The Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), part of the Clinton Foundation, has announced an expansion of its climate change mitigation efforts with a new program mapping priority areas for reforestation in Kenya and Ethiopia.

This program builds on existing data collection efforts in Kenya that provide communities with advanced information on rainfall, drought, and monitoring of natural resources; these efforts will help communities better manage their forest, farms, woodlots, and water resources. This new program will be carried out together with the World Resources Institute and the Green Belt Movement. It will be CCI’s first work in Ethiopia, although the Foundation has been working in the health sector in Ethiopia since 2005.

These efforts are designed to mitigate the negative effects of climate change in Africa. Forests are being degraded and lost at an alarming rate in Africa, and the negative effects include reductions and changes in soils and watersheds, impacts on food security, and damages to biodiversity. The new program – known as Restoring Ecosystems in African Landscapes (REAL)– is designed to help communities identify areas where land can be reclaimed and reforested and demonstrate restoration efforts with select communities.

“The expansion of our work in Kenya and Ethiopia will help individuals, employers, and governments in the region to make smarter decisions and mitigate the negative environmental effects of climate change that are happening today,” said President Clinton. “As the effects of climate change are increasingly being felt globally, our efforts to prevent the degradation of the forests that are critical to the region’s ecosystem are more important than ever.”

Kenya and Ethiopia have significant potential for forest ecosystem rehabilitation, as well as a strong commitment to forest restoration. Early forest restoration mapping found that that there are more than 100 million hectares of land that could be restored in East Africa. The REAL program in Ethiopia and Kenya has several goals:
• Map priority areas for restoration at national and local scales;
• Initiate demonstration projects for land reclamation, that can provide critical benefits like biodiversity conservation, fuel wood, fodder, shade, water regulation;
• Investigate innovative investment models of long-term financing to ensure sustainability and enable replication.

This project will link with ongoing work that CCI is currently carrying out with the Government of Kenya to quantify and report its greenhouse gas emissions. This work will allow the government to promote sustainable development and inform policy decisions on planning for forest restoration, protection of forest resources, improved soils and agricultural productivity, and enhanced water availability.

Building on President Clinton’s longstanding commitment to the environment, CCI implements programs that create and advance solutions to the root causes of climate change – while also helping to reduce our reliance on oil, saving money for individuals and governments, creating jobs, and growing economies. CCI has worked with the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) to help large cities reduce their carbon emissions, and currently works to increase energy efficiency through building retrofits; increase access to clean energy technology and deploy it at the government, corporate, and homeowner levels; and reverse deforestation and restore landscapes with data-driven natural resource management.

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