Money grows for trees: Financing FLR in Asia and beyond

The loss of global tree cover reached a record 29.7 million hectares in 2016. While ambitious programmes across Asia to restore forest landscapes and help support rural communities are growing, there remains inadequate financing throughout the region and the world. A new video helps us to understand how to bridge the financial gap. 

Money for implementing forest landscape restoration (FLR) can come from many sources – from global funding instruments and private investment to national budget lines and even crowd sourcing. “When developing a strategy for FLR, it is important that we look at blending or mixing these different financing options,” says Kenichi Shono of FAO in a new video highlighting financing mechanisms and models. Blended financing is a key to both unlock potential sources of funding as well as to spread financial risk.

Through expert interviews from both the private and public sectors, this video looks at success factors for financing FLR, as well as the different types of funding sources available. Produced as part of a regional effort to foster robust FLR partnerships between the private sector, development agencies, and policymakers from ASEAN member states, the video helps to create an understanding of the existing financing opportunities and challenges for supporting FLR at both the landscape and national levels.

IUCN and partners set out to tackle FLR financing challenges by unifying and facilitating the cooperation of environmental organisations, financial institutions and the private sector to work together to invest in landscapes. But there is a hurdle to overcome for any investor. Frank Hawkins of IUCN pointed out that, “in order for money to flow, you need to see a very evident way of generating a risk adjusted rate of return on your investment.” This is another challenge that blended financing may help to ease.

As concepts such as the need for blended financing among many sources, both public and private, gains traction in FLR circles, it’s becoming clear that investment options for restoration are growing.


The interviews were conducted at a regional policy dialogue event called “Connecting Finance and Policy: Forest Landscape Restoration in Southeast Asia.” Held in Bangkok, Thailand from 8-9 March 2018, the event was organised by RECOFTC - The Center for People and Forests, IUCN and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

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