The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has underscored the need for Ghana to work to adopt sustainable agricultural practices, address land and tree tenure-related issues for efficient management of the forest.
“If Ghana and other countries are to succeed in advancing forests and sustainable consumption and production, we must work to adopt sustainable agricultural practices, and build collaborative platforms to ensure sustainable management of forests for people and for the planet”, Dr Angela Lusigi, UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana said.
She added: “As we hold the forests in trust for future generations, we will also be able to enjoy all the benefits from the air we breathe, to the food we eat and medicines we use.”
Sustaining forests will sustain our life and livelihoods on earth”, she stated.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Kumasi, on the International Day of Forests, she reminded the populace on the importance of halting the continuous decline in forest resources.
The theme for this year, “Forests and sustainable production and consumption”, Dr Lusigi said a sustainable management and use of forest resources were key to combating climate change, and to contributing to the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations.
According to a data allegedly from the Global Forest Watch, the country has lost an equivalent of 8% of its total tree cover between 2002 and 2020.
With the current annual deforestation and forest degradation rate of 2 per cent equivalent to 135,000 hectares loss of forest cover – Ghana’s tropical forests continue to face the danger of depletion if efforts at sustainable management are not strengthened.
The Government of Ghana is already taking bold and commendable steps to reduce forest loss through interventions such as the Ghana Cocoa and Forests REDD+ Programme, the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small Scale Mining Project and the Ghana Shea Landscape Emission Reductions Project.
These interventions advanced the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 through forest restoration, sustainable production, and consumption of green commodities across Ghana.
Dr Lusigi said Ghana’s unclear land and tree tenure systems, and unsustainable agricultural practices, forest resources remains at risk, adding that cocoa production contributes between 54-77 per cent of the country’s forest degradation.
According to her, initiatives including the Cocoa Life Programme being implemented by UNDP, COCOBOD, Forestry Commission, with support from Mondelez International, were providing solutions by promoting sustainable agricultural production.
Through the programme, farmers are helping to restore degraded forest reserves like the Ayum Forest Reserve by planting economic trees in degraded forest reserve lands.
She said advancing sustainable production and consumption in forested areas would, therefore, require turning declarations and pledges into concrete actions that responds to current and future challenges.
This could be done through promoting green forest-related commodities, supporting inclusive commodity platforms to ensure that no one was left behind in engagement and decision making.
Dr Lusigi said it was also important to strengthen partnerships with the private sector and local communities in the sustainable management of forest resources in the country.