Rural communities in four regions of Ghana currently affected by the environmental damage and pollution associated with destructive artisanal mining and logging practices are to benefit from a scale-up of the Ghana Forest Investment Programme.
Additional financing of $19.39 million was approved by the World Bank Board of Executives Directors Monday.
It is based on two tranches of a grant and loan of $9.89 million for Artisanal Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM) in Forest Landscapes and $9.50 million to build private sector engagement in plantation activities in the Brong-Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern and Western regions of Ghana. “The additional financing operation is fully consistent with the World Bank Group’s goals to end extreme poverty and to promote shared prosperity with environmental, social, and fiscal sustainability. It is also aligned with the recent Systematic Country Diagnostic which prioritized the need for taking immediate measures, including implementing the ‘Cocoa Forest Mosaic Landscape’ and control and mitigation of artisanal mining, to stop deforestation and degradation,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The Ghana Forest Investment Programme is already implementing activities focusing on agricultural drivers of deforestation by working with cocoa farmers and communities to rehabilitate and protect forest reserves. The additional financing operation aims at complementing these activities by piloting approaches to and benefits of reclamation of mining sites, which will reduce erosion currently polluting public watercourses and engage the private sector in plantation development to reduce pressure on natural forests and to meet the construction, housing and furniture needs of Ghana’s growing economy.
Under the original project, women have significantly engaged and benefitted from project activities, particularly in enrichment planting and plant nurseries. This will continue and be further enhanced under this additional financing operation. Plantation establishment in nearby areas will further help to create jobs for community members, contribute to knowledge sharing and uptake, increase awareness of sustainable forestry management practices, and increase opportunities for promoting positive private sector contributions to Ghana’s overall REDD+ effort. “Community members engaged in Artisanal Small-Scale Mining, including women, will gain access to new skills and economic opportunities through rehabilitation activities at inactive mining sites, including opportunities created by tree planting and plantation establishment,” said Asferachew Abate Abebe, World Bank Task Team Leader of the Forest Investment Program.
The proposed activities will contribute to reducing pressure on high biodiversity areas. Through replication and scaling up of lessons from pilot sites, communities, landowners, farmers and cocoa growers could gain through the reduced impact of mining activities on production systems, as well as improvement of their local environment. Other stakeholders, including the private sector and civil society, will benefit through improved stewardship of the land. The implementing agencies charged with forest, landscape and mining management, will also benefit from clarified policies and guidance, capacity development programs, and outreach programs.
This operation also aligns with the Ghana Sustainable Growth Development Agenda (GSGDA-II, 2014-2017), which seeks to achieve the socio-economic transformation to create a significant number of quality jobs to raise average incomes. The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54% going to Africa.