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WRI works to restore degraded landscapes; prepare countries to deploy climate finance; and secure citizens' rights to information, public participation and justice. Learn more about our Global Restoration Initiative, Climate Finance Initiative, and The Access Initiative.

NAIROBI, KENYA (September 8, 2016) – The African continent has the largest landscape restoration opportunity of any in the world – but each country has to lead the way and drive action on the ground. Today, Kenya announced a significant commitment to restore 5.1 million hectares of land, nearly 9 percent of its total landmass. The amount of land Kenya committed today represents an area roughly the size of Costa Rica.

Infrastructure and Ecosystem Services in Turkana, Kenya

The Turkana area of Kenya, one of the poorest in Africa, is undergoing major changes, primarily linked to the discovery of oil in the region. These maps start to uncover some of the potential impacts of these changes on people and the environment.

One of the most far-reaching of the commitments from the recent UN Climate Summit is the New York Declaration on Forests, which includes a plan restore 350 million hectares of degraded forest landscapes into productivity by 2030. While restoration holds great promise for many countries, this ambitious new target is especially important for Africa. As we’re already seeing, if done right, restoration could boost food and water security, improve livelihoods, and curb climate change in some of the most vulnerable regions on Earth.

The Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), one of the world’s largest dedicated funding facilities for climate change mitigation/adaptation projects, have now been in operation for five years. It’s a good time to step back and evaluate what lessons we’re learning from these important sources of climate finance.

WRI recently did just that, inviting a group of representatives from countries accessing CIFs funding to speak at our offices. It became clear from the discussions that while some valuable progress has been made, there is still plenty of room for improvement. In particular, lending institutions involved with the CIFs could deploy climate finance more effectively by fostering a stronger sense of country ownership over mitigation/adaptation projects.

The Good News: Climate Investment Funds Are Contributing to Change on the Ground

We’re starting to see some countries make progress on implementing climate change mitigation and adaptation projects with funds from CIFs programs (see text box). Panelists at the WRI event highlighted a few examples:


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