Ghana developing National Forest Monitoring System

The Forestry Commission (FC) is developing a comprehensive National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) to serve as a forest landscape safeguard tool, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Jinapor, has said.

He said the system, which would have both a human and remote sensing component, would monitor timber or wood products and other commodity extraction and transactions in Ghana.

Mr Jinaporrevealed this when he took his turn at the Forest, Agriculture, and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue, held as part of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

The dialogue, hosted by the COP26 Presidency, aims to agree on collaborative action and a shared roadmap on sustainable land use and international trade, to protect forests while promoting development and trade. 

Mr Jinapor said the NFMS would be linked to the Cocoa Management System being developed by the Ghana Cocoa Board, to have a full database of farm locations and farmers, to channel the needed support appropriately.

According to Mr Jinapor, who is also Member of Parliament of Damongo, it would help collate the right numbers in making provision for farmer resource allocation such as the Living Income Differential.

“These systems when fully functional will be useful tools for industry and government and be vehicles for accountability for different initiatives such as the REDD+ mechanism and the Cocoa and Forests Initiative,” he said.

Mr Jinaporsaid the systems would consolidate efforts already in place, including the implementation of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) process where the country was tracking wood and wood products through the Ghana Wood Tracking System backed by a Legality Assurance System to reduce and ultimately eliminate illegal logging.

On behalf of Ghana, he endorsed the FACT Roadmap actions on Traceability and Transparency, explaining that without robust, transparent, and accountable traceability systems to track transactions in supply chains, smallholder farmers may not receive the best value for their farm produce.

Mr Jinaporsaid companies could not vouch or guarantee green and sustainable supply chains in their trade and market engagements while forests could still be destroyed at the expense of agricultural production.

Beyond COP26, hesaid, Ghana was expecting deeper engagement in the FACT Dialogue and the implementation of the Roadmap Actions through public-private engagements.

“The value of collective action has been heard on multiple platforms at this COP26, and same is needed in delivering on the FACT Agenda,”Mr Jinaporsaid.

FROM JONATHAN DONKOR, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND (COURTESY EPA)

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