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REDD+ contributions to sustainable management of cocoa and shea forest landscapes in Ghana, the role of non-carbon benefits

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportDoktordisputats

Unsustainable cocoa production constitutes one of the major drivers of deforestation in the High Forest Zones of Ghana and it presents a real threat to the global confectionery industry. Current efforts to address deforestation in Ghana has led to the implementation of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme - the first commodity REDD+ programme in the world. The performance-based mechanism employs the Hotspot Intervention Areas and Community Resource Management Areas governance framework to implement both carbon and non-carbon activities within the forest landscape.
This thesis primarily assesses the performance of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme to generate non-carbon benefits, specifically focusing on effective natural resource governance and sustainable livelihoods and uses the Hotspot Intervention Areas as a conduit to address perverse incentives that drive deforestation in the landscape. The thesis also explores an innovative land governance intervention to improve women tenure security in Community Resource Management Areas of the shea savannah landscape in anticipation of REDD+. Specifically, the thesis seeks to i) track sources of REDD+ funds and investigate how the funds have been used to improve forest governance and livelihoods; ii) explore the use of the Community Resource Management Area concept to address women’s tenure insecurity for REDD+ initiatives; iii) assess the perception of actors of the Hotspot Intervention Area as an effective governance framework for REDD+; and (iv) examine cocoa farmers’ perceptions, opportunities, and vulnerability in Ghana’s Cocoa REDD+ livelihood interventions. Each objective is addressed by the four Papers.
Paper 1 reviews REDD+ funding of non-carbon activities at a global level, focusing on forest governance and livelihoods. This paper highlights the distribution of REDD+ activities and funding of non-carbon activities. Paper 1 posits that forest governance is highly centralised and strongest at the national level thereby weakening sub-national governance structures. It further adds that REDD+ appears not to facilitate the attainment of living incomes for forest communities. Paper 2 analyses land and tree rights practices and opportunities within Community Resource Management Areas in the shea savannah landscape to improve women and vulnerable groups’ benefits and participation in REDD+ activities. Paper 2 finds that although women have improved land tenure security through co-creation, their land size are not economically viable to benefit from REDD+. The robustness of the Hotspot Intervention Area framework as a multi-purpose vehicle for the implementation of REDD+ governance instruments cover Paper 3. Paper 3 identifies governance instruments to reduce emissions while improving livelihoods and how they are implemented through the Hotspot Intervention Area. Paper 3 finds that the Juabuso-Bia HIA struggles with the implementation and translation of governance instruments into desirable outcomes to reduce deforestation and deliver non-carbon benefits. Lastly, Paper 4 assesses the perception of farmers on livelihood interventions aligned with Ghana Cocoa REDD+ and the influence on their incomes. The Paper submits that the livelihood interventions appear not to provide farmers with living incomes and therefore does not take away the perverse incentives that drive deforestation.
The findings of this thesis demonstrate efforts being made to address cocoa and shea deforestation through policies, incentive mechanism, and inclusive participation. However, there are many implementation challenges, including insecure land tenure, poor incentives to farmers, eroding farmgate prices and premium payments, weak landscape connectivity and continuum of the governance framework, policy incoherence, poor understanding of Ghana Cocoa REDD+ by local stakeholders, greenwashing by cocoa companies and theories of change of livelihood interventions that do not adequately reflect conditions of cocoa farmers. This thesis, therefore, finds that Ghana Cocoa REDD+, does not yet demonstrate sufficient capacity in effective forest governance and sustainable livelihoods to sufficiently incentivise farmers to reduce cocoa driven deforestation.
Antal sider184
StatusUdgivet - 2023

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