Business News of Thursday, 13 December 2012

Source: Daily Guide

$50m For Forest Investment

The World Bank has approved Ghana’s Forest Investment Programme to pave way for the accessing of a $50 million package from the climate investment funds to implement strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A statement issued by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), the lead National Implementing Agency for the Forest Investment Programme (FIP) in Ghana, said the facility would roll out a number of projects targeted at reducing pressure on the natural forest through integrated landscape approach.

The Climate Investment fund, the statement said, would facilitate government’s efforts to effectively engage local communities in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degraded (REDD+), enhance carbon stocks as well as enlist the active involvement of the private sector in reducing the afore-mentioned emissions.

Endorsement for Ghana’s Programme Investment Programme was given at the just-ended Climate Investment Funds 2012 Partnership Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, where similar packages were approved for two countries namely Burkina Faso and Indonesia.

Musa Abu Juam, Technical Director for Forestry at the Ministry, who represented Ghana at the meeting, made the revelation during an interaction with media personnel.

The Forum, held under the theme, “Deepening Global Understanding of Linkages Between Climate Change and Development” brought together over 400 representatives worldwide from government, civil society and private sector, among others.

Efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions have hitherto been bedevilled by numerous problems including insufficient incentives to conserve or plant trees in off-reserve areas, illegal chain saw milling menace and the illegal harvesting of trees as a result of poor management of forest reserves.

Imbalances in domestic timber demand and supply, rapid extension of cocoa farms, especially the shift from shaded to open cocoa farming as well as poor inter-sectoral co-ordination to address cross-sectoral issues are some of the challenges confronting the implementation of REDD+ programmes in Ghana.

Abu Juam, who was delighted at the approval for the $50m facility, explained that the facility will help strengthen institutional capacity in forest resources management, expand and diversify management options, improve governance as well as enhance regulatory framework to streamline tenure and tree rights.

According to the Technical Director, the funds will also assist the country to address holistically the alarming decline in the nation’s forest stock which he attributed to the colossal increase in demand for timber, inappropriate regulatory mechanisms resulting from weak institutional capacity and the growing demand for agricultural land.

He intimated that the FIP will not only improve local livelihoods and support mitigation and adaptation to climate change but will also help maximize the social, cultural, religious and recreational benefits derive by local communities from the nation’s forest resources.

The Technical Director noted that other contributory factors to forest degradation including existing arrangement for land ownership and administration, especially tree ownership and user rights would also be addressed under the FIP programme.