Ghana yesterday joined nine other African countries to sign the Africa Sustainable Commodities Initiative (ASCI) declaration to promote the sustainable production of palm oil, cocoa, coffee, rubber and other tree crops, as part of COP27 currently underway in Egypt.
The other countries are Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Cote D’Ivorie, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Gabon, Liberia, Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone, account for 25 per cent of the world’s tropical forest and 75 per cent of Africa’s forests.
The ASCI is a set of principles, which is aimed at promoting the responsible production of agricultural commodities in Africa, protecting forests, good governance and transparency, while ensuring social benefits for farmers, communities, indigenous peoples and their human rights.
Ministers from the ten countries attending the COP27 signed the agreement for their respective countries, at the Ghana Pavilion at the ongoing COP27, the Global and Africa Director of Proforest, Mr Abraham Baffoe said in a statement issued by his organization yesterday.
He said Proforest was a global mission-driven organisation, focused on the production base and supply chains of agricultural and forestry commodities including palm oil, cocoa, coconut, rubber and timber.
Mr Baffoe said the ASCI “Builds and expand upon principles agreed at COP22 in 2016 for the palm oil sector known as the Marrakesh Declaration for Sustainable Development of the Palm Oil sector, which acknowledged the role of agricultural commodity development as a driver of deforestation, while emphasising the critical role of forests and forest conservation in addressing climate change.”
Mr Baffoe said the Marrakesh Declaration had been implemented through the African Palm Oil Initiative, an initiative of the Tropical Forest Alliance, which was facilitated by Proforest, and would be supporting the ASCI.
“From COP22 in 2016, when the Marrakesh Declaration was signed, we saw huge progress in COP26 in 2021 where every country demonstrated crucial milestone to achieve the sustainable development of palm oil,” he said.
The Global and Africa Director of Proforest indicated that the launch of the ASCI was important as all stakeholders were engaged in the national, regional and local level through the development of the principles to promote the sustainable production of palm oil.
“We need the guardians of the forests – national governments and local communities – to own and lead solutions on the ground that integrate agricultural commodity production and local livelihoods with forest protection,” Mr Baffoe, said.
He said protecting the rights of farmers and protecting the environment would further help drive investments to the palm oil and other tree crop sectors.
Mr Baffoe said the governments had recognised the potential for growth in production of palm oil, cocoa and other agricultural commodities to meet increasing global demand, and to contribute to food security and better livelihoods for millions of Africans, while protecting the region’s remaining rain forests.
He said the diversification of food and production also provided resilience and improve food security as well as helping to offset the impact of climate change.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE