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General News of Thursday, 28 April 2011

Source: GNA

Industry players call for focus in forest management

Akyawkrom (Ash), April 28, GNA - Participants at a workshop that sought to define the different roles of stakeholders in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) have underlined the need for a clear focus in the management of forest resources.

They said it was important to look for efficient and effective ways of protecting the forest resources instead of relying on REDD whose future is not yet known.

The workshop, which was organized by Tropenbos International Ghana, a forest conservation NGO in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), was designed to share information on REDD and to strengthen stakeholder involvement in its implementation.

REDD is an initiative of the world's industrialized nations to reduce emissions caused by forest degradation and deforestation. It aims at offering significant financial resources to compensate developing countries that initiate measures to conserve their forest cover, promote sustainable management of the forest resources and thereby enhance their forest carbon stock. The implementation of REDD on a global scale is expected to begin in 2013 but the industrialized nations are yet to make any firm commitment on the amount of money the participating developing countries would receive in compensation. Again, issues such as the benefit sharing, exploitation of timber resources under REDD, the scope of REDD in terms of activities that would be beneficial for developing countries among other challenges, have not been addressed.

The participants came from civil society organizations, government agencies in forest and agricultural sectors, NGOs, academia and research institutions, tree growers, land owners and timber industry players.

They argued that even though REDD promised to be an important initiative, Ghana should not rely on it since one could not tell whether the funds would come or not. Mr Yaw Kwakye, Manager, Climate Change Unit of the Forestry Commission, mentioned some of the challenges likely to affect its implementation as land and tree tenure, codification of carbon property rights as well as ineffective coordination among REDD related initiatives to ensure synergy and cost efficiency. Mr Daniel Benefor of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said if well implemented REDD would provide a net incentive to people who depended on the forest resources for livelihood. It would also provide the platform to set out the issue of rural enterprises development.

Ms Saadia Bobtoya, REDD Project Officer at IUCN, said it could combine forest based actions to reduce poverty in forest fringe communities and called for the development of strategies that would build on best practices in the forest sector. 28 April 11

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