Forestry Stakeholders Meet Over Global Climate Change
A two-day workshop on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, has been held in Accra.
The workshop is to sensitise stakeholders in forest management on a range of issues related to REDD and to ensure their involvement in designing a REDD readiness plan for the country.
It is to enable countries, particularly those from the third world, to benefit from the Carbon Fund established by the World Bank to compensate countries that are ready to reduce carbon emissions.
REDD is an initiative of developing countries to combat the effect of global climate change.
Climate change is defined as the change in climate as a result of the direct or indirect human activity that alters the composition of the global climate variability over a period of time.
It is organised by the Forestry Commission with sponsorship from the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Participants are drawn from state agencies, non governmental organisa-tions, traditional rulers, the World Bank and representatives from Ghana and Liberia governments.
In his welcome address, the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey, described the workshop as timely as it would set the tone for the United Nations Climate Change Talks to be held in Accra next week for the third session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long term Cooperative Action.
He said the REDD workshop would consider policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Other issues considered at the workshop included the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
Prof. Kotey said the readiness plan to be developed from the workshop will lead the formation of the national REDD strategy for the country.
According to him, greenhouse gas emission from deforestation in developing countries "today contributes approximately 20 per cent of the world's CO2 emissions."
He said as a result of human activities in forest areas, large scale deforestation and forest degradation has been occurring in the country for several decades "in spite of policy measures to combat deforestation.
Prof. Kotey, therefore, suggested that aside the objective of climate change, the policy approaches and incentive programmes to reduce CO2 "should recognise the rights and roles of the forest-dependent rural communities in order to ensure the sustainability of REDD implementation."
The Programme Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Antwi-Boasiako Amoah, said a study to assess vulnerability of the country from 1990 to 2000, showed a decline in soil fertility and increase desertification as a result of human activities.
He said there was also an increase in the rise of sea level leading to the submersion of coastal communities.
Mr. Amoah said the effects of climate change will also lead to loss of agricultural production thus affecting the income level of the people, rise in malaria cases due to flooding and other water related diseases.
Consuelo Espinosa, an IUCN representative at the workshop, said, in all 20 countries are to benefit from the $200 million fund.
She said so far, 14 of them have applied to access the facility including six from Africa. Ghana and Liberia are among these six countries.