Ghanaians yesterday took another giant step towards restoring the country’s degraded landscape by planting 10 million trees in an exercise labelled Green Ghana Day.
The tree planting exercise which was carried out across the country received patronage from high-profile personalities, the diplomatic community, organisations, companies, religious bodies, state and non-state institutions.
The third in three years, yesterday’s event brings to 43 million the number of trees that have been planted since the initiative was first held on June 11, 2021, with a post-planting monitoring survey putting the average tree survival rate at 71 per cent or 23 million trees planted during the previous two editions.
In the first edition, seven million trees were planted, while 26 million trees
were planted last year.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led the country in the tree-planting exercise at the University of Ghana in the Greater Accra Region, where he was joined by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey, and other personalities who were hosted by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo.
The President planted a tree to symbolically start the exercise just after 11 a.m.
He planted Velvet Tamarind, known locally as ‘yooyi” by the Gas, atsitoe by the Eʋes and ‘Asamba’ by Fantes, at the event which was on the theme “Mobilising for a Greener Future”.
The legislative arm of government also actively participated in the national exercise, with the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, leading legislators and staff of the Parliamentary Service to plant trees on the premises of the House.
At the Nationalism Park in Accra, the Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Development led his charge in planting trees, while his counterpart from the Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs Ministry organised a similar event at the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs at Dodowa.
Other state agencies and institutions, including the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, and the Diplomatic community all joined at separate events to plant trees to mark the day.
The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, joined the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu Bio, and the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, in Kumasi, while the Omanhene of the New Juaben Traditional Area, Daasebre Kwaku Boateng III, also joined the Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong, to plant trees in Koforidua.
The President of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs, Pe Ditundini Adiali Ayagitam II, also joined the Upper East Regional Minster, Stephen Yakubu, and other dignitaries to plant trees in Bolgatanga.
Prioritising Green Ghana
Speaking ahead of planting a tree, President Akufo-Addo underscored the need for all citizens and residents in the country to play active roles in preserving the forest.
“We must do this with a sense of urgency and renewed purpose, noting that the success depends on our collective action,” he stated.
The President stressed the importance of all stakeholders focusing on tackling the drivers of forest degradation to mitigate its impact on climate change, health and the economy.
President Akufo-Addo said the Green Ghana project was crucial to delivering Ghana’s commitment to climate action, both in its nationally determined contributions and to the international community.
“We have a history of leading the charge when the need arises and our climate actions cannot be different. We must continue to work together to ensure that our contribution to climate solution is positive, transformative and sustainable,” he added.
The President said he was proud of the successes chalked up over the first two years of the implementation of the Green Ghana project and that it was important that the target was reviewed down this year to devote some time and resources to nursing the over 23 million trees that had survived over the past two years.
“Today, we have another opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to saving planet earth and protecting our livelihoods,” he urged.
Touching on how the country had taken concrete steps to mitigate the effect of the global warming and ensure that its actions did not negatively affect the planet, President Akufo-Addo said the country continued to adopt and implement policies aimed at addressing climate change.
He said even though the country’s contribution was minimal, it recognised that this global crisis required collective, ambitious and meaningful efforts from all countries.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana had committed under its Enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by some 64 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030.
“These bold and ambitious targets reflect our vision of becoming a low-carbon climate-resilient economy. Since most of our emissions come from land use chain, achieving these targets require taking urgent steps to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation,” he added.
Tree per student
President Akufo-Addo commended the MLNR for instituting the One-student, One-tree initiative, in line with the Green Ghana project, through which, he said, the nation could inculcate the culture in the youth and hopefully jettison the culture of impunity that led to the destruction of forests.
For her part, Prof. Amfo described the Green Ghana initiative as visionary because it would ensure that the vegetation cover of the country was protected.
She noted that the adverse effect of climate change on food systems and humanity in general underscored the need to take tree-planting seriously as that was the surest way of restoring degraded forests.
"I want to commend the President for initiating this laudable national project to safeguard our environment. The efforts by the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry and the Forestry Commission in ensuring that the two previous editions of the Green Ghana Day achieve the desired impact is very commendable," Prof. Amfo added.