A team from Tullow Oil, made up of the Board and top management staff has paid a visit to the Forestry Commission (FC), to be updated on the execution of an Emission Reductions Payment Agreement (ERPA). In line with Ghana’s REDD+ strategy, the Agreement will cover the sale and purchase of forest carbon emission reductions and removal in the western portion of the Transition Zone of Ghana.
The Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, Mr. John Allotey, underscored the functions and roles of the Forestry Commission in terms of the Wildlife, Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD), and the Forest Services Division (FSD).
He also highlighted on the trajectory of the partnership and briefed them on the signing of an MOU, Scoping mission with Terra Global, signing of Letter of Intent, feasibility studies, and Pre-ERPA activities.
To the Chief Executive, though a lot has been done, there is still a lot to do. “The Commission is enthusiastic about this engagement with Tullow Oil as it demonstrates a proof of concept for a sustainable transition journey towards net-zero de-carbonization in the voluntary carbon market space, which also fosters community development and empowers livelihoods. We are hoping to get the feasibility studies completed so that we go ahead with the payment of emission to achieve the net zero plans”, he added.
Ms. Julia Ross, Director for People and Sustainability, Tullow PLC, thanked FC for receiving them and said the purpose for bringing Board members was to update them on the Pre-ERPA activities including initial community outreach and engagement confirming drivers of deforestation, identifying suitable interventions and developing a roadmap for social inclusion.
In a presentation by the Project Liaison from the Climate Change Department, Mr. Jacob Amoako, addressed the sequence of events pertaining to the Project, and highlighted some key activities in the work plan including awareness and sensitization of stakeholders at the national, regional, and community levels, project area activities, identification of drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the Project area.
His presentation also highlighted on some key activities in the work plan, and the progress on the Tullow project with regards to activities undertaken which includes the establishment of a technical working group, national stakeholder engagement, functional heads engagement, procurement of consultancy services which is ongoing, and sensitization of landscape actors.
Ms. Shiela Khama, a Board Member from Tullow Oil, said the partnership project between the two parties is good for the continent, the community and to the people. According to her, the Project has potential to be a model one not just to Ghana, but to the entire continent
Ms. Genevieve Sangidi, also a Board Member of Tullow Oil, said that it is very nice to witness the realisation of the Project. According to her, it is very critical to their business needs and they are ready to support FC with anything needed to ensure the smooth transitioning of the project.
She asked the FC team what challenges they are facing to enable them understand and see how they can assist to solve those problems.
In response to the challenges FC faces, Mr. Allotey said getting approval from other agencies such as Public Procurement Authority can be challenging as due diligence and the thorough process must be followed. These brings some bottlenecks and delays. However, they are being worked on to move the process forward.
The Chief Executive mentioned that the Commission is not only looking at the environment but the social and economic long term objectives of the Project. “We have engaged the political structures in the area they are; the traditional leaders, district assemblies, and students we want to bring on board”. According to him, livelihood benefits are key to ensuring the benefits they derive go a long way to encourage people to do the right thing.
Both parties shared contributions and experiences on other projects to strengthen the relationship between FC and Tullow Oil, to the realisation of this Project.