African Development Bank

Nature based solutions

This page is part of the E3G Public Bank Climate Tracker Matrix, our tool to help you assess the Paris alignment of public banks, MDBs and DFIs.

Paris AlignmentReasoning
Some progressSome biodiversity commitments and limited exclusion around logging. Intention to scale up nature based solutions, but concrete strategies needed.


Nature based solutions

AfDB officials have announced that the Bank is scaling up the use of nature based solutions to combat climate impacts and have organised events on this topic. It is notable however that the Climate Change Action Plan does not appear to reference nature based solutions, although it does refer to the need for the sustainable management of natural resources in the context of mitigation and the promotion of investment into ecosystem services. On its website, the AfDB states that it “has three main approaches to nature-based solutions; namely, restoring damaged ecosystems (land, forests and water bodies), conserving biodiversity, and integrated natural resources management. “


The AfDB has excluded “trade in wildlife or wildlife products regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora”.

The Climate Change Action Plan promotes investments in biodiversity, and cites several examples of projects with biodiversity benefits. The AfDB has made clear that “protecting Africa’s biodiversity is a development issue” and not doing so will affect Africa’s ability to “grow sustainably”.


The AfDB includes climate smart agriculture as one of its focus areas in its Climate Change Action Plan. The Bank has a dedicated programme called the “Feed Africa Climate-smart Agriculture Programme” which focuses on adaptation solutions for resilient agriculture and greenhouse gas mitigation from land use. The programme is also investing in sustainable forest management.


The AfDB excludes “purchase of logging equipment for use in unmanaged primary tropical rainforests”. It is not clear why only the purchase of logging equipment is excluded, and not the support of logging activities in general. Clarification from AfDB on this would be welcome. The AfDB states that “In projects whose main objective includes the extraction of renewable natural resources—such as forestry[…] – these resources are managed in a sustainable manner, with preference for internationally recognised systems of certification of sustainable management and use.”

In its Climate Change Action Plan the AfDB has committed to increasing countries’ capacities to develop and implement policies for sustainable forest management and implementing REDD+  and promoting sustainable land-use, forest management, and agroforestry practices that enhance carbon sequestration through reducing deforestation and land degradation. More information can be found in this Bank Information Centre report.

The African Development Bank is administering support to several African countries under the Forest Investment Program (FIP) which is funded by the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF), one of the two Climate Investment Funds (CIF).  However specific figures for the AfDB’s forest investments were not readily available . The Forest Investment Program is active in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

Afforestation and preventing deforestation can also support adaptation to the impacts of climate change in African countries. For example, the ‘Great Green Wall’ project is a pan-Sahel proposal to green the southern edge of the Sahara Desert and thus hold back the impacts of desertification. Drawing on a small sample size, the NGO Bank Information Centre found that the AfDB was consistent in reporting on capacity building to manage the impacts of its projects, but that the AfDB’s investments had a wide range of impacts on forests, from destruction of forest cover to the disturbance of national park ecosystems.

Recommendation: The Bank’s Climate Change Action should include an explicit commitment to (net-) zero deforestation across the portfolio, as well as policy support for country forest goals. AfDB should consider adopting best practices from nature based solution lending and integrate it across its operations.

Last Update: November 2020

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