President Nana Akufo-Addo planting a tree at the University of Ghana

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has urged all Ghanaians and the world to develop the habit of tree planting to save the environment.

He said the climate crisis, and the consequences it is having on lives and livelihoods, particularly in Africa, requires that we take urgent steps to protect the world, and forests provide one the best solutions.

President Akufo-Addo made the call at a commemorative tree planting exercise on the Green Ghana Day held at the University of Ghana on Friday, June 9, 2023.

Green Ghana Day was introduced in 2021 as part of Government’s aggressive afforestation and reforestation programme to restore the lost forest cover of the country, and contribute to global action against climate change.

In the first two editions, the targets of five million and 20 million set by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources were exceeded. According to the Ministry, over 30 million trees were planted between 2021 and 2022, of which 23 million have survived.

This year, the Ministry set a target of 10 million trees.

President Akufo-Addo, who has participated in this national tree planting exercise since its inception, planted at the University of Ghana, with the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, the Greater Accra Regional Minister and the Vice Chancellor of the University.

Speaking ahead of the tree planting exercise, the President pointed out that climate change has the potential to undo all the developmental gains we are making as a nation and a continent. He said fighting the climate crisis requires collective, ambitious, and meaningful efforts from all countries.

Ghana, he indicated, has committed, in its enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by sixty-four million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030.

President Akufo-Addo added that since most of “our emissions emanate from land use change”, addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation is key to achieving the 2030 target.

“The Green Ghana Project is, therefore, very crucial to delivering on our commitments, both in our Nationally Determined Contributions, and to the international community,” the President added.

He said Government remains committed to enhancing our forest cover through afforestation and reforestation programmes, and called on all Ghanaians and residents of Ghana to join Government in this national tree planting exercise.

On his part, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Samuel A. Jinapor, said Government has since 2017, implemented several afforestation and reforestation programmes, including Ghana Forest Plantation Strategy, the Forest Investment Programme (FIP), the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP), the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining Project (GLRSSMP), and the Cocoa and Forests Initiative (CFI).

He said the Green Ghana Day was however crucial, as it served as a day to awaken people’s consciousness about the importance of trees, inculcate the culture of tree planting in people, particularly the youth, scale up national awareness on forest protection and preservation, and demonstrate the country’s commitment to implementing nature-based solutions to halt climate change.

According to the Minister, the target was revised downwards this year to devote more resources to nurturing the 23 million trees that have survived from the first two editions.

Mr. Jinapor who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Damongo in the Savannah Region, said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources will continue to provide support for the nurturing of the trees.

He however called on who all those who take part of the tree planting exercise, particularly in homes, offices and communities, to make conscious efforts to nurture the trees.