Between 1960 and 2020, Côte d’Ivoire’s forest cover declined from 12 million hectares to less than three million hectares as agriculture, in particular cocoa production, expanded. Since 1986, deforestation rates have been extremely high, at around 2,8% annually. At current trends, Côte d’Ivoire’s forests will soon no longer fulfil their productive and ecosystem functions, threatening the country’s agricultural economy, and putting at risk the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers.
Since 2014, Côte d’Ivoire has made strong commitments to decouple agricultural production from deforestation and restore forest cover to 20% of the territory by 2030, from the current 9,2%. These commitments were integrated into the country’s National REDD+ Strategy, adopted in 2017. The strategy articulates the country’s multisectoral response to boost forest restoration and zero-deforestation agriculture. A new forest code, adopted in 2019, provides the overall framework for action to extend and restore forests. However, important issues are still under discussion regarding the adoption of incentive measures to encourage farmers’ investments in forestry activities in the rural domain.
In 2021, the EU and Côte d’Ivoire initiated a policy dialogue on sustainable cocoa to address the root causes of unsustainable cocoa production ahead of the adoption of the EU Deforestation Regulation in June 2023.
To address the underlying causes of deforestation, in 2022, the Ministry of Planning and Development (MPD) initiated the development of its first National Spatial Planning Scheme and a National Support Programme for Territorial Planning at various jurisdictional levels. At the same time, the Rural Land Agency continues to implement the National Plan for Land Tenure Securing with World Bank support.