GHANA – Ghana has forged a new partnership with major cocoa and chocolate companies to accelerate collaboration to protect and restore forests in cocoa-growing areas.

The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and the Forestry Commission of Ghana (GFC), commits the parties to working together in six regions where the government of Ghana has made action to protect and restore forests a priority.

Work in these Hotspot Intervention Areas has already started, with active engagements in the Asunafo-Asutifi, Bia-Juaboso, Kakum and Sefwi-Bibiani landscapes.

WCF will be responsible for facilitating the coordination and convening the actions of the 35 cocoa and chocolate companies that have signed the Cocoa & Forests Initiative.

The organization 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.”

The agreement, aligns the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Program (GCFRP) and the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) to achieve no deforestation commitments.

The Cocoa & Forests is a public-private partnership to end cocoa-related deforestation and forest degradation and promote forest restoration.

35 cocoa and chocolate companies and governments collaborate within the framework of CFI with other stakeholders such as NGOs, farmer organizations and civil society organizations on the development and implementation of business-driven solutions.

In 2020, cocoa and chocolate companies announced major strides towards 2022 Cocoa & Forests Initiative targets with, for example, more than 4 million tree seedlings distributed to farmers to establish agroforestry systems and reforest degraded forests in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

“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.”

Richard Scobey – World Cocoa Foundation President

Under the new collaboration, GFC will facilitate the development of strategic initiatives, collaborate on protocols for data collection and ensure stronger monitoring on social and environmental issues.

“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,” Chief Executive of the GFC, John Allotey said.

The GFC and the Ghana Cocoa Board led in the design and development of the world’s first commodity-driven emission reductions program GCFRP. 

GCFRP program covers 5.9 million hectares of the cocoa-forest mosaic landscape.

The goal is to significantly reduce 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 will significantly deliver enhancements in ecosystem resilience, increase in farmers’ yields, and generate multiple livelihood benefits underpinned by robust, transparent and inclusive governance structures.

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