The government yesterday signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Emergent, a US non-profit organisation, under the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition at the ongoing COP 26 Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
The LoI indicates the potential for the country to enter into a purchase agreement with the LEAF Coalition Members for REDD+ results-based payments.
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.
It is a climate change mitigation solution being developed by parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Ghana believes that the LEAF Coalition initiative demonstrates ambition to provide near commensurate financial value for carbon emission reduction at $10 per tonne to incentivise further collective ambition to address the climate emergency with urgency.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor, who signed on behalf of the government of Ghana, noted that the climate crisis was getting worse by the day, as the world was gradually reaching a tipping point.
Other signitories are Brazilian Environment Minister, Mr. Gusatvo Manrique and Nepalese Minister of Finance, Mr. Madhu Marasini.
He said, required robust action and a concerted effort to reverse the negative trend, adding that “we cannot do this if we do not protect tropical forests, which are the ‘Lungs of the Earth’, absorbing the carbon dioxide we exhale and thereby contributing to the reduction in emissions”.
“Despite our knowledge of the importance of tropical forests, we continue to lose them at a very alarming rate. We are told that the world lost some estimated 10 million hectares (10,000,000ha) of primary tropical forest only last year. We cannot allow this to continue.
“But reversing this also requires that we raise the needed financing through public-private partnerships,” he said.
Mr. Jinapor noted that Ghana had begun an aggressive afforestation programme aimed at restoring its lost forest cover and was also embarking on efforts to reclaim its degraded lands.
He indicated that Ghana had declared June 11, each year as “Green Ghana Day”, on which all citizens and foreigners living in Ghana were encouraged to plant at least one tree each.
“This year, on Green Ghana Day, our President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is also co-Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Group of Eminent Advocates on the Sustainable Development Goals, led the country to plant seven million trees, far above the five million target we had set for ourselves.
“Next year, on Green Ghana Day, we aim to plant at least 20 million trees, and we are earnestly preparing towards this. Our goal is to inculcate in Ghanaians the culture of tree planting as a means of restoring our lost forest cover and contributing to the reduction in emissions,” he said.
Mr. Jinapor said one thing was very clear — that governments alone could not raise the finances needed to reverse the climate crisis, while the commitment by developed countries to raise $100 billion annually to support developing countries by 2020 had not materialised.
“This is why the LEAF Coalition is so crucial to our fight against climate change. The government of Ghana is willing to work with the coalition to invest in reduced deforestation, aggressive afforestation and sustainable rural development.
“Let me reiterate the fact that the commitment of President Akufo-Addo and his government to lead Ghana to contribute to the global effort to come to grips with the existential crisis of climate change is total and unwavering,” he said.