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Regional News of Friday, 20 November 2015

Source: GNA

National REDD+ Secretariat holds consultative meeting

The National REDD+ Secretariat of the Forestry Commission has organised a high-level consultative meeting for its Ambassadors in Accra.

REDD+ stands for countries' efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

The meeting was to engage the key stakeholder groups, who would serve as Ambassadors for Ghana's Emission Reduction Programme.

The event brought together representatives from farmer groups, financial institutions, creative industry, private sector and traditional authorities.

In Ghana, the main drivers of emissions include mining, logging, agriculture, wildfire, firewood/charcoal and settlements.

The Ambassadors are expected to "Sell" the REDD+ mechanism to their peers, emphasizing on the need to adopt climate smart agricultural practices in their bid to combat climate change, while enhancing their farming activities.

Currently, Ghana has a 5.9 million hectares high forest Eco-zone, with cocoa production zones taking 1.8 million hectares.

The deforestation rate in the country stands at 135,000 hectares annually, culminating in the country's forest reduction to 1.6 million hectares from 8.2 million at the turn of the century.

Making a case for the ambassadors to champion the cause of REDD+ in Ghana, The Head of the Climate Unit of the Forestry Commission, Mr Yaw Kyei, said "REDD+ provided an opportunity to mitigate climate change and make the country's land-use sector more resilient.

Dr Rebecca Ashley Asare, an Environmental Management Specialist, said Africa's contribution to the global emission figures, though small, the continent was likely to experience some of the worst effects because of poverty.

"Mitigation and adaptation measures are needed and forests can play an important role," she said.

Dr Asare said Climate Smart Agriculture, which puts premium on balancing environmental sustainability with environmentally friendly farming techniques, and REDD+ were key approaches which could contribute to addressing climate change threats.

Meanwhile, the National REDD+ Secretariat will launch the first ever "REDD Eye" campaign to create awareness among the youth, on the need to plant and nurture trees as one of the ways to mitigate climate change.

The Secretariat would also organize the maiden REDD+ forum on the theme "Conserving Our Forest for Better Lives and Better Climate" to climax activities aimed at sensitizing the populace and their support for the REDD+ mechanism to put Ghana on a climate resilient path.

Climate change is a worldwide phenomenon which negatively impact on human lives and analysts say all the drivers of climate change are caused by human activities.

There have been several attempts to arrest climate change and its adverse effects worldwide, but REDD+ has been recognised as an activity, whose successful implementation would help reduce the devastating impacts of climate change.