Ghana yesterday signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to reduce deforestation, with Emergent, a US non-profit organisation, under the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition.
She is the only African country amongst the first five countries; Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nepal, and Vietnam to sign the document under the Coalition that has mobilised $1 billion for countries looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with deforestation and degradation of forests (REDD+).
LEAF is a voluntary global coalition comprising the private sector and governments including US, UK , and Norway which have come together to finance tropical forest conservation to help reduce global warming to 1.5-degrees as envisioned by the Paris Agreement.
The LOI indicates the potential for Ghana, to enter into a Purchase Agreement with LEAF Coalition Members for (REDD+) results-based payments.
REDD+ is a United Nations-backed framework that aims to curb climate change by stopping the destruction of forests. Ghana is undertaking various interventions under the framework.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Jinapor, signed the LOI on behalf of Ghana at ‘U.S. Center’ at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) underway in Glasgow, Scotland.
Present at the signing ceremony were Ministers from the four other countries and John F. Kerry, US President Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate change.
According to Mr Jinapor, the government believes that the LEAF Coalition Initiative demonstrated ambition to provide near commensurate financial value for carbon emission reductions at $10 per tonne to incentivise further collective ambition to address the climate emergency with urgency.
He said the LEAF Coalition was crucial to the country’s fight against climate change and affirmed the government’s willingness to work with the Coalition to invest in reduced deforestation, aggressive afforestation, and sustainable rural development.
While the world would not watch as tropical forest repletes, he said reversing the damage done also requires financing through public-private partnerships as the government could not do so alone.
He said Ghana was already pursuing an aggressive afforestation programme aimed at restoring lost forest cover and was also embarking on efforts to reclaim our degraded lands.
Some of them, he said, was the declaration of June 11 each year as “Green Ghana Day,” where all citizens and foreigners living in Ghana are encouraged to plant at least one tree.
He said the country was aiming to plant at least 20million trees next year in addition to the seven million that was planted during the maiden edition of the celebration last year.
“Our goal is to inculcate in Ghanaians the culture of tree planting as a means of restoring our lost forest cover and to contribute to the reduction in emissions. But one thing is very clear, governments alone cannot raise the finances needed to reverse the climate crisis”, he said.
Earlier, Mr Kerry called on all countries and organisations to support the cause as reducing deforestation required immediate action because it could contribute significantly to the global climate change goal.
FROM JONATHAN DONKOR, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND