The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors recently approved a US$ 30 million loan for the Kazakhstan Forest Protection and Reforestation Project. The project is co-financed by the government of Kazakhstan and a grant from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). It is one of the first large-scale GEF projects concentrating on addressing the problem of land degradation. The overall objective of the project is to help to develop cost effective and sustainable environmental rehabilitation and management of forestlands and associated rangelands, with a focus on the Irtysh pine forest, the dry Aral Seabed, and saxaul rangelands. The project will address a number of key issues in the forest sector of Kazakhstan. The lack of digitized data curtails the ability of agencies to monitor forest conditions or make sound forest management decisions. The project will improve the policy and public expenditure analysis, information facilities, human resource development and overall organizational management. It includes support for remote sensing and mapping all forest areas of Kazakhstan.