Safeguards generally refers to “measures to anticipate, minimize, mitigate or treat otherwise the adverse impacts associated with proposed activities”. REDD+ safeguards are to avoid negative social and environmental impacts but rather enhance benefits. The Government of Ghana has committed to meeting the Cancun, World Bank, National as well as other safeguards requirements.
The seven (7) Cancun Safeguards are listed below:
- That actions complement or are consistent with the objectives of national forest programs and relevant international conventions and agreements;
- Transparent and effective national forest governance structures, taking into account national legislation and sovereignty;
- Respect for the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples and members of local communities;
- The full and effective participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular indigenous peoples and local communities;
- That actions are consistent with the conservation of natural forests and biological diversity, ensuring that actions are not used for the conversion of natural forests, but are instead used to incentivize the protection and conservation of natural forests and their ecosystem services, and to enhance other social and environmental benefits;
- Actions to address the risks of reversals;
- Actions to reduce displacement of emissions.
Ghana’s REDD+ process is funded (grant) through the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank, therefore it was mandatory to conduct a Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA). At the national level, under the first phase of readiness, Ghana carried out a Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) using a consultative process, which was completed in 2014.
The SESA took into account national and institutional sustainability policies, plans and strategies and also addressed World Bank Safeguards Operational Policies. By conducting the SESA, the relationship between national policies, laws, and regulations, and their effects on the proposed REDD+ interventions were identified. The SESA process also determined which World Bank Safeguards Operational Policies (OPs) would be triggered by planned REDD+ interventions, and this subsequently produced an Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) with the necessary mitigation options for identified risks. The national SESA process for readiness produced three reports; the SESA report, the ESMF and the Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF). Two additional documents were produced under Ghana’s Forest Investment program (FIP), based on the SESA conducted for readiness, these are the Pest Management Plan and the Process Framework for stakeholder engagement.
An updated SESA report was developed in 2016 to better understand the environmental and social concerns of the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP), and to define the necessary mitigation mechanisms and safeguards compliance issues associated with the seven strategy options that are to be applied through implementation of the GCFRP. The strategy options include:
- Improving the quality of multi-stakeholder dialogue and decision-making
- Clarifying rights regime
- Addressing unsustainable timber harvesting
- Mitigating effects of agricultural expansion (particularly cocoa in the HFZ)
- Strengthening local decentralised management of natural resources
- Expansion of high biomass agroforestry /tree crops systems
- Improving regulation of mining activities to reduce forest degradation
The updated SESA report was developed in 2016 to understand the environmental and social concerns of the programme, and to better define the necessary mitigation mechanisms and safeguards compliance issues associated with the seven strategy options that are to be applied through implementation of the GCFRP. Specifically, it details the risks and opportunities, and signals the World Bank Ops that would be triggered by the seven REDD+ strategy options.
|World Bank Safeguard Policy
||Potential to be Triggered under REDD+ in Ghana
|OP 4.01: Environmental Assessment
|OP 4.04: Natural Habitats
|OP 4.36: Forest
|OP 4.09: Pest Management
|O.P. 4.11: Physical Cultural Resources
|OP 4.12: Involuntary Resettlement
|OP 4.10: Indigenous peoples
|OP 4.37: Safety of Dams
|OP 7.50 Projects on International Waterways
|OP 7.60: Projects in Disputed Areas
The Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) establishes clear procedures and responsibilities for the environmental and social screening of all likely interventions under the ER Programme, and identifies the environmental/social issues/concerns and likely impacts from the proposed ER Programme intervention and recommends appropriate mitigation measures to address the likely adverse impacts or risks. The document has identified relevant institutions to be involved with the implementation of the environmental/social mitigation measures and provides an environment/social due diligence capacity and training programme to ensure that appropriate training is provided to the institutions with limited capacity in environmental/social safeguards. It specifies appropriate roles and responsibilities and outlines the necessary reporting procedures for managing and monitoring environmental and social concerns. The ESMF will be executed by the Forestry Commission (at both the national, regional and district levels) in collaboration with other partners such as MLNR, COCOBOD, MOFA, EPA, Water Resources Commission, Lands Commission, District Assemblies, local communities and other institutions to be identified as relevant. Detailed roles and responsibilities of these institutions are captured in the ESMF document. The National REDD+ Secretariat (NRS) of the Forestry Commission is responsible for ensuring that mitigation measures and recommendations provided in the ESMF applicable to the ER Programme area are implemented.
Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF)
The 2014 SESA also triggered a Resettlement and Policy Framework in response to the World Bank OP 4.12 on involuntary resettlement. The RPF was updated to contribute to the smooth implementation of the GCFRP with regards to social impacts such as:
- involuntary resettlement
- acquisition of land
- impacts on socio-cultural resources
- impacts on livelihoods or
- restricted access to Natural Resources.
Instances of legal Admitted farms encroachment into forest areas and illegal farms would present a challenge to successful program implementation therefore based on the RPF, such farms would be incorporated with trees over time until the trees shade out the crops and farmers would be allocated other land outside the forest area. Thereby ensuring local participation for social cohesion and sustainability of the interventions. The RPF identifies national policies, laws and regulations that need to be complied with, and also gaps between these national policies, laws and regulations and the World Bank safeguard policy on involuntary resettlement. It is clearly stated in the RPF that “Where there are gaps or inconsistencies between Ghanaian laws and the World Bank policy on involuntary resettlement, OP 4.12, the RPF which is consistent with the World Bank policy OP 4.12 will apply”. One cardinal principle of the World Bank safeguard policy on Involuntary Resettlement (OP 4.12) is that project affected persons should be “no worse-off if not better off” after the resettlement.
Ghana’s Forest Investment Program process produced two other significant and important documents which were not produced under readiness but are very beneficial to the implementation of the GCFRP. Considering the GCFRP will lessons from projects being piloted under FIP, this presents a good opportunity for integration and alignment. There is significant overlap and synergy between the FIP and the ER Programme in terms of articulated activities and the target landscapes. The FIP focal area targets the Western Region, located in the ER Programme area (cocoa forest mosaic landscape), and the Brong Ahafo Region, which encompasses part of the cocoa forest mosaic landscape. The proponents of the FIP and the ERP see this activity-based and geographic overlap as being strategic and essential for the successful implementation of the ER Programme and it has been agreed that the FIP will lead implementation of the GCFRP in one or two of the HIA landscapes. Further, the MLNR which is responsible for the FIP has a representation on the GCFRP’s Joint Coordinating Committee to ensure full integration with FIP projects and related activities.
The Process Framework (PF) prepared for the FIP has been prepared because the project may cause restrictions in access to natural resources in legally designated parks and protected areas. The Process Framework establishes a process by which members of potentially affected communities are engaged and participate in the design of project components, determination of measures necessary to achieve resettlement policy objectives and implementation and monitoring of relevant project activities (link to PF). Currently, an institutional training to ensure the smooth implementation and monitoring of the environmental and social issues and impacts identified in the FIP ESMF/PF is being implemented by the Forestry Commission.
Pest Management Framework (PMP)
The specific objective of the Pest Management Plan produced for the FIP is to promote the use of biological and environmental control methods for pest management and reduce the use of synthetic chemical pesticides to ensure that health and environmental hazards associated with pesticides are minimized.
Other objectives of the PMP which will be adopted and used by the GCFRP, are to:
- Ensure integration of appropriate pest management techniques into agro-forestry technologies, and cocoa landscapes in the project area.
- Monitor pesticide use and pest issues among participating farmers, admitted farmers within forest reserves, and local communities.
- Promote implementation of an Integrated Crop and Pest Management (IPM) in cocoa production.
To achieve its objectives, the PMP provides relevant information on;
- Promoting the IPM approach for the cocoa sector including the promotion and adoption of climate smart cocoa,
- Summarizing the national pesticide use and management in Ghanaian agriculture and in the cocoa sector in particular and
- Providing insight and recommendations on the capacity building opportunities for the promotion of IPM and rational use of pesticides in cocoa production,
- Implementation strategies and budget for the PMP.
Ghana’s Country Approach to Safeguards (CAS) and Safeguards Information System (SIS)
Ghana is defining its Country Approach to Safeguards (CAS) and developing a Safeguards Information System (SIS) in collaboration with SNV Netherlands Development Organization with technical support from Climate Law and Policy (CLP). This is funded by the German Government under the project “Operationalizing National Safeguards Requirement for Results-Based Payments from REDD+”.
