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Business News of Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Source: graphic.com

Ghana secures $50 million to replenish

Ghana is receiving $50 million from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank to replenish the country's depleted forests under the REDD+ programme.

The programme, which also comes under the Forest Investment Project (FIP), is to be implemented in seven pilot areas: five in the Western Region and two in the Ashanti Region.

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is a programme which offers incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from forests.

Currently, the Forestry Commission, according to the Head of the Climate Change Unit, Mr Robert Kofi Bamfo, was implementing projects to restock some forests in the Ashanti and Eastern regions.

Speaking in an interview in Lima, Peru, Mr Bamfo, who is also the Head of the REDD+ secretariat, stated that the $50 million had already been approved and would be accessed as the project progressed.

Current figures from the Forestry Commission indicate that the country is losing two per cent of its forest cover of 8.2million hectares annually.

"That is a lot, so Ghana as a country felt that we should embark on this international project, REDD+ in order to restore, protect, and conserve our forests", Mr Bamfo stated.

Ghana's $50 million support is part of a $602 million Forest Investment Programme (FIP), a funding window of $7.6 billion.

The FIP, supports the efforts of developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation to promote sustainable forest management.

It also aims at enhancing forest carbon stocks, an objective of the REDD+ programme.

The FIP is active in eight pilot countries.

According to Mr Bamfo, Ghana had made enormous strides in its effort to implement aspects of the REDD+ programme which started in 2008.

At the initial stages, he said, the country had to prepare a REDD+ readiness project idea notes which it submitted to the FCPF.

"This document was defended at the World Bank after which $3.4 million was released for the implementation of the proposal.

"Now, the necessary structures and institutional arrangements, including the establishment of a National REDD working group chaired by the Deputy Minister of Lands and Forestry are in place", Mr Bamfo said.

Presently, we are also expecting an additional funding of $5.2 million to continue with the work, he added.

Further checks with the CIF website indicate that the pilot projects in the Western and Brong Ahafo regions will benefit at least 12,000 people with women representing about half of the targeted population.

"Furthermore, the project is expected to indirectly benefit 175,000 people, which is five per cent of the population in the two regions", the website report stated.

It said direct beneficiaries would be supported with capacity building inputs such as seeds, equipment, and financial incentives through benefit-sharing agreements to develop forestry, agroforestry and alternate livelihood activities.