Safeguard Measures in the Redd Readiness Process
A National Consultation and Participatory Working Group has been constituted to incorporate the Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) into Ghana's Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) Readiness Preparatory Plan (R-PP). The group was formed in May 2010 following a series of stakeholder consultations held from mid-2009 to early-2010 to formulate the Ghana R-PP.
The consultations were held in stages. The first stage was organised by the REDD Secretariat at the Forestry Commission (FC) for representatives of major stakeholders including: government ministries, institutions and agencies; the timber industry and private sector; CSOs/NGOs; and the media. These were held in Accra, Cape Coast, Kumasi, Sunyani and Tamale.
According to Sule Adamu of the REDD Secretariat, a second stage of consultations was held to widen the scope of participation and collate more information to authenticate the final R-PP document. In December 2009, the Forestry Commission engaged Tropenbos International-Ghana and the HATOF Foundation to facilitate these consultations which focused on traditional authorities, forest-dependent communities, opinion leaders, women, farmers and youth groups. These consultations were held between January and March 2010 in Kumasi, Sunyani, Agona Nkwanta, Ho, Tamale and Bolgatanga.
During these consultations, the following major drivers of deforestation in the country were identified as priorities: agricultural practices, fuel and charcoal wood production, and illegal logging. Other drivers identified were institutional and policy-related, such as tree tenure and benefits-sharing, which "currently are a disincentive for farmers to keep mature trees or nurture young ones in their farms," according to the Chairman for the Working Group, Kwabena Nketiah, also a member of Ghana's Growing Forest Partnerships (GFP) team.
According to Nketiah, plans are now far advanced for further in-depth consultations to be held to develop strategies to address the drivers of deforestation identified in the earlier consultations. One of the proposed strategies is 'Cocoa Carbon', a mitigation measure which aims to address the issue of how to integrate trees with cocoa plantation and define optimum shade cover to increase yields.1 Relevant stakeholders to be consulted on this measure include: officials of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, COCOBOD, the Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG) and the Forest Research Institute of Ghana. They will develop policies and action plans to respond to context-specific needs of cocoa farmers. For instance, by addressing cocoa farmers' concern that retaining more trees on their farms results in low yields, which makes them reluctant to accept this agro-forestry method.
Nketiah said that the new consultations would begin as soon as funds are released and that Ghana is to benefit from an amount of 3.4 million USD under the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). According to Adamu, the Grant Agreement documents are ready for signing by the World Bank and the Ghanaian government, which will then release the funds.
The consultations will help formulate frameworks for environmental and social management, institutional and policy management, impact mitigation and benefit enhancement as well as participatory monitoring and evaluation. The SESA will also assess the extent to which Ghana's REDD strategy addresses the existing institutional, policy, legal, regulatory and capacity gaps to manage the previously-identified priorities. It will also examine the potential socio-economic impacts of the proposed adjustments, interventions and projects within the REDD strategy. Once the SESA is integrated into the REDD Strategy for implementation, Ghana's R-PP will be rolled out.
For Growing Forest Partnerships (GFP) in Ghana, the main interest is to ensure that once the next round of consultations starts, mitigation measures evolved will address the fears and concerns of all stakeholders particularly those at the grassroots. The Coordinator of GFP Ghana, Wale Adeleke, explained that once this was done, GFP Ghana will actively participate in the actual implementation process.