Ecuador and Ghana participated in a South-South Knowledge Exchange that took place from Sept 24- 28, 2018 to share experiences and build capacity in terms of understanding REDD+ implementation, leveraging investment, and greening domestic investments for REDD+.
The exchange was part of the Global Italian Initiative on REDD+ National Implementation (GIORNI) between UNDP and the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS). The knowledge exchange, which took place in Ecuador, included the participation of high-level government officials from Ghana including: CEO, Forestry Commission; Executive Director, Cocoa Health & Extension Division, Ghana Cocoa Board; Director of the Climate Change Directorate at Forestry Commission and REDD+ Coordinator; Director Tropenbos Ghana and UNDP officials.
At the conclusion of the exchange, the Governments of Ghana and Ecuador signed an Aide Memoire (agreement) in Quito, expressing interest in continued cooperation on environmental protection, with a focus on forestry development. The cooperation between the two countries will be centred on REDD+, therefore linking the protection of forests with the fight against climate change.
To operationalize its REDD+ Strategy (completed in 2016) and the implementation of other Warsaw Framework elements, Ghana is embarking on a number of strategic programmes and initiatives, including the development of a Green Climate Change Proposal for the Northern Savannah of Ghana and the development of a Ghana REDD+ Investment Plan (GRIP), which is supported by the Government of Italy through the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea. Ghana has also put in place an institutional infrastructure to implement REDD+, and has already started accessing global funds such as the Carbon Fund to finance its various Emission Reduction Programmes.
Ecuador, on the other hand, is a global leader in REDD+ implementation and has completed the implementation of the elements of the Warsaw Framework for Results-Based Payments/Results-Based Financing. Recently, it became the first country to receive REDD+ investment finance from the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Through these efforts, Ecuador is reducing its impact on climate change as outlined in the Paris Agreement and is demonstrating tangible progresses towards commitments under the New York Declaration on Forests.
Some of the key lessons learned from the recent knowledge exchange included: i) The importance of strengthening the capacities of subnational institutions through different mechanisms to clarify concepts and build awareness and comprehension of REDD+ processes; ii) Community Forest Management - engagement of local communities, local governments and civil society, which promotes and facilitates the implementation of REDD+ activities; iii) Fostering a common understanding of REDD+ among the sectorial ministries that are involved in the implementation of REDD+ given that inter-institutional coordination is fundamental and requires permanent dialogues; iv) Gender and safeguards cross-cutting elements that are integrated in the national REDD+ strategy or action plan, as well as to sectorial plans determined to support REDD+ implementation.
The lessons and experiences gained from Ecuador will be further digested to adapt to the context, traditions and viable options in Ghana to create a knowledge base and forge a strategic direction for accessing Results-Based Payments.
The Aide Memoire highlights key activities that will facilitate the learning and exchange of best practices between Ecuador and Ghana on agroforestry. It will also encourage the joint exploration of public-private partnerships and setting up agreements with international corporations involved in commodities supply chains (i.e. cocoa, palm oil, coffee). UNDP will facilitate these partnerships and serve as the broker in the transfer of knowledge, expertise, products, services and resources. An MOU will be signed by the two countries at the COP24 in Poland during a GIORNI event promoted by IMELS aimed at bolstering the capacities of Ecuador and Ghana on REDD+ implementation.