hand over the CBFP Facilitation from Germany to Gabon and France, presided over by Prof. Sanctus Niragira, Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, Burundi, and current Chairman of COMIFAC.
At the 11th Meeting of the Governing Council of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) on 12 July 2023, the Honourable Dr. Christian Ruck presented to the members of the said Council an 11 point summary of the activities carried out by the CBFP Facilitation of the Federal Republic of Germany during its mandate....
The French-Gabonese facilitation is part of this unprecedented framework. Firstly, because this is the first time since the creation of the Partnership that this work has been carried out jointly by a donor country, France, and a Congo Basin forest country, Gabon. In addition, the One Forest Summit, held in Libreville in March 2023, reiterated the importance of Central Africa's forests, promoting greater scientific cooperation, sustainable value chains and the development of innovative financing mechanisms.
The 11th meeting of the CBFP Governing Council was held on July 12, 2023 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. This "statutory" meeting in the organised by the CBFP, of which the objective was to present the Roadmap of the Franco-Gabonese Facilitation to the members of the CBFP Governing Council, took place just after the handover of the CBFP Facilitation from Germany to France and Gabon.
M. Christophe GUILHOU was recently appointed Co-Facilitator of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) by the Government of the French Republic for the period July 2023 to 2025. Please download his biography...
The presentations of the CBFP geographical blocks at the Second International Conference of Ministers on Transboundary Transhumance Nexus: transhumance, protected areas and natural resources, development, peace and security from 10 to 12 July in Yaoundé Cameroon are available. Please download the presentations of the Country Investment Plans (PIP) of the different blocks....
The Congo Basin, sometimes referred to as the “heart of Africa” and “lungs of the world,” absorbs more carbon than the tropical forests of the Amazon and Southeast Asia combined. It's home to 75 million people and species found nowhere else on Earth. Yet these forests are disappearing at alarming rates.
We hereby cordially invite you to our regional launch of the German cooperation project "Peaceful and inclusive transhumance in Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad" at the Second International Conference of Ministers on Transboundary Transhumance.
Dear Panelists, dear Guests, You are invited to take part in the sharing and reflection workshop that IOM Cameroon and KAS are organizing on the theme: "Practical solutions to migration, security and climate change: Initiatives and commitments by civil society and the United Nations to address and resolve challenges". As part of the Second International Ministerial Conference on Transboundary Transhumance - Nexus.
Yaoundé, July 4, 2023 - From July 10 to 12, 2023, under the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Cameroon, His Excellency Paul Biya, Cameroon will host the Second International Conference of Ministers on Transboundary Transhumance Nexus: transhumance, protected areas and natural resources, development, peace and security. Please download the Document...
The Global Environment Facility’s governing board has approved plans to establish a “game-changing” new fund to finance the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which aims to put nature on a recovery path by the end of this decade. The GEF Council decision, taken during a meeting in Brazil, clears the way for the launch of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund at the Seventh GEF Assembly, to take place in Vancouver, Canada, in August.
The purpose of the visit on Friday June 23, 2023 was for the team from the Ministry of External Relations of Cameroon (MIREX) to make sure that the Hilton's facilities are adequate to welcome the ministers and participants expected to attend the Ministers' Conference on transborder Transhumance from July 10 to 12, 2023.
This is the objective of the virtual meeting held this Monday, June 19, 2023, between the CBFP Facilitation of the Federal Republic of Germany, headed by the Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck, and some fifteen networks and forums that are members of the CBFP Civil Society College.
"I've already attended the COP in France, in Egypt, and everyone kept talking about the Amazon. So I said to myself: why not hold the conference here, so that everyone knows about the Amazon?", justified Lula. A climate summit in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced on Friday May 26 that the UN had chosen the Amazonian town of Belem to host the COP30 climate conference in 2025. "It will be an honor for Brazil to receive representatives from all over the world in our Amazon," Lula wrote on social networks.
The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) will deploy $63 million in urgent funding for countries on the frontlines of climate change following a meeting of the Global Environment Facility-managed funds in Brazil.
Douala, Cameroon, May 24-26, 2023. As part of the implementation of the recommendations of the first high-level concertation for peaceful transborder transhumance in the Lake Chad Basin, held in Ndjamena in September 2019, ECCAS and ECOWAS have undertaken a mapping study of actions and initiatives contributing to the prevention and resolution of conflicts linked to competition for access to resources in the Lake Chad Basin, CAR and DRC. This study was financed by the ECCAS Border Program Support Project (APF-CEEAC).
This workshop took place from June 13 to 15, 2023 in the conference room of the ZION BEACH hotel in Bujumbura, Burundi. The aim of the sub-regional meeting was to develop a RECEIAC action strategy to reinforce the promotion and ownership of the revised COMIFAC convergence plan by stakeholders.
