Ghana’s Forestry Commission and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) have agreed to speed up their collaboration on forest protection and restoration in cocoa communities.
The development means the WCF, representing cocoa and chocolate companies, and the Forestry Commission of Ghana (GFC) deepen their partnership to “further align the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Program (GCFRP) and the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to achieve no-deforestation commitments.”
A Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two bodies would see their respective personnel working together in six regions where the Ghanaian government has already made action prioritising forest protection and restoration.
Active engagement is said to have commenced in some Hotspot Intervention Areas namely Asunafo-Asutifi, Bia-Juaboso, Kakum and Sefwi-Bibiani landscapes.
A statement published to the World Cocoa Foundation website noted the move “is aligned with commitments spelled out in the Ghana framework for action signed in November 2017 for the landmark Cocoa & Forests Initiative, a unique partnership of 35 companies, governments and cocoa-growing communities.”
Deliverables on either side were clearly spelt out with the Forestry Commission charged to facilitate the development of strategic initiatives, collaborate on protocols for data collection and ensure stronger monitoring on social and environmental issues.
The WCF is also responsible for facilitating the coordination and convening the actions of the 35 cocoa and chocolate companies that have signed the Cocoa & Forests Initiative, as well as support monitoring and evaluation, innovation and private-public learning.
The Chief Executive of the Ghana Forestry Commission, John Allotey said, “this partnership represents a phenomenal collaboration with the private sector to ambitiously contribute to real and verifiable emission reductions in Ghana’s precious forest landscapes which are home to diverse forms of wildlife and also provide important livelihood options for rural dwellers. The GCFRP is already achieving significant impacts with inclusive governance arrangements and the GFC encourages other like-minded institutions to strategically partner with the program for visible impact at scale.”
“With our partner GFC, we aim to accelerate our journey towards forest positive cocoa,” said Richard Scobey, WCF President.
He added, “ending cocoa-related deforestation requires all stakeholders to work together. Today, WCF and cocoa and chocolate companies are strengthening our collaboration with the government of Ghana.”
The GFC and the Ghana Cocoa Board led in the design and development of the world’s first commodity-driven emission reductions program – the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Program (GCFRP).
The program is said to cover 5.9 million hectares of the cocoa-forest mosaic landscape. It is aimed at substantially reducing deforestation and forest degradation over a twenty-year period in a phased implementation approach by promoting climate-smart cocoa production, lower risk cocoa farming, landscape-level land-use planning, strategic tree tenure reforms and forest rehabilitation interventions.
The program is projected to significantly deliver enhancements in ecosystem resilience, increase in farmers’ yields, and generate multiple livelihood benefits underpinned by robust, transparent and inclusive governance structures.