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Advancing REDD+ Implementation in Ghana and Cameroon

Advancing REDD+ Implementation in Ghana and Cameroon
Dr. Dieudonne Alemagi (Project Lead) & Dr. Daniel Nukpezah (Ghana Lead)
The government of Cameroon and Ghana have both introduced a series of forest policy reforms to promote a more sustainable and equitable management of their forests. In Cameroon, in view of making forestry more participatory and transparent, the reforms as contained in Law N0. 94/01 of 20th January 1994 made provisions for community and council forests, the allocation of a portion of forest royalties to municipalities as well local and indigenous communities (RoC, 1994), and a public bidding system for the allocation of timber harvesting titles stipulated in Decree N0. 95-531-PM of 23rd August 1995 (MINEF, 1996; Alemagi et al. 2014). A zoning plan whose goal was to demarcate forests into permanent and non-permanent domains was also a fundamental provision of these forestry reforms and it is reported that this played a major role in regulating access into these forest domains (Topa, et al. 2009).
In Ghana, the government of Ghana has taken a series of steps geared at promoting sustainable forest management in the country. For instance, the Community Forest Resource Management Programme (CFRM) was piloted in 2002 and subsequently launched and expanded to cover twenty-six districts in the country (The REDD+ Desk, 2002). As the REDD+ desk (2002) further opines, the programme is composed of: 1) the Participatory Forest Management Planning Component which involves socio, economic, and ecological surveys and the establishments of management plans for the districts within the programme; 2) the creation of Community Resource Management Committees (CRMCs) and the preparation of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) on the fundamental roles and responsibilities between the Forestry Commission, local authorities, and other stakeholders; 3) the formation of Operations with  the goal on monitoring and forest protection from wildfires and illegal logging operations, community education and commercial seedling production for reforestation and afforestation programmes; 4) an Equitable Benefit Sharing element which include strengthening communities in the negotiation of social responsibility agreements with logging companies; 5) a Forestry-based Livelihoods Support element; and 6) Public Education and Awareness Component. The goal of all these initiatives undertaken by the government of Cameroon and Ghana was to achieve socio-economic, cultural,  and ecological sustainability within the forestry arena in both countries.
Despite the aforementioned initiatives, the rate of deforestation and forest degradation in Cameroon and Ghana remain very high. For instance, the rate of deforestation in Cameroon is one of the highest in the Congo Basin. According to the FAO (2011), between 2000 and 2010, the annual rate of deforestation of Cameroon’s forests was estimated to be 1.04%. Additionally, it has been established that about 75% of the forest in Cameroon is subjected to exploitation and is degraded (FAO, 2007; Robiglio et al., 2010; Alemagi et al. 2014). Ghana has one of the highest deforestation rates in Africa and the world which is estimated at 2% per annum. Between 1990 and 2000, Ghana lost an average of 135,000 hectares of forest per annum; amounting to an average annual deforestation rate of 2% (FAO, 2007).  As a corrective measure, Cameroon and Ghana have taken interest in REDD+.  As the UNFCCC, (2008) reports, “REDD+ is a mechanism to support the voluntary efforts of developing countries to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, promoting conservation and the sustainable management of their forests, and enhancing forest carbon stocks”. In addition, REDD+ is an incentive for developing countries to protect and better manage their forest resources in view of the fact that it provides a financial value on the carbon that is sequestered in the forests of these countries (UNFCCC, 2008; Alemagi, 2014).
A series of studies relevant for the REDD+ mechanism have been conducted in Cameroon. For instance, Minang et al. (2007) examined the compatibility of Cameroon’s forest policy vis-à-vis the provisions of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) for Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF).  Sama and Tawah (2009) provided an overview of Cameroon’s forestry regulatory design in relation to REDD+ implementation. Minang et al. (2008) explored the data support infrastructure for the implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) within the forestry sector in Cameroon. Lindhjem et al. (2010) evaluated the current benefit sharing scheme within the forestry sector in relation to REDD+ implementation in Cameroon. In a review of forest governance in Cameroon, Dkamela (2011) provided a detailed description of Cameroon national context in preparation for REDD+ implementation. Fobissie et al. (2012) analyzed safeguard issues in the REDD+ process in Cameroon and proffered a conceptual framework for promoting REDD+ social safeguard systems in Cameroon. Other studies have focused on other aspects of the REDD+ in Cameroon including its opportunities and challenges (Brown et al., 2011), a synthetic overview of REDD+ stakeholders perspectives (Alemagi et al, 2014), a policy and institutional framework for strategic implementation of the REDD+ (Somorin et al 2013), tenure and public participation of local communities in REDD+ projects (Awono et al., 2013; Freudenthal et al 2011), intensification of cocoa agroforestry systems as a REDD+ Strategy in Cameroon (Alemagi et al, 2015), the State of research on effectiveness and equity (2Es) in forests  management regimes in Cameroon and its relevance for REDD+ (Chia et al. 2013), institutional dimensions of the developing REDD+ process in Cameroon (Ngendakumana et al. 2014), forest conservation policy and social safeguards frameworks for REDD+ in Cameroon ( Ngendakumana et al. 2017), the future for community forestry and REDD+ in Cameroon (Bernard and Minang, 2019),and strategies for the elaboration of Cameroon’s National REDD+ Strategy (IUCN, 2013).
In Ghana, studies on REDD+ have focused on the interaction between the FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ (Ochieng et al. 2013), the contribution of REDD+ to carbon stocks enhancement within cocoa agroforestry systems (Acheampong et al. 2015), criteria and modalities for developing a REDD+ project (Asare and Kwakye, 2013), and the impacts of REDD+ finance in Ghana (Asare, 2015). Other studies relating to REDD+ in Ghana have focused on the importance of REDD+ for sustainable development (Abissath, 2019); Ghana’s national forest reference level (Ghana Forestry Commission, 2017); implications of Ghana’s REDD+ and voluntary partnership agreement on land and tree tenure reform (Hajjar, 2015); context for REDD+ implementation in Ghana (Nketiah, 2009); successes and challenges for mainstreaming gender into Ghana’s REDD+ process (IUNC, 2016); equity in Ghana’s national REDD+ process (Saeed, 2018); REDD+ finance to promote sustainable agriculture (Muriuki, 2016); Ghana’s REDD+ benefit sharing dialogue (Foli and Dumenu, 2013); and promoting small scale forestry under Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and REDD+ (Hajjar, 2014). In addition, scholars like Fox (2017) have investigated the development of REDD+ in Ghana and looked specifically at what influence the creation of a new forest commodity could have on food insecurity in the country. Focusing on the access dimension of food security, a central question raised by Fox (2017) is that are REDD+ Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreements (ERPAs) advantageous or disadvantageous to food insecure people wishing to strategically access forestry opportunities to reduce hunger and food insecurity in Ghana? He argues that critical to answering this question is an understanding of potential benefit available in REDD+ transactions in Ghana: who gets what, when, and how is benefit transferred.  To date, however, there remains a paucity of literature that examines REDD+ implementation in Ghana and Cameroon and prescribes tractable policy recommendations for improvement. This proposed project or study therefore attempts to fill this major gap. Indeed, the research is original in that it evaluates REDD+ implementation in Cameroon and Ghana and uses data collected from all the REDD+ actors (the government; community-based organizations including forest-dependent communities, civil society organizations, research institutions, private sector, and donor agencies) to proffer tractable policy recommendations for advancing REDD+ implementation in both countries. 
The project is relevant in the following ways:
1. By prescribing policy recommendations for advancing REDD+ implementation in Cameroon and Ghana, the project will contribute to actions to achieve effective and efficient reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
2.  Given that REDD+ involves sustainable forest management, the project will enhance the ability of forest to meet multiple objectives of climate change mitigation, ecosystem services, and development.
3. The project will develop policies recommendations to advance REDD+ implementation in Cameroon and Ghana thereby promoting the conservation and sustainable management of tropical rainforests in Cameroon and Ghana to maintain their carbon storage capacity.
4. The project will contribute enormously to REDD+ relevant commodity value chains and REDD+ analysis. This is fundamental given that these themes constitute part of holistic approaches in landscapes.
5. The project will also pioneer the development of policy recommendations for improving REDD+ implementation in Ghana and Cameroon with possibilities for scaling out the lessons learnt to other countries in Central and West Africa. 
The overall objective of the project is to identify strategies and approaches for promoting REDD+ implementation in Cameroon and Ghana. Specific objectives of the project will include:
  • Assess initiatives that have been undertaken by the government of Cameroon and Ghana to advance REDD+ implementation;
  • Evaluate the performance of REDD+ pilot projects formulated by NGOs and other REDD+ actors in Ghana and Cameroon;
  • Use data collected from all the parties – the government, NGOs, and other REDD+ actors- to suggest tractable policy recommendations for advancing REDD+ implementation in Cameroon and Ghana;
  • Transfer lessons learnt in Cameroon and Ghana to REDD+ implementation initiatives in other countries in Central and West Africa like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Liberia, and Nigeria.
Research Approach