The online training course in Botanical Garden management was created and financed as part of the SEP2D Program (Sud-Expert Plantes - Développement Durable/ Sud-Expert Plants - Sustainable development). The SEP2D program is part of the international drive to support and accompany scientific communities in the South, reaffirmed at the 10th Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya in 2010. It aims to strengthen interactions and partnerships in plant biodiversity between research, teaching and the demands of society.
Yaoundé, Cameroon, June 9, 2023- The COMIFAC Gender Committee, created by a memorandum dated January 11, 2023, held its first meeting at the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat Head Office. The meeting was attended by some twenty members representing the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat, technical partners and civil society organizations, including FAO, FTNS, GIZ, Rain Forest Alliance, REFADD, RIFFEAC and IUCN.
The second edition of the report on the summary of forest and wildlife offences published by the Field Legality Advisory Group (FLAG) in 2021 analyses Cameroon's forest and wildlife litigation based on the summaries (a document presenting court cases and files monitored by the forest and wildlife administration over a given period) published by the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife and obtained by FLAG over the period 2019-2020.
The quality of a blue carbon ecosystem project, essential for investor appeal, must be judged by strong social outcomes, benefit sharing, and community support, all of which can ultimately determine the project’s sustainability and contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
When it meets this month in Brasilia, the Global Environment Facility’s governing body will consider a record $1.4 billion work program and set the contours of a new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, speeding up international efforts to confront species loss and related crises.
The Climate Chance Summit Africa 2023 will bring together on the 23rd, 24th and 2th of October 2023 at the Palais des Congrès in Yaounde 1,500 African actors from the "climate community": high-level personalities, experts, actors in the field, representatives of local governments, businesses and organised civil society.
Celebrations for World Environment Day 2023 kicked off in host-country Cote d’Ivoire, as millions of people prepare for similar activities across the world. Venues across the capital city, Abidjan – from its historic lagoon to its first modern art museum - shone the spotlight on this year’s theme #Beat Plastic Pollution.
Congo Basin Carbon brings together information on various research and education projects in the Yangambi and Luki MAB Reserves in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Through this website we hope to strengthen research networks and improve project visibility, specifically for carbon research. Tropical rainforests such as the forests of the Congo Basin comprise nearly half of the world’s vegetation carbon. Intact tropical forests represent a carbon sink at a level that is higher than other vegetation types. The issues of carbon stocks, sinks and sources in tropical forests are therefore a central topic in international policy debates on climate changes.
At last year’s United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), 141 leaders committed to halt and reverse forest loss and degradation by 2030. Forests, particularly tropical ones, are known to play a crucial role in removing carbon from the atmosphere, partially offsetting the effect of greenhouse gas emissions. This is a highly valuable service to the global climate, meaning the world should be willing to pay to ensure it happens. In this policy note, we look at just how valuable that service is, and put that in the context of aid efforts to protect forests.
During the process of photosynthesis, trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Rainforests act as important 'carbon sinks' stemming global heating. The Congo rainforest is the planet’s most important “lung,” new data has revealed. The world’s rainforests absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide, slowing down global warming.
The world is getting a better understanding of just how important forests are in the global fight against climate change. New research, published in Nature Climate Change and available on Global Forest Watch, found that the world’s forests sequestered about twice as much carbon dioxide as they emitted between 2001 and 2019. In other words, forests provide a “carbon sink” that absorbs a net 7.6 billion metric tonnes of CO2 per year, 1.5 times more carbon than the United States emits annually.
This brief describes the first efforts to integrate agroforestry with charcoal production in the Yangambi tropical forest landscape. Activities resulted in both increased food crop production and reforestation, as well as the establishment of producer-led local associations and greater collaboration between communities and local authorities.
The GEF Secretariat prepared this document to summarize the GEF’s potential role in a financial mechanism for the internationally legally binding instrument under negotiation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). The document is prepared to help inform deliberations. It also includes questions and answers to key issues raised thus far by countries. GEF’s role as Convention Financial Mechanism: The GEF serves as a/the financial mechanism for five Conventions, namely the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Minamata Convention on Mercury, Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Chemicals, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
On May 8, 2023, in the BOUN'S Hotel conference, in Yaoundé, a workshop was held to launch the process of drawing up the Cameroon Country Investment Plan (CIP) on the nexus of transboundary transhumance, protected areas, peace and security, and development. Please download the final communiqué of the workshop...
Geneva and Yaoundé, 26 May 2023. The Ministry of Economy, Planning and Land Planning of Cameroon (MINEPAT) and CAFI are launching two Calls for Expressions of Interest today to all relevant implementing organisations concerned, representing a maximum of 60 million US$.
WWF is supporting the Government of Cameroon in her effort to restore more than 12 million hectares of degraded landscapes in the country. In 2017, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife committed, on behalf of the Government of Cameroon, to restore 12,062,768 ha of degraded landscapes under AFR100 and the Bonn Challenge by 2030. Of these, 80% are in the three northern regions of Adamaoua, North and Far North; with the remainder in the high plateau, Centre region, vast forest and coastal areas (Mangroves).