Ghana has set in motion an ambitious target to cut down carbon emission by 10 million tonnes in the next six years.
The initiative, dubbed the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP) aims to significantly reduce carbon emissions resulting from cocoa expansion into forests through the promotion of appropriate climate-smart cocoa production approaches, including intensification and yield enhancement.
It also seeks to curb illegal timber harvesting and mining, while incorporating shade trees in cocoa systems and to build climate – resilience for the cocoa sector in order to secure rural livelihoods and sustain national development. The GCFRP, is a collaboration between the Forestry Commission and the Ghana COCOBOD
Speaking at the launch of the initiative in Accra on Friday on the theme; “Achieving 10 Million Tonnes Emission Reduction in Six Years, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, pointed out that the Programme has the potential to propel the country’s economy, restore forest cover, significantly reduce greenhouse gases, boost cocoa production, and also increase the tourism prospective of Ghana.
The President said, “As co-chair of the UN eminent group of advocates of the
SDGs, I am aware that the implementation of GCFRP is crucial. I, therefore,
call on all stakeholders to rise to the occasion. This is the time to exhibit
real ambition through action. The GCFRP is a performance-based programmme and
we need results in the form of verifiable emission reductions”.
He also charged the Forestry Commission and the Ghana COCOBOD to ensure that they joined forces through the initiative to make the country’s cocoa sector climate resilient.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Mr Hon. Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh told the gathering that humanity dependency on forests cannot be overemphasized. However, “despite the importance of forests to our lives, our quest for development in the area of physical infrastructure, food security, mineral exploitation and so many others are leading to the disappearance of forest at an alarming rate.”
Reversing this trend, according to the minister, requires a global effort.
He said it is in view of the above that the world came together in 2015 with AGENDA 2030 and the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs ‘recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests’.
Hon. Asomah-Cheremeh maintained the forest sector has been receiving marked attention from the government because of the central role it plays in the socio-economic development of people as well as achieving the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.
He said as part of efforts to address the possible adverse impacts of climate change, the 2012 Forest and Wildlife Policy provides a paradigm shift from the previous policies, placing emphasis on non-consumptive values of forests and creating a balance between timber production and marketing to satisfy domestic wood demands in particular.
The policy, he explained takes into consideration emerging global issues to maximize the rate of social and economic development of the country and ensure optimum welfare and adequate means of livelihood from the forestry sector to all Ghanaians.
To operationalize the 2012 Forest and Wildlife Policy, he noted the Ministry through the Forestry Commission are implementing three strategic documents including Forestry Development Master Plan The Ghana REDD+ Strategy and The Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy.
He explained the Forestry Development Master Plan seeks to contribute to reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, climate and temperature regulation, sustainable supply of timber and wood fuels, reducing poverty and helping to conserve biodiversity.
The plan therefore provides financial intermediation and incentive mechanisms for natural forest management, timber plantation development, plant and machinery, development of tertiary processing activities and micro and small wood processing enterprises, while the Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy provides blueprint for landscape restoration in Ghana over the next 20 – 25 years and constitutes a clarion call to take strategic and decisive action to restore our deforested and degraded landscapes
“I am glad to inform you that, in a joint collaboration with COCOBOD, the Prince of Wales Sustainability Initiative Sustainability Trade Initiative (IDH) and the World Cocoa Foundation, the Ministry is implementing the Cocoa and Forest Initiative (CFI) which aims to ensure deforestation free cocoa supply chain.
“This initiative is expected to end
deforestation due to cocoa production with the active participation of private
sector partners who will also be part the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme. I
would like to say that the forestry sector has witnessed lots of improvement
over the years and today’s launch of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme is
a great milestone in forest sector development in Ghana, “ the Minister stated.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie submitted that Ghana is the third country globally to subscribe to the carbon funds portfolio.
Mr Afriyie said, “Per the terms and conditions of this agreement, Ghana shall be advanced an amount of 1.3 million US dollars to Kick-start some of the activities in the programme document
According to him, by tackling the drivers of deforestation and degradation, Ghana aims to secure the future of its forests and make the cocoa sector climate-resilience, whilst sustaining and enhancing incomes and livelihood opportunities for farmers and forest users across the programme area.
By Mohammed Suleman