Forestry Commission

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Published: Tuesday, 05 July 2016

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Published: Saturday, 25 June 2016

Safeguards and Co-benefits

There is no formally agreed definition of ‘safeguards’. The term has been used by multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank to refer to measures or policies that guard against undue harm from investment or development activities – known as a ‘risk-based approach’. In contrast, safeguards related to REDD+ within UNFCCC COP decisions aim to prevent REDD+ activities from causing harm to biodiversity and people, and also help REDD+ realise multiple benefits, beyond simply emission reductions. This appears to follow a ‘rights-based approach’ to safeguards, prioritising the protection of the individual rights of those potentially affected by a REDD+ initiative.

 For example, safeguards that require respecting land tenure rights of local communities will not only improve the success of REDD+ implementation, but could also deliver significant economic benefits. Tenure security could help to engage and include communities in the design, implementation and monitoring of REDD+ projects, minimising the risk of future land disputes and reducing the risk to investors engaging in REDD+ initiatives. Adequate safeguards could ensure that the implementation of REDD+ can contribute to other national priorities such as poverty reduction and sustainable development.

 In Ghana, the Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) identifies that a Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) will be implemented to quantify the risks and benefits of REDD+ implementation in Ghana. The results of the SESA will inform the design of the National REDD+ Strategy to instill acceptable safeguards for the mitigation of negative social or environmental impacts (FORESTRY COMMISSION, 2010a).

The Terms of Reference (ToRs) for the SESA have been prepared and included in the R-PP to promote due diligence; to identify the institutional arrangements and governance needed for the implementation of the REDD+ Readiness strategy; to identify the likely socio-economic and environmental risks associated with REDD+ strategies/policies; to outline possible mitigation options; to assess the potential additional benefits of REDD+ (especially biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation); and to inform the design of the National REDD+ Strategy, so that it avoids or mitigates negative social/environmental impacts and encourages positive ones. In July, 2012, Expressions of Interest (EOI) on five thematic ToRs were advertised to engage prospective consulting firms for these assignments namely; SESA, MRV, REL, Strategic Options, Benefit Sharing and Conflict Resolution (FORESTRY COMMISSION, 2013). A consultant has consequently been selected for undertaking the assignment on the SESA and the contract is about to be signed as at the mid-September, 2013 (KWAKYE, personal communication). Similarly, Ghana is also committed to ensuring the establishment of social safeguards under its Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) of the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) process (WAGENINGEN, 2010).

Published: Saturday, 25 June 2016
Published: Friday, 24 June 2016

Measurement, Monitoring and Reporting

Monitoring refers to the process of gathering feedback on the outcomes of the implementation of REDD+ activities. The information collected will enable countries to monitor the outcomes of the policies and measures designed and deployed to support the implementation of REDD+.

The Measurement, Reporting and Verification of greenhouse gas emissions by sources and removals by sinks is referred to as MRV. Measurement is the process of estimating anthropogenic forest-related emissions by sources and removals by sinks; forest carbon stocks; and changes in forest carbon stocks and forest area resulting from the implementation of REDD+ activities, following guidance and guidelines from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Under the UNFCCC, countries are expected to report these estimates to the UNFCCC Secretariat through an annex to their Biennial Update Reports (BURs) in a transparent and timely manner. The UNFCCC Secretariat then coordinates a process of verification of the estimates by a team of independent technical experts in Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF). 

Under the UNFCCC, MRV systems are used to measure greenhouse gas emissions reductions and removals by sinks, including those resulting from the implementation of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), which includes carbon accounting from any mitigation sector, and REDD+, which focuses only on mitigation in the forestry sector.

According to the Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP), Ghana intends to establish an MRV system by the end of 2013. The system will monitor forest cover and carbon emissions using remote sensing technology and ground truthing information (FORESTRY COMMISSION, 2010). The MRV system is the responsibility of a Sub-Working Group under the National REDD+ Technical Working Group (FORESTRY COMMISSION, 2010a). Discussions by the Sub-Working Group are ongoing on how best to develop an effective MRV system (FORESTRY COMMISSION, 2013). The existing National Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory database of the National Communication programme, within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for estimating historic emissions will be used for developing the MRV and carbon accounting system.

The Remote Sensing & Forest Inventory Unit of the Forestry Commission and the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (CERSGIS) at the University of Ghana will be key collaborators in the design of the MRV and carbon accounting system. The Forestry Commission will also be monitoring land use and land use changes, implementing forest inventories and compiling tree measurements in Ghana through its Climate Change Unit and Resource Management Support Centre.

As well as this, a Ghana Carbon Map Project was developed through collaboration between several international NGO and academic organisations, which estimates carbon stores of biomass in Ghana in order to improve reporting of carbon emissions (FOREST TRENDS, 2009).

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National REDD+ Secretariat
Climate Change Unit
Forestry Commission
P. O. Box MB434
Accra, Ghana

Tel: +233 302 401210, 401227, 401216
Fax: +233 302 401197