Gabon will become the first African country to be rewarded with international funds for preserving its rainforests in an effort to fight climate change, the UN says.
Norway will pay Gabon $150m (£120m) over a 10-year period for both reducing deforestation and preserving its natural forests so they can absorb carbon dioxide.
“The agreement we’re signing with Norway is a, sort of, a confirmation of the efforts that Gabon has made over the last 10 to 15 years of getting deforestation under control and of using sound, sustainable forestry both to preserve the Congo Basin forest, but also to reduce carbon emissions,” Gabon’s Environment Minister Lee White told the BBC.
This was down to logging responsibly, he said.
According to details of the contract signed on Sunday, Norway will pay Gabon $10 for every tonne of carbon not emitted, relative to the central African nation’s annual average between 2005 and 2014, and up to a maximum payout of $150m over 10 years, the AFP news agency reports.
Almost 90% percent of Gabon is covered with rainforest and the country has been leading environmental efforts in the region to preserve forests, creating 13 national parks since the year 2000.
These forests are among the most important in the world as by soaking up large amounts of carbon dioxide produced by human activities they slow down the pace of global warming.
But Gabon was recently involved in a major scandal involving illegally logged tropical hardwood.