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The Bank's currentforests policy (Operational Policy/Bank Procedure 4.36) aims to reduce deforestation, enhance the environmental contribution of forested areas, promote afforestation, reduce poverty, and encourage economic development.

Combating deforestation and promoting sustainable forest conservation and management have been high on the international agenda for two decades. However, little has been achieved so far and the world's forests and forest dependent people continue to experience unacceptably high rates of forest loss and degradation. The Bank is therefore currently finalizing a revised approach to forestry issues, in recognition of the fact that forests play an increasingly important role in poverty alleviation, economic development, and for providing local as well as global environmental services.

Success in establishing sustainable forest conservation and management practices depends not only on changing the behavior of all critical stakeholders, but also on a wide range of partnerships to accomplish what no country, government agency, donor, or interest group can do alone.

Forest Strategy suggests three equally important and interdependent pillars to guide future Bank involvement with forests:

  • Harnessing the potential of forests to reduce poverty,

  • Integrating forests in sustainable economic development, and

  • Protecting vital local and global environmental services and forest values.

The forestry policy should be read in conjunction with the Natural Habitats OP/BP 4.04

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