-The Deputy-Minister for Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Benito Owusu Bio has launched the Engagement Principles for Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ programme, marking another milestone in the implementation of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme.
The Engagement Principles will guide how international companies work with national and local government, traditional authorities and local communities in cocoa production landscapes in the country to achieve their commitments towards deforestation-free supply chains.
The Engagement Principles are a core element of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP), the world’s first commodity-based emission reductions programme.
President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo on October 4, 2019 launched the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ programme (GCFRP) aimed at reducing carbon emission in the cocoa industry.
The objective of the GCFRP is to significantly reduce carbon emissions resulting from cocoa expansion into forest through the promotion of appropriate climate smart cocoa production approaches including intensification and yield enhancement.
The programme also seeks to curb illegal timber harvesting and mining while incorporating shade trees in cocoa systems and to build climate resilience for the cocoa sector in order to secure rural livelihoods and sustain national development
The GCFRP Engagement Principles are to provide guidance to all REDD+ partners, actors and stakeholders on how to engage with the GCFRP.
The guidance takes potential partners through a step-by-step process including different ways to engage, types of investment, communication, monitoring and evaluation requirements and process.
Using a climate-smart cocoa production strategy, the GCFRP aims to significantly reduce emissions driven by deforestation and forest degradation, whilst ensuring cocoa productivity and local livelihoods are improved.
Mr John Allotey, Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, hailed the launch of the Engagement Principles, saying it would help in the management of the programme in the six intervention areas.
“It is a complex landscape that depends on constant engagement at all levels of government and industry, across all stages of the supply chain and critically across all stakeholder groups in the community. We recognised a gap in the cocoa sector to aid and support engagement with the REDD+ programme, and today we have a way forward,” he said.
“The Forestry Commission manages six Hotspot Intervention Areas as part of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme.
“The Engagement Principles are an important milestone in the journey for companies” said Vincent Pratt of the World Cocoa Foundation, which represents eight private sector companies in the landscape.
“Companies have recognised that many issues can only be tackled at a landscape level, requiring a multi-layered multi-stakeholder process. We’re committed to ensuring our engagement, actions and investment decisions follow the needs of the landscape and the people who depend on it.”
“This is a big step change in the way that companies can engage with the REDD+ programme in Ghana,” said Abraham Baffoe, Africa Director of Proforest, which facilitated the development of the Engagement Principles.
Roselyn Fosuah Adjei, Director of the Climate Change Directorate and REDD+ Secretariat said the document spelt out the different entry points for engagement for the diverse stakeholders.
She urged Ghanaians to study the document and provide feedback on how to improve it and together solve the issues of forest degradation, adding that the programme is a collective invitation for action.