Ghana signs $50 million emission reduction payment agreement under LEAF Coalition

The Forestry Commission, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, has signed Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA) with Emergent Forest Finance Accelerator Incorporated (Emergent), a US-based non-profit organisation, to serve as the convenor and coordinator of the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest Finance (LEAF) Coalition.

The agreement will see Ghana receiving payment of up to US$50 million for emission reductions of up to five million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, at a unit price of US$10 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The Agreement was signed on Friday, December 1, 2023, at the sidelines of the 28th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Ghana is the first country globally, to sign ERPA under the LEAF Coalition for the supply of high-integrity jurisdictional REDD+ emission reductions and removals credit.

Costa Rica also later signed an agreement with Em
ergent, worth $14 million, thus, making the two countries the only forest countries to achieve this feat.

The LEAF Coalition was launched in April 2021 by the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States and Norway, together with some leading global companies, as a voluntary global coalition to bring together companies and governments, to provide finance for tropical and subtropical forest conservation, to commensurate with the scale of the climate change challenge.

The Coalition aims to raise global climate ambition and contribute to halting tropical and subtropical deforestation and forest degradation by 2030, by ensuring that tropical and subtropical forest areas have access to large scale, predictable performance-based finance, to enable them to invest in reduced deforestation and sustainable rural development.

Following call for proposals of which 30 countries participated, and after the initial technical screening by a panel of experts, Ghana, Nepal, and Ecuador were selected as the first cou
ntries to sign a Letter of Intent with the Coalition as a part of initial steps towards signing a binding ERPA to access funds from the Coalition.

During the COP26 in Glasgow, United Kingdom, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, Ghana’s Minister of Lands and Natural Resources signed a Letter of Intent on behalf of the government of Ghana.

Subsequently, the Minister inaugurated a committee, chaired by Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio, a Deputy Minister responsible for Lands and Forestry, to work towards securing a binding ERPA.

The Committee has been working with the Forestry Commission as lead negotiators, leading to Ghana becoming the first country to secure a binding ERPA.

Some 25 countries and subnational governments, including forest countries like Republic of Congo, Bolivia, Columbia, and Brazil have signed Letters of Intent, and are, also, working towards a binding ERPA with Emergent.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the signing of the Agreement on Sunday, December 3, 2023, at COP28, Mr Jinapor said the signing of the Agreeme
nt was a testament to Ghana’s determination to revamping her forest landscape restoration fortunes with the right sustainability protocols.

The Minister said the importance of forests and nature-based solutions to climate change was critical at this crisis moment, therefore, countries must scale up efforts to deliver on these solutions.

Mr. Jinapor noted that the new agreement would complement other interventions being implemented to halt climate change, such as the flagship Green Ghana Project, the Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy, and the Ghana REDD+ Strategy.

Ghana has already received result-based payments of more than US$4.8 million, under the Ghana Cocoa REDD+ Programme, and is implementing the Ghana Shea Landscape Restoration Programme with support from the Green Climate Fund.

The Minister said the new ERPA would help Ghana extend climate action to areas beyond her Carbon Fund area and called on the global community to come together to support actions towards forest restoration and protection.

‘Th
e time to act with speed and effectiveness against climate change is now. The time for partnership and collaboration in ramping up forest and nature-based climate action is, indeed, now,’ he said.

‘Let us, therefore, get on with this noble undertaking to save our planet,’ Mr Jinapor added.

On his part, Mr Eron Bloomgarden, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Emergent, congratulated Ghana for the feat chalked, noting that the commitment and zeal of the team from Ghana ensured that an agreement was reached within a record time.

Thus, making Ghana the first African country to sign the agreement.

He expressed his optimism towards delivering forest solutions to climate change.

The United Kingdom’s Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero, Mr Graham Stuart, commenting on the transaction, said halting tropical deforestation was critical to tackling climate change, and the commitment of forest countries like Ghana to protecting her natural ecosystems was commendable.

On his part, the Minister for Climat
e and Environment of Norway, Mr Andreas Bjelland Eriksen was excited for Ghana and Costa Rica for signing ERPA under the LEAF Coalition and called on other governments and the private sector to ramp up public and private finance for forest countries to partner with the LEAF Coalition to deliver high quality forest carbon.

Forest and nature-based solutions to climate change have been at the centre of successive COPs since 2021, as it has the potential to deliver up to a third of global climate solutions.

Source: Ghana News Agency