A legal analysis has been conducted on each of the Cancun safeguards outlining what is on paper and what is being practiced, the gaps with respect to Policies, Laws and Regulations (PLRs) on paper and practice and recommendations for addressing the gaps. However, the results of the legal analysis and of the SESA clearly identify legislative and policy gaps which will require reforms.
Ghana’s SIS will provide information on how safeguards are being addressed and respected throughout implementation of the GCFRP ER programme. The SIS contains indicators for monitoring the compliance on the World Bank Safeguards, Cancun safeguards and other Donor safeguards requirements, Feedback and Grievance Redress Mechanism (FGRM), benefit sharing, co-benefits, etc.
An online web platform has been developed to host Ghana’s REDD+ SIS. Ghana’s SIS web address is www.reddsis.fcghana.org . A SIS design document that clearly describes how the SIS will function (flow of information) has been developed. Ghana submitted its first Summary of Safeguards Information (SoI) to the UNFCCC in June, 2019.
The National REDD+ Secretariat (NRS) has successfully trained Safeguards Focal Persons (SFPs) who are mainly Forestry Commission’s Assistant Regional Managers, Assistant District Managers, and Assistant National Park Managers. They were trained on national and international safeguards requirement as well as Feedback and Grievance Redress Mechanism (FGRM). These focal persons are responsible for the effective monitoring and reporting of safeguards compliance in their various regions and districts. The SFPs led landscape level capacity building programmes where they sensitized relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as MMDAs and local community leaders who would be involved in the implementation of the REDD+ programme.
The SFPs will also lead the formation of safeguards teams at their various regions and districts for safeguards reporting purposes. The safeguards teams will compose the district/regional safeguards focal person, as well as representatives of HIAs and Consortiums from HIA Management Boards, the private sector, NGOs, District Assembly members, Traditional Authority, and opinion/religious leaders. The teams will be responsible for ensuring safeguards compliance and reporting.
In terms of Safeguards reporting, the regional and district SFPs will collect data and information and in collaboration with the various partners and stakeholders. Once collected, they will ensure that the data and information is reviewed and verified by the safeguards team(s) before it is submitted to the Programme Management Unit (PMU) Safeguards Specialist. The PMU Safeguard Specialist will then forward the programme’s safeguard information and data on to the National Safeguards Specialist for final validation and approval, with the knowledge of the Acting Director for Climate Change. The Acting Director, will give final validation of safeguards information and then trigger reporting to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the UNFCCC (national communication), the World Bank, and enable web-based publication and updates into the SIS for relevant stakeholders and the general public.
REDD+ FEEDBACK AND GRIEVANCE REDRESS MECHANISM (FGRM)
Ghana has established a Feedback and Grievance Redress Mechanism (FGRM) for receiving, evaluating, and addressing project-related grievances from affected communities or stakeholders at the community or project level, region, or country.
Potential conflict sources are;
- Resource use and access
- Land and tree tenure
- Benefit Sharing
- Participation and inclusiveness
- Resettlement and compensation payment, among others.
The REDD+ Feedback and Grievance Redress Mechanism (FGRM) will be operationalized in four steps. Parties seeking to have any REDD+ dispute resolved will file their complaint at the district FGRM office within the ER programme area where it will be received and processed before it is communicated to the National FGRM coordinator.
- If the parties are unable or unwilling to resolve their dispute through negotiation, fact-finding or inquiry a mediator chosen with the consent of both parties would be assigned to assist the Parties to reach a settlement.
- Where the mediation is successful, the terms of the settlement shall be recorded in writing, signed by the mediator and the parties to the dispute and lodged at the FGRM registry. The terms of the settlement will be binding on all parties.
- If the mediation is unsuccessful, the Parties will be required to submit their dispute for compulsory arbitration, by a panel of five (5) arbitrators, selected from a national roster of experts.
- The awards of the arbitration panel will be binding on the Parties and can only be appealed to the Court of Appeal. All questions of law would be referred to the High Court.
The five (5) member Arbitration Panel will be made up of a qualified arbitrator, a lawyer, a forestry/natural resources expert and a governance expert. At least one of them should be a woman. The proposed timelines for the FGRM process is forty-five (45) working days.
FGRM steps and time-frame
|Steps in Process
||Number of Days
|Grievance update and record acknowledgement
||5 working days
|Process, research and fact finding
||15 working days
||5 working days
|Implement agreed response
||20 working days
|Total process timeline
||45 working days