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General News of Thursday, 5 August 2010

Source: GNA

Ghana to benefit from Global Warming strategies

Hohoe, 5 Aug, GNA - Communities in and around forest Zones in Ghana may witness progress as the world scrambles to adopt reliable methods to fight the growing threat of climate change.

The country is on the verge of receiving up to 75 million dollars from international donors to lay the ground work for new forest friendly strategies designed to slow global warming.

Invariably, some long standing challenges in the forest sector needed to be addressed urgently to avoid this exciting possibility becoming another missed opportunity.

This is contained in a statement released by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), authored in Accra by The Forests Dialogue (TFD) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

It said the failure, last December to reach a binding international agreement for curbing emissions of greenhouse gases, had one silver lining including conditions necessary to begin conserving and restoring tropical forests, as a key contribution to combating climate change.

The statement said that this paves the way for tropical countries to receive payments in return for safeguarding their forest resources thereby preventing additional emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

It said "This mechanism is commonly known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD)".

Mr Robert Bamfo, Head of Ghana's Forestry Commission's Climate Change Unit, indicated that the nation has been at the forefront of REDD movement and among tropical countries to be awarded significant financial support to help conserve, manage and restore the forests.

He said that despite initial progress, if REDD in Ghana would fully deliver, it would be necessary to work through well-understood challenges in Ghana's forest sector that have proven resistant to change.

Mrs Emelia Arthur, Shama District Chief Executive, called for strategies to address forest governance reforms that protects and advance community rights including clarifying land and tree tenure issues.

She advocated investment in information flow to local communities and district authorities on what actually REDD entails.

Professor James Mayers, Head of the Natural Resources Group at the IIED, called for contractual certainty between those whose actions safeguard trees, the carbon they contain and those who are willing to pay for avoided emissions.

"This means that there is a pressing need to clarify and secure, once and for all, rights that communities, farmers and land-owners have with respect to naturally grown and planted trees in Ghana", he said.

Dr. Stewart Maginnins, Director of Environment and Development at IUCN, said that Ghana has the unique opportunity to take a lead in this matter, learning from its previous successes and shortcomings of forest-based revenue distribution.

He said that the success of REDD ultimately hinges on whether sufficient funds flow to those who rely on forests to sustain their livelihoods, "yet many REDD candidate nations have not even started to contemplate what constitutes a fair and efficient distributional mechanism."

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