Ghana was selected in the pilot list of the Forest Investment Programme of the Climate Investment Fund which aimed to finance country-specific solutions to address deforestation and forest degradation. Ghana received fifty million dollars through multilateral development banks such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the International Finance Cooperation. It is being implemented currently in the forests of the western and the Brong-Ahafo regions. The African Development Bank has also committed an amount of 5 million dollars for the second part of the project.
Ghana’s plan involved three phases to implement the forest development objectives including Enhancing Natural Forest Landscape Project, engaging local communities in REDD+/enhancing Carbon Stock, and engaging the private sector in REDD+. REDD+ represents a framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to promote and facilitate activities that safeguard forests, improve sustainable use of forest resources and enhance them in respective countries.
Ghana seeks to achieve the targets of the programme through the promotion of a sustainable economy that benefits the nearby dwellers including helping in their monetary and non-monetary development. The inclusive initiative makes a specific mention for including women in such families. In the endeavour, it seeks to target the forest dwellers, the cocoa farmers and the Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) families to preserve forests with a combined approach.
The key works will include rehabilitation of degraded forests, establishing guidelines for use of non-reserve forest areas, identifying sacred groves and greenery patches, increasing fire control volunteers, increasing areas under shade cocoa and agroforestry, and finally boosting communitymanagement of forests in a sustainable manner.
Some of the achievements of the project include the Tree tenure and benefit-sharing policy reforms which have focused on educating farmer communities and making a list of them for sharing the cost and benefits. CREMA blocks have been established in many areas for proper management of the forest resources in an eco-friendly manner.
To date, 80k sq kms have been included under the CREMA, over 12k degraded areas have been restored and over 3k forest users have been trained. Major national institutions involved in the project include the Ministry of Lands and Natural resources, Forestry Commission, Forest Research Instituted of Ghana and Some community-based organizations. As part of the programme, the Forestry Commission has recently received vehicles to patrol the abandoned mined-out areas of the forest land for reclamation. This was done under a project called the Ghana landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining project supported by the World Bank and implemented under the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources. It is intended to complement the Forest Investment Programme. Some other activities under the FIP include the donation of bicycles to the local community, holding field days in the forest communities for awareness, etc.
Ghana has a forest area that is 21.6 per cent of its entire land and 8% of the area is considered primary forest area. Owing to its proximity to the Saharan landscape, the importance of forest landscapes for the country can’t be understated. The political climate for preserving greenery, forests and returning to the ways of sustainability which is a key theme of many of our ancestral cultures, Ghana’s bid to improve forests is a trendsetter in the region.
Just like Ghana, many developing countries in Africa and beyond are seeking to balance growth with sustainability. And they are looking at innovative ways to secure funds and drive their economies too. The successful economic development of forestry communities while keeping them invested in conserving forests is a theme that many developing countries can cooperate and buildupon.