President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has launched the 2022 Green Ghana project, which seeks to plant over 20 million tree seedlings across Ghana to restore the country’s lost forest cover and degraded landscape.
President Akufo-Addo said this year’s Green Ghana Day, slated on Friday, June 10, 2022, seek to raise national awareness on the necessity for collective action to restore the degraded landscape in the country.
On June 11, 2021, the President launched the maiden Green Ghana Day project, a massive and aggressive afforestation drive that saw the planting of about seven million trees to restore the country’s degraded landscape and contribute to global efforts to fight climate change.
Speaking on the theme: “Mobilising for a greener future” President Akufo-Addo said the country’s forests continue to be an important natural resource for socio-economic development—providing sources of livelihood to many, and returns from export on wood species.
He said in 2021, Ghana’s wood export generated almost GHC1, 000,000,000.00 but the exploitation of the forest resources over the years had not been sustainable, leading to gradual loss of the country’s forest.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), reports that between 1990 and 2020, the world lost over 178,000,000 hectares of forest.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that while there had been some improvement in the net rate of global forest loss over the last decade, Africa continued to experience an increasing net forest loss.
“We must, therefore, make concerted efforts to protect our forests for the benefit of current and future generations,” he stated.
Thirty years ago, on May 9, 1992, countries adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where they committed to stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
Three decades on, climate change is at an all-time high, and the climate crisis is now at a tipping point. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), recently, warned that the earth was on the verge of exceeding the 1.5 degrees Celsius target.
This is manifesting in changing rain patterns, rising sea levels and surface temperatures, and the melting of the Antarctic ice and glaciers, with their attendant consequences on food and water security, poverty, increased inequalities, among others.
President Akufo-Addo said, “with just eight years to achieve the Goals we set for ourselves in the Sustainable Development Goals, climate change continues to derail our efforts, by impacting the fundamentals required to the achieve the Goals.”
The President said it was imperative that countries remained passionate and committed to the fight against climate change, “but we cannot do so if the current rate of global forest loss continues,” as one of the main drivers of this climate crisis is deforestation and forest degradation.
It is estimated that each year, about ten gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (10GtC02e), out of the total of fifty-eight gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (58GtC02e) of Greenhouse gases, comes from deforestation and forest degradation.
The IPCC 2019 Special Report on Land also found that between 2007 and 2016, Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) activities accounted for around 13% of carbon dioxide (CO2), 44% of methane (CH4) and 81% of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from human activities globally, representing 23% of total net anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
The fight against climate change, President Akufo-Addo stated, “must also be a fight against deforestation and forest degradation.”
He said even though African countries are the least contributors to climate change, contributing less than 4% of global emissions, “we are determined to do our part, to fight this crisis.”
It is in this spirit that last year, the government launched the Green Ghana Project, as part of an aggressive afforestation and reforestation programme.
It is also in accord with the country’s commitment under the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021 – 2030), to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems, and raise awareness of the importance of successful ecosystem restoration.
President Akufo-Addo said with the support and enthusiasm of Ghanaians, the country exceeded its target of 5 million trees on the maiden Green Ghana Day.
President Akufo-Addo called on stakeholders “to go out and mobilise our populations, to support this year’s edition of Green Ghana Day.
“Every person living in Ghana participates in the exercise, we have based on expert advice, particularly from the Forestry Commission and the Ghana Meteorological Agency, designated Friday, June 10, 2022, as the 2022 Green Ghana Day.
“On that day, we must all go out to plant and encourage our families and friends to do the same. On that day, we must all make a commitment to leave a legacy for future generations through the planting of trees.”
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor said the government acknowledged the challenge to achieve this ambitious 20 million tree target to restore degraded and deforested landscape across the country, and build resilience against climate change, but would do all it could to mobilise the needed resources to achieve it.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD