Ghana has announced a new partnership with major cocoa and chocolate companies to accelerate collaboration to protect and restore forests in the country’s cocoa-growing areas.
Under the new agreement, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and the Forestry Commission of Ghana (GFC) plan to build a partnership to further align the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Program (GCFRP) and the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to achieve no deforestation commitments.
The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by GFC and WCF, commits the parties to working together in six regions where the government of Ghana has made action to protect and restore forests a priority.
‘Hotspot Intervention Areas’
Work has already started in so-called ‘Hotspot Intervention Areas’ in the Asunafo-Asutifi, Bia-Juaboso, Kakum and Sefwi-Bibiani landscapes.
The new arrangement 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.
As part of the Memorandum of Understanding, GFC will facilitate the development of strategic initiatives, collaborate on protocols for data collection and ensure stronger monitoring on social and environmental issues. WCF is responsible for facilitating the coordination and convening the actions of the 35 cocoa and chocolate companies that have signed the Cocoa & Forests Initiative.
The WCF will also support monitoring and evaluation, innovation and private-public learning.
“With our partner GFC, we aim to accelerate our journey towards forest positive cocoa,” said Richard Scobey, WCF’s President. “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.”
In 2020, cocoa and chocolate companies announced major strides towards 2022 Cocoa & Forests Initiative targets with, for example, more than four million tree seedlings distributed to farmers to establish agroforestry systems and reforest degraded forests in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
John Allotey, Chief Executive of the GFC, 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 programme for visible impact at scale.”