Ghana has received $4,862,280 from the World Bank for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
It is the first of four payments expected under the Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) with the World Bank which aims at encouraging member countries to implement activities to reduce carbon emission.
Ghana, one of 15 countries that have signed ERPAs with the World Bank, is implementing actions within a six-million-hectare stretch of forest, where biodiversity and forests are under pressure from cocoa farming and unsustainable harvesting, and small-scale mining.
According to a statement issued by the World Bank in Accra yesterday, Ghana received the funds from the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) for reducing 972,456 tons of carbon emissions for the first monitoring period which was between June to December 2019 under the programme.
Ghana, it said, thus become the second country in Africa after Mozambique to receive payments for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, commonly known as REDD+.
“This payment is the first of four under the country’s ERPA with the World Bank to demonstrate potential for leveraging results based payments for carbon credits,” Pierre Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone stated.
Subject to showing results from actions taken to reduce deforestation, he said, Ghana was eligible to receive up to $50 million for 10 million tons of carbon emissions reduced by the end of 2024.
On his part, Samuel A. Jinapor, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said, Ghana’s success was due to many years of dialogue, consultations, and negotiations with local communities, traditional authorities, government agencies, private sector, civil society and non-governmental groups.
He said the emission reductions payment would further promote confidence in Ghana’s REDD+ process for action to reduce deforestation and forest degradation while empowering local community livelihoods.
“The road to global 1.5 degrees cannot be achieved without healthy standing forests, and Ghana is committed to making it possible,” the Minister added.
Although Cocoa drives Ghana’s economy, it is also one of the main causes of deforestation and forest degradation in the southeast and western regions of the country.
In relation to the actions, the statement said, stakeholders were working to help some 140,000 Ghanaian farmers increase cocoa production using climate-smart agro-forestry approaches, rather than slash and burn land-clearing techniques that decimate forests.
“More sustainable cocoa farming helps avoid expansion of cocoa farms into forest lands and secures more predictable income streams for communities,” it stated.
Ghana’s Cocoa Board, it said, was participating in the REDD+ process, as well as some of the most important cocoa and chocolate companies in the world, including World Cocoa Foundation members like Mondelēz International, Olam, Touton, and others.
“Their combined actions are not only helping bring change to the cocoa sector, but they are also helping Ghana meet its national emissions reductions commitments under the Paris Agreement.
This level of collaboration is also reflected in the benefit sharing plan underpinning Ghana’s’ ERPA with the World Bank,” the statement added.
The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) is a global partnership of governments, businesses, civil society, and Indigenous Peoples’ organisations focused on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, forest carbon stock conservation, the sustainable management of forests, and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries, activities commonly referred to as REDD+.
Launched in 2008 the FCPF has worked with 47 developing countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean, along with 17 donors that have made contributions and commitments totaling $1.3 billion.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS