Ghana’s vision for REDD+ is to significantly reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and to enhance carbon stocks through sustainable forest management and forest restoration over the next 20 years. The country also aims to address threats undermining ecosystem services and environmental integrity. By doing so, REDD+ will become a pillar of action for the national climate change agenda and a leading pathway towards sustainable, low emissions development.
A significant step towards this vision was accomplished in Ghana’s recent partnership with Mondelēz International, an American multinational that will contribute $5 million USD over five years to the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Program. This program will significantly reduce the high rate of deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the associated carbon emissions, from cocoa farming within Ghana's High Forest Zone. The Forestry Commission of Ghana and the Ghana Cocoa Board finalized the deal with Mondelez earlier this year to protect forests in Ghana. The program will focus on mapping all land uses, including cocoa farms; implementing climate smart cocoa practices to increase yields and sustainability; improving access to finance to foster good practices by farmers and communities; initiating legislative and policy reform to support program execution and coordination; and measuring, reporting and verifying.
As one of the largest cocoa-producing countries, Ghana supplies about 20 percent of the world's cocoa; however, it has one of the highest deforestation rates in Africa at 3.2 percent per year. This is primarily due to the unsustainable expansion of cocoa and other agricultural crops. Ghana’s National REDD+ Strategy, launched in November 2016, identifies a set of strategic options for addressing the direct and indirect drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, with an initial focus on the High Forest Zone. There are plans to scale up to cover the country’s other major ecological zones, such as the Savanna Zone. The proposed measures and interventions are linked with the production and supply chains of major commodities and defined by clear ecological boundaries.
Most recently, Ghana submitted a proposal to the Green Climate Fund intended to support the effective implementation of specific policies and measures (PAMs) identified in Ghana’s National REDD+ Strategy. The proposed project aims to implement an emission reductions program for the shea landscape of the Northern Savanna Woodland (The Shea Savanna Woodland Programme), while at the same time addressing Ghana’s policy and legislative reforms on tree tenure and carbon rights (The Policy and Legislative Reform Programme). This will complement financing being sought to improve land-use and socio-economic development in the cocoa growing areas of the High Forest Zone. Funding has also been secured for the Ghana Emissions Reductions Programme for the Cocoa Forest Mosaic Landscape, and that project is expected to begin this year with funding from the World Bank’s Carbon Fund.