he study employs a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methodology for data collection and analysis. These approaches include a desk review of literature and secondary data on REDD+ related issues in both countries and field visits for primary data collection and analyses.

Key REDD+ actors including staff of logging companies, agro-industries, local civil society and community-based organizations (CSOs/CBOs), forest-dependent communities, donor agencies, research institutions, relevant government ministries such as Cameroon’s Ministry of Environment Nature Protection and Sustainable Developent (MINEPDED), Cameroon’s Ministry of Forests and Fauna (MINFOF), the Forestry Commission of Ghana, Ghana’s EPA, Ghana’s Ministries of Land and Natural Resources, and Food and Agriculture (MoFA) would be interviewed using structured questionnaires.

Simple descriptive statistical analysis and different multivariate and regression analysis would be used in analysing quantitative data while qualitative software TEXTPACK and NVIVO would be employed in the content analysis of qualitative data. A consultation workshop will be organised with different actors to discuss preliminary results and their potential triangulation.

Expected results
The project will produce the following results:
  1. The project will prescribe a series of tractable policy recommendations that can be used to advance REDD+ implementation in Cameroon and Ghana. 
  2. National readiness for REDD+ implementation in Cameroon and Ghana will be enhanced by the availability of policy guidance.
  3. Experience and lessons in REDD+ implementation for emission reductions with sustainable benefits will be increased through this research.
  4. Knowledge generation for REDD+ implementation in Cameroon and Ghana will be improved through policy development and implementation.
  5. Four peer reviewed journal articles are anticipated from this research.
  6. Findings will be further disseminated through presentations at international conferences, as well as two working papers for project beneficiaries which include forest-dependent communities in both countries, governments of both countries, non-governmental organizations, and national/international forestry organizations.