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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Food security, forestry and REDD+ benefit distribution in Ghana Fox, Leigh Patrick


Do international Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) institutions, such as the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), incorporate equal access to benefit as part of their programs in Ghana? This paper investigates the development of REDD+ strategies and project proposals in Ghana and looks specifically at what influence the creation of a new forest commodity could have on food insecurity in the country. Focusing on the access dimension of food security, a central question will be addressed: Are REDD+ Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreements (ERPAs) advantageous or disadvantageous to food insecure people wishing to strategically access forestry opportunities to reduce hunger and food insecurity? Critical to answering this question is an understanding of potential benefit available in REDD+ transactions in Ghana: who gets what, when, and how is benefit transferred. REDD+ ERPAs monetize forest carbon, Emission Reductions (ERs), gained through forest conservation and management activities. REDD+ is a market-based mechanism because it seeks to use market forces, the buying and selling of goods and services, to incentivize a conservation behaviour with respect to forest management. By commodifying and trading avoided deforestation and afforestation as a product and service, market actors institutionalize transaction types, roles, responsibilities and access characteristics of the marketplace. As a set of rules, REDD+ programs and protocols claim social and economic benefit is delivered to marginalized, often food-insecure, groups of people as stakeholders through contractual activities. At the same time as REDD+ projects are being planned and implemented in Ghana, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports that there are presently no good indicators of social benefit in forestry. Looking closely at food security literature this paper highlights both opportunities and potential barriers being institutionalized by REDD+ programs. Carbon tenure rights and benefit sharing plans for REDD+ generated revenue will be discussed as well as the social and environmental safeguards mandatory under contractual regimes. Recommendations will focus on how to quantify social benefit from forestry and utilize knowledge created in the field of food and nutrition security more effectively in a cross-disciplinary manner.

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