World Bank and Ghana join forces to combat carbon emissions in cocoa producing regions

GHANA – The World Bank and Ghana have agreed to work together in a five-year programme that seeks to reduce carbon emission and promote climate-smart cocoa production.

The five-year Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) under the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility brings together Ghana’s Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), the Forestry Commission and private investors.

The program, which was announced in July, will reward Ghana with up to US$50 million for carbon reductions of at least 10m tons, funded through the World Bank’s Carbon Fund of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).

The emission reductions program will be implemented in the southern parts of the country and covers almost 6 million hectares of the West Africa Guinean Forest biodiversity hotspot.

The agreement will also implement a wider program area covering 1.2 million ha of forest reserves and national parks and is home to 12 million people.  

“The program’s two central goals – reducing carbon emissions in the forestry sector and producing truly sustainable, climate-smart cocoa beans – make it unique in Africa and the first of its kind in the cocoa and forest sectors worldwide,”​ said Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, CEO of the country’s forest agency.

“This program is helping to secure the future of Ghana’s forests while enhancing income and livelihood opportunities for farmers and forest-dependent communities.”​

Ghana’s ERPA also specifies on carbon emission baselines, price per ton of avoided CO2 emissions, and a benefit-sharing mechanism.

The bank said it held more than 30 stakeholder consultations, meetings, and workshops with over 40 institutions in the planning, design and validation of the program.

“It’s exciting to see the level of stakeholder engagement Ghana has been able to achieve with its emission reduction program, particularly with the private sector,” says Pierre Frank Laporte, the World Bank Country Director for Ghana.

“Some of the most important cocoa and chocolate companies in the world, including World Cocoa Foundation members such as Mondelēz International, Olam, Touton and others, as well as Ghana’s Cocoa Board have committed to participating in the program,”

Through the program, the government will focus on selected deforestation hotspot areas and help farmers and communities increase cocoa production there using climate-smart approaches.

This work leverages support from other initiatives, including from World Bank programs focused on forest rehabilitation, social inclusion, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable land and water management. The program also works closely with the Cocoa & Forests Initiative.

With the deal, Ghana becomes the third country to sign the Emission Reductions Payment Agreement after Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the Word Bank, other Carbon Fund countries expected to sign similar agreements in the next year.

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