This finding was confirmed by the evaluation of Finland’s Sustainable Forest Management Programme in the Andes (Manejo Forestal Sostenible; MFS), a program implemented by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The initiative provided grants to civil society organizations and private companies in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. One of the beneficiaries was a Peruvian company, Reforesta, designing and implementing forest plantation projects through innovative financial, technological and commercial strategies. With the funds from the Government of Finland, the company packaged the 18 technologies that are required at different stages of plantation projects to guarantee a quality investment.
Olga Loyola, an employee of Reforesta, demonstrating the growth of eucalyptus (right) and teak (left) plantations near Pucallpa, the capital of the Ucayali Region in Peruvian Amazon. The plantations are established only on degraded land, which are often abandoned cattle farms. Earlier this year, the President of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, landed to the site on helicopter to learn about the initiative and was impressed by the speed of growth and quality of the plantations.
The ongoing assignment carried out by Indufor Finland and a German company Particip GmbH, is part of a joint evaluation of three regional forestry programmes financed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland; the MFS, the Integrated Environmental and Forest Management Cooperation Project in Central America (Finnfor II) and the Livelihood Improvement through Generation and Ownership of Forest Information by Local People in Products and Services Markets (ForInfo). The results of the evaluation that will be published in the end of this year, will provide important lessons on forest-based value chains. The multi-country setting offers another interesting dimension.
In today’s development cooperation, is profitable business the objective itself or only means to reach the wider sustainable development goals?
Nowadays, the division between public and private investments is losing importance; (public) Official Development Aid (ODA) funds are used increasingly to support business ventures. To understand what works and what doesn’t, donors and implementers alike are thirsty for learning from on-the-ground examples. In the case of Reforesta, Finland’s support through the MFS Programme was pivotal in scaling up the company’s activities. It is likely that Reforesta’s business will continue without grant-based funds.
However, the global debate continues on several fronts: How should the objectives of ODA materialize in privately-led initiatives? How could these impacts be measured? How should the companies engage the wider group of actors, e.g. civil society and governments? How to ensure their involvement early on? These issues are discussed also in the recent Business with Impact (BEAM) mid-term evaluation. BEAM is a financing instrument that provides grants to Finnish companies operating in developing countries.
Indufor has long traditions in working with and in the intersection of both “worlds” – public and private – through the implementation of development cooperation projects and by serving private companies and investors in the forestry sector. The company has built extensive local networks and understanding of the operating environment in emerging markets. Indufor evaluation services build on these over three decades of experience.
Indufor provides world-class expertise in:
- Evaluations of publicly and/or privately funded environmental projects and programmes
- Formulation and feasibility studies of forestry-related investment projects with public, private or blended funds
- Due diligence and forest asset valuation
Links to the relevant websites:
Sustainable Forest Management Programme in the Andes (Manejo Forestal Sostenible; MFS)