GBEP National Dialogues in Togo and Ghana

06 Feb 20

Bringing together stakeholders for wood energy and forest landscape restoration. FAO and GBEP, in collaboration with GZ, FFF and IEA Bioenergy, held two national dialogues on wood energy and forest landscape restoration (FLR) in Togo and Ghana in January 2020. The wood energy pathway involves various actors and offers employment to millions of people both in urban and rural areas. In Ghana about 73 per cent of the rural population, and in Togo about 99 per cent, rely on wood fuel for cooking and heating purposes, and many agro-industries and various production activities in the country use woody biomass as the main source of energy. However, there are many impacts of the unsustainable wood energy value chain for traditional wood energy production and use. Not only does it have debilitating social issues such as the health problems caused by household air pollution, time spent collecting biomass and risk of injury or violence during fuel gathering, limited access to modern energy services, but also impacts on livelihood and environmental issues such as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, as demand increases, the sustainable supply of fuelwood cannot keep up, leading to deforestation and landscape degradation, reduced biodiversity and soil degradation. The unregulated demand and markets for wood energy resulting in illegal and non-sustainable wood cutting of natural forest has been recognised as one of the main drivers of the degradation of forests and forested landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, action is needed to bring together the wood energy and the forestry sectors to tackle these issues collectively. In Ghana, Dr Tiziana Pirelli, Representative from FAO Headquarters, stated that "unregulated demand and markets for wood energy resulting in illegal and non-sustainable wood cutting of natural forest that has been recognised as one of the main drivers of the degradation of forests and forested landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa". In light of this she added that action is needed on this matter. On that same matter, in Togo, Prof. David Oladokoun, Minister of the Environment stated that the supply of wood resources in the country remains largely in deficit with respect to the real use, and that this deficit is expected to increase further in the coming years. He added that "urgent steps need to be taken not only to boost the production of the raw material, but also to modernize and formalize existing wood energy production pathways with a sustainable management approach". The dialogues have indeed been organised with the overall objective to raise awareness and facilitate dialogue among stakeholders from FLR and bioenergy communities on the positive contribution of sustainable bioenergy to FLR and vice versa, as well as to intensify opportunities for collaboration and to develop a joint agenda for action. The dialogues are part of a wider series of initiatives and build upon the achievements of the activities conducted by GBEP in 2018, in the context of the project 'Capacity building on the GBEP Sustainability Indicators for bioenergy in the Economic Community of West Africa States Countries.' These dialogues respond to the requests from private stakeholders, forest farmers and scientists to adopt a holistic and more participatory approach in the processes, currently on-going, to define the national FLR strategies and to review the countrys' NDCs. Both these processes should embed policies and measures to ensure sustainable energy for all, with sustainable wood energy in mind as key goal. Additional information and background documents could be found here

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