Terra Global Participates in High Level USAID Workshop
On July 10th and 11th, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) held a workshop with key private sector organizations that seek to attract new sources of finance for forest conservation and sustainable landscape management. The workshop was conceived by USAID’s Colombia mission, through its Office of Environment, in partnership with the USAID Global Development Lab. The objective of the workshop was to start a dialogue on how current USAID programs can be leveraged to attract private sector funding for sustainable landscape management, and how USAID can promote new and innovative approaches that have been used by USAID in other sectors to bring in new sources of funding.
Private sector participants included Leslie Durschinger of Terra Global, representing the Terra Bella Fund, as well as other private sector organizations, including the Danone Livelihoods Fund, the BioCarbon Group, Bunge Agribusiness, Althelia Ecosphere, Code REDD, Wildlife Works, and Permian Global. On the first day of the conference, the private sector organizations shared their experiences in attracting private sector investment capital for sustainable landscape management, as well as building demand with corporates and consumers to purchase the multiple benefit emission reductions that are generated by these investments. Senior people from key USAID programs designed to engage the private sector also presented. These included: 1) Global Development Alliance (GDA), which supports public private partnerships; 2) Development Credit Authority (DCA), which provides loan guarantees that may include carbon emission reduction programs; and 3) Private Capital Group, which promotes private sector investments. Other key participants included Conservation International, the World Bank, the US State Department (as observer), NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Carnegie Airborne Observatory.
On the second day, the group collectively identified ways in which USAID could program resources to promote higher level engagement from private sector investors, environmentally and socially responsible corporations, and consumers in sustainable landscape management. These ideas were presented to Dr. Rajiv Shah, the Administrator of USAID, and discussed in more detail with Eric Postel, USAID’s Assistant Administer for Economic Growth Education and Environment. The workshop proved to be valuable to all private sector firms, as they were able to better familiarize themselves with ways in which current USAID programs can support their objectives. Furthermore, key decision makers within USAID obtained a better understanding of the development value that can be generated through greater private sector engagement, as well as the challenges faced by private companies seeking to deploy capital for sustainable landscape management. “We were pleased with the outcome of the workshop and look to further engage other USAID missions that seek to promote private sector investments forest conservation. It served as the start of a dialogue with Washington on ways to maximize the impact of USAID’s investments in sustainable landscapes with greater private sector engagement,” said Chris Abrams, Director, Office of Environment, USAID/Colombia.