Ghana has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI), with Emergent, a US non-profit organisation, under the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition, a move that will boost the country’s carbon emission reduction strategy.
The LOI indicates the potential for Ghana to enter into a Purchase Agreement with LEAF Coalition Members for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) results-based payments, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, who signed the LOI for Ghana, at the ongoing COP26 in Glasgow, announced on Wednesday.
“Ghana believes that the LEAF Coalition Initiative demonstrates ambition to provide near commensurate financial value for carbon emission reductions at ten us dollars (USD10) per tonne to incentivise further collective ambition to address the climate emergency with urgency, ” he said.
He said the country was also pursuing an ambitious Afforestation and Reforestation in the long-term, in response to its targets under the Bonn Challenge and Africa Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR 100).
These are ambitious targets which collective gain will be captured under the REDD+ programmes to attract results-based payments for beneficiary stakeholders.
Mr Jinapor was speaking at an event dubbed: “Beyond the Talk- Showcasing Ghana’s Forest Sector Climate Solutions” programme, a side-event held alongside COP26 underway in Glasgow, United Kingdom.
The event was attended by Members of Ghana’s Parliament who belong to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment, and Natural Resources,
officials of the Forestry Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, Ghana Cocoa Board, and the Global Shea Alliance and other CSO’s activists.
Mr Jinapor decried the fact that the world’s climate was changing at an alarming rate while actions and inactions of the world population kept worsening by the day.
He said since the first COP in Berlin in 1995, countries had made commitments and resolutions, in successive COPs, in the bid to reverse the negative consequences of climate change.
“Unfortunately, we have not been successful at it. The world keeps getting warmer, rain patterns are changing, ice in the Antarctic and glaciers are melting, and sea temperatures are rising.”
He said evidence abound that humans were not doing enough beyond the talks, commitments and resolutions, adding that “We must demonstrate real and measurable actions for the 1.5 degrees Celsius target. “This is the only way to guarantee a sustainable future for our planet, and for the lives of generations unborn.”
He emphasised the importance of forests, which he said had been described by science as the “Lungs of the Earth”, and having a critical role to play in meeting climate change targets.
Unfortunately, the world’s forest and, particularly, tropical forests, were being depleted at a disturbing rate, with some estimated ten million hectares (10,000,000ha) of primary tropical forest lost in 2020 alone, Mr Jinapor stated.
The Minister said in Ghana, the savannah ecological zone for instance, was getting drier and more humid, while its primary tropical and sub-tropical forests were being depleted.
“However, with the necessary funding, we can protect our forests to contribute to climate action.”
Mr Jinapor said Ghana, on its part, had through the Paris Agreement’s Article 5 REDD+ mechanism, and in line with the Ghana REDD+ Strategy, developed and was implementing two programmes, namely the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP) and the Ghana Shea Landscape Emission Reductions Project (GSLERP), to ensure emission reductions in Ghana’s major commodity supply chains, namely cocoa in the South and shea in the North.
That will help to secure both carbon and non-carbon benefits, and improve livelihood opportunities for farmers, women groups and forest users in general.
Other Speakers at the event, including Mr Emmanuel Allotey, Chief Executive Director, Forestry Commission, Ms Janet Rogan, UK COP26 Regional Ambassador for Africa and the Middle East, Ms Mercy Owusu Ansah, Director of Trepenbos Ghana, and Mr Abraham Baffoe, Director of Proforest, all shared their views on the need to protect the world’s forests to secure the present and future generations.