The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched a one-million-dollar ‘OneTreePlanted’ programme to plant five million trees by 2024 to restore degraded areas in the Black Volta landscape. The programme was launched under the UNDP Global Environment Facility Small Grant Programme (GEF/SGP) at Maluwe in the Bole Bamboi District of the Savannah region of Ghana.
The ‘OneTreePlanted’ programme will enhance capacity and supply various seedlings including Cassia, Mahogany, Cashew, and Mango to selected communities in the Black Volta landscape for planting. The aim is to fight environmental degradation and promote sustainable livelihood enterprises in the landscape.
“This programme is about not leaving anyone behind. We are all expected to be involved in tree planting on farms, in open spaces, around towns, school compounds and in forest areas. Plant at least one tree and maintain it for people and for the planet”, Angela Lusigi, the UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana urged the communities at the launch.
Dr. Lusigi also noted that the programme is to contribute to the Government of Ghana’s Green Ghana agenda by supporting the communities to invest in sustainable land management and the conservation of the Black Volta Basin ecosystem. She added that it will also focus on providing alternative livelihood support systems to enhance the wellbeing of the people, whiles sustaining the environment.
The Chief of Maluwe (Maluwewura), Sulemana Bramani, expressed appreciation to UNDP and pledged the commitment of the communities in the area to the success of the programme.
“We are very happy that UNDP has selected our area for this laudable agenda OneTreePlanted programme. This initiative is not only investing in our fuelwood but in our livelihood improvement. My advice to the woodblock farmers is that, visit your farms regularly and cater for your tree farms”, the Maluwewura noted.
The Black Volta landscape is an international water ecosystem that generates clean energy from the Bui hydropower for national development. The landscape also provides haven to globally threatened species including hippopotamus, elephants, and Buffalos. It is also known that crop production from this landscape contributes 37.5% of yam, 11.3% of cassava, 17.2% of maize and 28.7% of local rice to the national totals. The area thus supports livelihood services for over one million indigenous people.
The prosperity and sustainable management of the Black Volta landscape is therefore a great priority for national development. Unfortunately, the landscape has been subjected to environmental abuses over the years. The area experiences uncontrolled wildfire, illegal mining, uncontrolled harvesting of wood for timber and charcoal, and unsustainable farming practices. A trend analysis shows that if nothing is done, Ghana is likely to lose the potential of the Black Volta landscape as a natural resource for national development. It is very important to enhance the resilience of the communities to climate change impacts and thus reduce poverty, and this requires partnerships.
“The UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme will devote US$1milion direct funding support to the OneTreePlanted programme whiles mobilizing additional support from other development partners. I am glad to say that the TerraFund for financing Africa’s Top 100 Tree Restoration Projects and Enterprises has committed US$150,000 over the next three-years to support the programme. We would want to appeal to other donors to join the implementation of the programme”, stated Dr George Ortsin, the National Coordinator of the UNDP GEF Small Grant Programme in Ghana.
The UNDP GEF Small Grant Programme is already supporting five communities in the Bole Bamboi District with agroforestry and the OneTreePlanted Programme is to complement the existing agroforestry initiative.
“Currently, we have almost 2000 farmers in 5 communities in the landscape, who are restoring the degraded landscape under the UNDP GEF Small Grant Programme. The farmers have integrated food crops into their woodblocks, and this is our contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation because we are reducing poverty whiles protecting the environment”, said Hannah Boaduaa, the Programme Lead in Maluwe.
The goal of the ‘OneTreePlanted’ programme is to restore about 170 hectares of degraded areas in the Black Volta landscape to contribute to Ghana’s climate action agenda.