Private Sector Engagement

The private sector is a powerful and vital partner in realizing integrated land-use strategies that reduce emissions, lift local communities out of poverty, and grow sustainable economies. The ISFL is committed to working with the private sector to achieve transformational change in all its programs. Transitioning to low-carbon, climate-resilient development pathways requires more than public funding from bilateral sources, multilateral development banks, and climate funds. 

The low-carbon future the ISFL envisions requires significant investment and innovation as well as a fundamental shift in how governments and the private sector make decisions and implement activities across landscapes.

These programs and sources of funding can play a critical role as vital catalysts for this sort of change through the effective engagement of private sector actors. To transform current development pathways into ones that are climate-resilient, the private sector must play a larger role. 

The ISFL has worked with participant countries to develop private sector strategies that aim to work with and through existing platforms, thereby allowing the ISFL to serve as a convening force, crowding in private sector funding. 

These strategies seek to support public-private partnerships and dialogues to address barriers to private sector investment and bolster activities that attract additional private sector investment or matching investments. Proposed activities for ISFL investment are premised on supporting high-impact scalable programs, with the participation of the private sector, that can transform rural areas by protecting forests and biodiversity, restoring degraded lands, enhancing agricultural productivity, and improving livelihoods and local environments. 

To further this goal, the ISFL has created a comprehensive Private Sector Theory of Change. The purpose of the private sector Theory of Change is to provide a way of considering the critical pieces required to adopt sustainability in agricultural development of a jurisdiction, where adoption of sustainable practices is enticing for farmers, traders and agribusinesses. This requires a joined-up approach where all critical parties work collectively to make sustainability the best path forward. For an in-depth exploration of how the ISFL has put this theory into practice, see the FY22 ISFL Annual Report.

isfl theory of change


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Gender and Social Inclusion

To implement an effective landscape program, it is necessary to put social inclusion at the heart of the design. The ISFL seeks to ensure that all members of the community benefit from its programs equally, allowing humans and nature to flourish together, rather than the needs of one coming at the cost of the other.

The ISFL works closely with the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility to find synergies for an integrated gender and social inclusion approach.

Forests are managed at the community level, and are most often controlled by groups of men. As a result, women’s voices can be excluded at the local level. The participation, inclusion, and representation of women in integrated land-use programs is critical both to advance gender equality and to create more effective development and climate solutions.

All ISFL programs have conducted or are in the process of conducting gender assessments to review gender inequality in program areas, and develop concrete action plans to address them. Also, where possible data collected for monitoring of program results are disaggregated by gender to better understand the impact the project is having on women and men.

Stakeholder engagement
Indigenous peoples (IPs) and other forest-dwelling communities also face uncertain land tenure and limited control over decision making. While IPs and local communities manage large areas of forest land, they often only have formal legal rights to a small share of these. The collective rights of IPs in many countries have not been formalized, meaning their land is vulnerable to acquisition and seizure.

ISFL programs respect the World Bank Environmental and Social Framework’s Standards 7 and 10 (ESS 7, ESS 10), which require that meaningful consultation is conducted with stakeholders, especially among IP groups. This includes a requirement to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of IPs for program activities that affect them.

ISFL country programs
Information on specific social inclusion and stakeholder engagement processes and results in ISFL programs in Colombia, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Zambia can be accessed through the Knowledge Center on this website. These were prepared under the World Bank’s previous safeguard policies and procedures.

The ISFL program in Indonesia is under preparation based on new World Bank safeguard policies and procedures.

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Carbon Accounting

Much of the ISFL’s work to date has focused on building the technical capacity of country program governments. Forest monitoring systems and their associated measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) systems are necessary to track implementation and performance of REDD+ activities in general, and ISFL activities in particular.

By extension, MRV systems are also necessary for the disbursement of funds from results-based Emission Reductions programs. The ISFL has been helping program countries increase their capacity for greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting through workshops, needs assessments, and the provision of technical advice to programs as they implement their grants and prepare for their Emission Reductions programs.

ISFL and SilvaCarbon

SilvaCarbon has been a strategic partner in helping ISFL countries build their technical capacity for MRV. As an interagency technical cooperation of the US government, SilvaCarbon seeks to enhance the capacity of tropical countries to measure, monitor, and report on GHG emissions from land use.

Globally, SilvaCarbon and the ISFL have partnered with the Google Earth Engine Team to advance land-use change mapping. Locally, SilvaCarbon is working closely with all ISFL country programs to help build their capacity for measuring GHG emissions.

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Strengthened Program Design

To improve the performance of the program and provide a basis for accountability, the ISFL has committed to having independent third parties conduct three program evaluations in 2018, 2023, and 2028. These evaluations aim to improve the relevance of the program, enhance the achievement of results, optimize resource use, and address issues of target group satisfaction.

The first ISFL program evaluation was launched in 2018 and completed in 2019. The program evaluation assessed the formative years of the ISFL (2013–18), the ISFL theory of change, the ISFL approach and structure, and progress to date against defined milestones.

The evaluation covered all five programs and included in-country visits to Colombia and Zambia. The evaluators used a systematic, theory-based formative approach to evaluating both qualitative and quantitative data gathered through document reviews, semi-structured key informant interviews, focus group discussions, surveys, and country visits.

The outcomes of the first program evaluation have been reviewed by the ISFL Fund Management Team and discussed in detail with fund Contributors to find ways to implement the recommendations and address the identified challenges. As the ISFL seeks to pilot a jurisdictional landscape approach to Emission Reductions programs, the outcomes of this evaluation are indispensable in helping improve program design.