The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved a USD54.5 million project facility to address the alarming deforestation and forest degradation challenges in the Northern Savannah Zone of Ghana.
The facility would also upscale investments in the shea value chain and enhance women’s empowerment.
The “Ghana Shea Landscape Emission Reductions Project, “was approved at the ongoing GCF’s 26th virtual Board Meeting.
It would be implemented by the Forestry Commission (FC) of Ghana with technical support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with multiple national and local institutions, civil society organizations and private sector actors.
The project had leveraged vertical funds, with USD 30,100,000 grant from the GCF, about USD 15 million funding from the Government of Ghana and mobilized about USD 9 million impact investments from the private sector in the shea value chain.
Mr. John M. Allotey, Chief Executive Officer, Forestry Commission, said, ‘’I welcome this great milestone in Ghana’s Forestry Sector in the deployment of programmes and projects that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, build ecosystem resilience and also enhance the lives of communities that nurture the forests.”
Mr. Allotey said the project would contribution immensely to Ghana’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the implementation of the Ghana National REDD Strategy.
He expressed FC’s appreciation to stakeholders in “this victory” particularly, the UNDP, and the Ministry of Finance, which was the National Designated Authority (NDA) for the GCF.
The project’s outcomes included the restoration of 200,000 hectares of off-reserve savanna forest and 300,000 hectares of degraded shea parklands as well as the establishment of 25,500 hectares of forest plantations in severely degraded forest reserves.
An estimated six million CO2 emission would be removed or reduced over the first seven years of the project’s lifetime and 25.24 million CO2 over 20 years.
On her part, Ms. Roselyn Fosuah Adjei, Director of Climate Change and National REDD Focal Point, Forestry Commission, said the Shea landscapes were important sources of carbon storage and sequestration and these provided essential products and ecological services.
She said the project would help in restoring degraded landscapes and contribute to building a resilient economy that was capable of withstanding shocks without putting Ghana’s development agenda in jeopardy.
Ms. Adjei added that the impressive result could not had been achieved without the support provided by the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) for the elaboration of the project proposal through the Global Italian initiative On REDD National Implementation (GIORNI).
Among other benefits, the Ghana Shea Landscape Emission Reductions Project would enhance revenue generation for women and strengthen the livelihoods of over 500,000 people in Northern Ghana.
The Global Shea Alliance (GSA), a non-profit industry association with 500 members from 35 countries, would be a key partner in project implementation.
Simballa Sylla, GSA President said: “This is a historic and defining moment for the shea industry in Ghana. The newly approved project will not only contribute to protecting rural communities from climate change consequences.
” It will ensure that livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Ghanaian families are improved, and that the shea industry is supported in its growth.”
Silke Hollander, Deputy Resident Representative for UNDP in Ghana, said, “We are particularly happy with the approval from the GCF Board because of how critical this project is in reducing emissions, the expected value additions in the utilization of forest resources and contributions to livelihood improvement especially for women”.
The project was aligned with the main climate change and forestry related policies, strategies and plans of Ghana as highlighted by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during the National REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Forum held recently in Accra, as having “the potential to transform the Northern Savanna ecosystem of Ghana with the right implementation and enforcement structures”.