GHANA has become the third country in Africa to sign a landmark agreement with the World Bank that rewards community efforts to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Other countries that have signed the agreement include Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ghana’s five-year Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Carbon Fund, which is administered by the World Bank, unlocks performance-based payments of up to $50 million for carbon emission reductions from the forest and land use sectors.
In Ghana, forest degradation and deforestation are driven primarily by cocoa farm expansion, coupled with logging and a recent increase in illegal mining.
Working in close partnership with the Forestry Commission, Cocoa Board, and the private sector, Ghana’s programme with the FCPF Carbon Fund seeks to reduce carbon emissions through the promotion of climate-smart cocoa production.
‘The programme’s two central goals – reducing carbon emissions in the forestry sector and producing truly sustainable, climate-smart cocoa beans – make it unique in Africa and the first of its kind in the cocoa and forest sectors worldwide,’ said Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, chief executive of Ghana’s Forestry Commission.
‘This programme is helping to secure the future of Ghana’s forests while enhancing income and livelihood opportunities for farmers and forest-dependent communities,’ Afriyie added.
In Ghana’s ERPA, the FCPF Carbon Fund commits to making initial results-based payments for reductions of 10 million tons of CO2 emissions (up to $50 million).
Ghana’s ERPA also specifies on carbon emission baselines, price per ton of avoided CO2 emissions, and a benefit-sharing mechanism that has been prepared based on extensive consultations with local stakeholders and civil society organisations throughout the country.
‘It’s exciting to see the level of stakeholder engagement Ghana has been able to achieve with its emission reduction programme, particularly with the private sector. Some of the most important cocoa and chocolate companies in the world, including World Cocoa Foundation members such as Mondelēz International, Olam, Touton and others, as well as Ghana’s Cocoa Board have committed to participating in the programme,’ says Pierre Frank Laporte, the World Bank country director for Ghana.