Ghana signed and ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992 and came under obligation to protect its biodiversity. A national strategy for the sustainable use of biological resources was developed in 2002 by the Ministry of Environment and Science. In 2006, parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted decision VIII/17 in Curitiba,
Brazil to further engage the private sector and enlist businesses in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
Against this background,
the Foundation entered into partnership with the National Youth Conference on Biodiversity (NYCOB) Enterprise to facilitate the development and implementation of phase one of the Advocating for Biodiversity Offsetting in Ghana (ABOG) project.
The project which was sponsored by the BUSAC Fund had the objective to:
Examine Ghana’s existing Policies and Acts relating to biodiversity conservation to determine existing gaps and consequent actions.
Develop a detailed Strategic Implementation Guideline for Biodiversity Offsetting in Ghana, led by the private sector and with support from all stakeholders.
Craft out biodiversity offset advocacy implementation plan based on the Guidelines.
Facilitate and advocate for mainstreaming and application of biodiversity and use the Offsetting Guidelines into economic decision-making, through governments’ planning processes, licenses and permits and financial institutions’ lending and investment decisions.
Key Activities and results
Successful meetings were held with the leadership of key state institutions in the sector, namely, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Forestry Commission of Ghana (FCG), Ghana National Biodiversity Committee (GNBC) and the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF) for their buy-in to the ABOG Project implementation. The meetings resulted in a consensus on the modalities for implementation and advocacy. A technical research committee was constituted and tasked to compile all relevant acts and policies on biodiversity conservation in Ghana as a prelude to engaging wider stakeholder consultations including private sector organizations.
Technical research and assessment of legal frameworks: The technical research team scanned the legal environment to ensure that all polices beyond environment and forestry reflects in the development of the guidelines. The end product was the compilation of policy and regulations documents, including the Forestry Commission’s catalogue of regulations regarding biodiversity operations.
Engagement with academia. Five academics with competences in the subject area were invited to support the review process. They were: Dr. Francis Gbedemah, environmental scientist at Wisconsin International University; Dr. Kwasi Boadi of GIMPA; Dr. Nikoi Ebenezer of the Geography Department, University of Ghana; and Dr. John Kuwornu and Dr. Emmanuel Attuah of the School of Agriculture, University of Ghana.
Assessment of laws and Acts: Roundtable discussion on “Mapping the legal frameworks for biodiversity offsetting guidelines development in Ghana” was held to examine existing environmental and forest laws and practices that support the establishment of guidelines for biodiversity offsetting. Present were the EPA, FCG, PEF, and researchers and observers from the university.
A 4-day technical/expert brainstorming workshop was held on 22 December 2016 to fine-tune the draft guidelines and policy proposals in readiness for the wider stakeholder ratification meeting. Over 64 individuals and institutions and 27 media practitioners attended. An interim management team and advocacy committee was formed and charged to develop a constitution to guide the operation of ABOG as it embarks on the next critical stage, which is fundraising and implementation of advocacy actions.
Dialoguing on Development
The Global Development Lecture Series was instituted in 2011 as annual events that provide a platform for international development giants to share with practitioners in Ghana their experiences and general lessons learnt on development trajectories. The Foundation has featured prominent personalities for these series.
In 2011 the maiden lecture was given by Mr. Horst Koehler, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany. He spoke on ‘Walking the Tightrope: Balancing State, Market and Society’.
In 2013, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, spoke on ‘What Africa Must Do to Claim the 21st Century’. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and a former Managing Director of the World Bank.
In November 2013 the third lecture was delivered by Mr. Trevor Manuel, former Finance Minister of South Africa, who shared his thoughts on ‘Africa: Emerging Economies and Globalization’.
In November 2016, the fourth in the series featured Dr. Mo Ibrahim, chairman and founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. It was held at the Great Hall,
University of Ghana. Dr. Ibrahim spoke on ‘Why Governance Matters’. The lecture was chaired by Dr. Sir Sam Jonah, Executive Chairman, Jonah Capital Investments. The packed audience included ministers of state, parliamentarians, members of the Judiciary, members of the diplomatic corps, leaders of political parties, national opinion leaders, and the media. The event was aired live on Joy FM.
Non-program actions, engagements and partnerships
In addition to the in-house projects and programs, the Foundation partners with institutions and organizations in undertaking programs of mutual interest.
Also, the Foundation supports the Chairman in his various roles as a global actor. He is UN Special Envoy on Climate Change and co-chairs the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.
Global Panel on Agriculture and Food System for Nutrition meetings in Accra The Global Panel is an independent group of influential experts with a commitment to tackling global challenges in food and nutrition security. It seeks to ensure agriculture and food systems support, as well as access to nutritious foods at every stage of life. The Panel is chaired jointly by President Kufuor and Prof. Sir John Beddington, former UK Chief Scientific Advisor. The Secretariat of the 11-member Panel is based in London and is headed by Prof. Sandy Thomas.
In November 2015, the Foundation hosted the third Global Panel meeting in Accra at the invitation of President Kufuor. The meeting consisted of business sessions and a high-level roundtable session.
All but three of the panel members were in Accra for the meeting. Other participants in the high-level discussions included ministers, UN agencies, the private sector and non-governmental organizations who tried to define how the multi-sectoral platform could work together to deliver improved nutrition for all.
As explained by Prof Thomas: “The Accra meeting was targeted at reviewing progress to date of the panel, climate change and its impact on agriculture and nutrition. The meeting also discussed roles of the Panel at the Nutrition for Growth meeting at the Rio Olympics in 2016. At this meeting, the report on future diets in low and middle-income countries was planned to be launched in 2016”.
As a follow-up to the November 2015 meeting, the Global Panel returned to Accra, from 25 to 27 October, 2016. President Kufuor and Prof. Thomas hosted a high-level roundtable discussion of the
Food Systems and Diets: Facing the challenges of the 21st Century, popularly called the Foresight Report. The report intimates that whilst great progress is being made in Ghana and across Africa, if business continues as usual, there will still be 216 million undernourished people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030, with an obesity rate expected to reach 17.5%, or double that of 2005. It therefore provides evidence-based guidelines for governments and decision-makers to change course through action and investment to create food systems that promote health and deliver quality diets.
In attendance were ministers from other African countries, Ghana Government officials, senior policy makers, researchers, and heads of UN agencies. The round table provided the opportunity for the Africa Launch of the Foresight Report by the Global Panel on 27 October, coinciding with the celebration of Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security.