The Eco Warriors Movement, a youth led NGO, is raising questions regarding the sustainability of Ghana’s restoration agenda, as the government moves to plant five million trees nationwide tomorrow.

According to the movement, even though the commitment to green Ghana is laudable and pledged their support, they are skeptical about the sustainability trajectory of current developments in the nation’s restoration agenda.

“To this end, we want to express some concerns. On August 13, 2018, the government launched the Youth in Afforestation Programme in Kumasi. The programme employed 100,000 youth to plant trees as part of the Ghana Forest Investment Programme (GFIP) and we want progress report on the Youth in Afforestation Programme.

The youth led NGO in a statement also demanded to know the progress report on the Youth in Afforestation Programme and the number of trees that have been planted through the Programme after almost three years of implementation.

“What is the survival rate and the monitoring strategy adopted. Above all, what valuable lessons and challenges have been learnt to scaling-up the initiative”? the statement asked.

Present a tailor-made monitoring strategy

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor on Wednesday said, government has already distributed more than five million seedlings to the district and regional offices of the Forestry Commission and district assemblies in readiness for the Green Ghana Day.

The Green Ghana Project is intended to plant five million trees on Friday, June 11, 2021 across the country and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will plant a commemorative tree at the precincts of the Jubilee House, the seat of government, at 1300 hours on that day.

At a media briefing in Accra to update the public on preparations made for the exercise tomorrow, Mr Abu Jinapor said the Forestry Commission had produced six million seedlings, including; economic trees like Wawa, Mango, Rosewood and Shea trees, and already distributed them to the 16 regions.

He said, for instance, the Greater Accra Region had received 450,000 seedlings, Central Region-400, 000, Western Region-250,000, Western North-420,000, and Ashanti Region-one million seedlings. The rest were: Ahafo-170,000, Bono-250,000, Bono East-300,000, Eastern-750,000, Volta-200,000, Oti-150,000, Northern-250,000, North East-120,000, Savannah-250,000, Upper East-170,000, and Upper West-150,000.

Eco Warriors Movement in a statement commended the government of Ghana for its commitment to meeting the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative (AFR100) to restore 2 million hectares of forest landscape by 2030.

The group is however urging the government to present a tailor-made monitoring strategy for the nation-wide tree planting project.

“Government should demonstrate commitment to adopt a quarterly stakeholder engagement dialogue to address the state of our environment. Moving beyond the business-as-usual approach of planting trees, we want to state emphatically that growing trees is a process to being an event. As such, it requires a well-defined structured approach to coordinate, monitor, and evaluate”, the youth led NGO said in a statement.

According to the statement, Eco-Warriors Movement is ready, as a key youth-led stakeholder, to collaborate with any stakeholder in monitoring, evaluating, learning and sharing valuable lessons from the Green Ghana project.

“We encourage all Ghanaians to actively participate in the up-coming Green Ghana initiative with the mindset to grow and nurture acquired seedlings to maturity. Without our individual interest to care for these seedlings, our collective effort will be meaningless and unsustainable”, the statement added.