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IFC Supports WWF-World Bank Forest Alliance through Technical Assistance in Latin America


In Lima
Paul Melton

Phone: + 51 1 611 2510

Email:
pmelton@ifc.org


In Washington

Adriana Gómez

Phone: +1 202 458 5204

Email:
agomez@ifc.org


La Paz, Bolivia / Managua, Nicaragua,  May 25, 2005 —Through its Technical Assistance Facility for Latin America, the International Finance Corporation is partnering with the World Wildlife Fund to help the business community improve forest management practices.

WWF and the World Bank Group today announced the Global Forest and Trade Network, an ambitious program aimed at reducing deforestation rates by 10 percent worldwide by 2010. The announcement was made at the fifth meeting of the United Nations Forum on Forests. IFC’s participation in this project is part of its regional initiatives for working actively with the private sector to promote responsible forest practices.


The IFC and WWF joint program combines forest resource management and sustainable economic development by building a strong business case for exporting responsibly produced wood products. The two organizations are developing pilot projects in Nicaragua and Bolivia that link manufacturers, traders, and forest managers committed to the business of sustainable forestry.  The pilot projects seek to combat deforestation by:


·        
Strengthening indigenous communities’ and private landowners’ ability to engage in sustainable forest management as an alternative to illegal logging;
·        
Increasing the supply of responsibly produced wood and wood products;
·        
Stimulating demand for products made from responsibly produced wood;
·        
Improving business management and production among project participants; and,
·        
Promoting opportunities for financing and investment within supply chains.

In Nicaragua, the facility is joining WWF in a one-year pilot project aimed at strengthening the efficiency and competitiveness of timber producers and secondary manufacturers by improving market access and building operational capacity.  The project seeks to demonstrate the relationship between responsible forestry management and the commercial value of wood products.


In Bolivia, currently a world leader in certified wood production, IFC and WWF are working to integrate responsible community forest producers, including indigenous communities and local associations, with private manufacturers in the wood product value chain.  The objective is to illustrate that global markets for wood products derived from well-managed forests represent a sound economic opportunity for small and medium enterprises.


According to Atul Mehta, IFC’s Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, “Our technical assistance facility’s goal is to develop local capacity and sustainability in all its projects.  By working with WWF to tailor pilot projects to the specific needs of a country’s wood sector, the facility seeks to maximize the impact of its operations.”


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition economies, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the emerging markets, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.

ABOUT IFC TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FACILITY FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

The IFC Technical Assistance Facility for Latin America and the Caribbean (
www.ifc.org/lactafacility) is a multilateral initiative backed by core IFC funds and program-specific funds from various donors (including Canada, Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland). The facility's work program is focused on improving the business environment, enhancing local benefits from IFC investments, and strengthening the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises. Based in Lima, the facility is operating in six countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru) and is exploring opportunities in other countries of the region.

For more information on the WB and WWF alliance, please visit:

http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:20515080~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html