There are indications that the country could be benefitting from an eight million Cedi (GHC8 million) monetary support from the Embassy of Switzerland for the implementation of anti-deforestation initiatives in Ghana.
The support would partly fund seven pilot schemes designed to identify, and propose solutions to the main drivers of deforestation across the various ecological zones of Ghana, Robert Bamfo, Head of Forests and Climate Change at Ghana's Forestry Commission (FC), confirmed in an interview on Tuesday.
He also confirmed that the Swiss Embassy's support is worth four million Swiss Francs (a bit more than $4 million or around GHC8 million) and would go to support, on a larger scale, the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (or REDD+) initiative in Ghana.
Ghana has six ecological zones, with each of them thought to contend with peculiar drivers of deforestation. The six zones are Sudan Savannah, Guinea Savannah, Forest Savannah Transition, Semi-Deciduous Rainforest, High Rainforest and Coastal Savannah.
At the national level, authorities are aware of some anti-deforestation strategic options for addressing the drivers of the menace and would be looking forward that managers of the pilots would test some of these strategies at the sub-national level, Mr Bamfo indicated.
The FC official's submissions corroborate the contents of minutes from the meeting of the 12th National REDD Working Group, in which the proposed funding was mentioned. Further indications from that July 10, 2012 meeting were that the amount would be disbursed in two tranches with the first tranche of about 400,000 Swiss Francs being channelled through International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) as a fast track approach.
This sum would be used to conduct a scoping of the kinds of activities in Ghana in order to have an idea of what can be funded. The scoping report would include details and budgets of ongoing activities.
"It was clear at the meeting that there was a dark cloud around the appropriate procedure that had to be adopted for the ITTO submission process. To ensure that the appropriate process is followed and prevent the country from losing any money that this proposal can bring, the REDD+ secretariat was tasked to follow up, check and update the National REDD+ Working Group," a portion of the minutes read.
The concept of REDD+ says that Climate Change and rural poverty could be simultaneously addressed while conserving biodiversity and sustaining vital ecosystem services.
The Government, through the FC launched the country's REDD+ process in April 2012, heralding the REDD+ Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) implementation, funded by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).
The R-PP aims to assist Ghana to prepare itself for REDD, in order to become 'ready' for the implementation of a full-scale international mechanism for REDD+, where Ghana can trade at the emerging global carbon market.
The proposal has three steps towards "readiness". These are Analysis, Preparation and Consultation, Piloting and Testing, and Becoming Ready.
Ghana is currently at the second stage, and according to the FC, there has already been a training workshop for all 17 pilot project proponents, seven of which have been selected for the pilot implementation.
However, signals from the selected pilot project developers have been that they have funding challenges and so the FC would be following up on the Swiss grant to determine the possibility of advancing a part of the grant to assist the pilot project implementers.
Notwithstanding, any funding advanced from the Swiss grant would be a loan to the pilot implementers and not a grant. Similarly, any scale-up funding needed must be undertaken by the implementing organisations themselves.