Jonas Claes (right), Deputy EU Ambassador to Ghana, being supported by Nene Lartey Wayo III, the Mankralo of the Shai-Osudoku traditional area, to plant a tree to mark the Green Ghana Day
Jonas Claes (right), Deputy EU Ambassador to Ghana, being supported by Nene Lartey Wayo III, the Mankralo of the Shai-Osudoku traditional area, to plant a tree to mark the Green Ghana Day

Protect environment to consolidate Green Ghana gains — EU Ambassador

The Deputy European Union (EU) Ambassador to Ghana, Jonas Claes, has called on Ghanaians to protect the environment to help consolidate the gains of the Green Ghana Day initiative.  

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He said practices such as deforestation, illegal logging and illegal mining were some of the human activities that could erode the gains so far made in the country's reforestation and afforestation programmes, if not checked.

“Forests are essential to mitigate climate change and environmental degradation; they restore essential biodiversity, provide us with clean air and protect essential resources for local communities,” Mr Claes emphasised.

The deputy ambassador made the call at the Chipa Forest Reserve, near Shai Hills in the Greater Accra Region, where the EU, World Vision Ghana (WVG) and other partners planted over 1,000 trees to mark the Green Ghana Day.

The exercise brought together some government representatives, including the Forestry Commission, traditional leaders, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), partner institutions, as well as the people of local communities in the Shai-Osudoku District in the region.

It was supported by a consortium of organisations — Rainforest Alliance, Tropenbos Ghana (TBG) and EcoCare Ghana. This year’s Green Ghana Day was on the theme: “Growing for a Greener Tomorrow”. The event was in line with the EU’s continuous efforts on reforestation, environmental protection and preservation of Ghana’s natural heritage.

He explained that the EU’s action on reforestation in Ghana went beyond planting trees to mark the Green Day, stressing that under the EU-funded Regreening Africa and Landscapes and Environmental Agility across the Nation (LEAN) projects, more than 1.1 million tree seedlings had so far been planted in the country.

Mr Claes said the EU was actively supporting the country in preserving and protecting its environment, restoring the lost forest cover and contributing to the global effort to mitigate climate change.

“For this support, the EU continues to partner with the Government of Ghana, businesses and NGOs. Specifically fighting against deforestation, illegal logging and illegal mining, the EU supports various projects and interventions, including the LEAN project", he stated.

The deputy EU Ambassador revealed that a total of 962,696 tree seedlings had been distributed and planted by community members in the past three years of the project, while 270 beneficiaries had been supported with additional livelihood schemes to diversify their income streams.   
 

Flagship programme

The Project Manager of WVG, Edward Anaba Akunyagra, said the “Regreening Africa project, a flagship programme aimed at restoring degraded landscapes, enhancing biodiversity, and improving livelihoods across Africa, is to be eligible for technical and financial support from the United Nations.”

The Regreening Africa project, Mr Akunyagra further explained, aimed at reversing land degradation among 500,000 households and across one million hectares in eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana, by incorporating trees into croplands, communal lands and pastoral areas.

He stated that the proven implementation approach adopted by the project earned its recognition by the UN as one of the seven initiatives from across the globe described as the “world’s most successful examples of healing the planet.”

This project, Mr Akunyagra said, “was not just about planting trees; it was about transforming lives, revitalising ecosystems, and combating climate change. It's about creating a greener, more resilient Ghana, where our youth and children can thrive.”

He said the project also resonated deeply with “our commitment to protecting our environment and ensuring a sustainable future.”

Achievements 

Touching on the achievements of the project, he said 11,920 lead farmers and fire stewards had been trained in Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) and bushfire management in Bawku West, Garu-Tempane and Mion districts in the Upper East and Northern regions.

Furthermore, Mr Akunyagra said over 200,000 seedlings were planted cumulatively over the last five years in the three districts, while functional environmental governance systems and structures at community and district levels had been established to monitor the judicious use of natural resources.

“Seventeen thousand five hundred and fifty-five farmers benefited from compost making and other conservation agricultural practices training in the project operations and 44,542 households took up promoted Regreening such as tree planting, FMNR, nursery management and tree care practices”, he stated.

The project manager added that 50,656 hectares of land had been kept under restoration.

Other speakers at the event were the District Chief Executive for Shai-Osudoku, Fred Offei, and the District Manager, Tema-Ada Forest District of the Forest Services Division, Forestry Commission, Winnifred Ohene-Wiafe.

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