AstraZeneca has announced a partnership with the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance (CBA) and local partners to establish the first ‘Living Lab’ in Ghana.
This community-led project aims to plant 4.5 million trees by the end of 2025, with the aim of acquiring over 3 million surviving trees, and establish circular business models for local communities.
In projects co-designed with local stakeholders, the programme will restore 2,500 hectares of dry and savannah forest and demonstrate the benefits of biodiversity regeneration to the local economy through the creation of local jobs and training programmes.
This initiative is a new addition to the AZ Forest programme which aims to plant and maintain 50 million trees worldwide by 2025, while making a positive contribution to communities and local economies.
The natural forested land in the Atebubu and Wiase districts in central Ghana has been subjected to degradation and habitat change due to heavy encroachment by farmers and tree cutting for charcoal.
Local communities face challenging economic conditions and a deteriorating natural environment.
Integrating both traditional knowledge and innovative farming methods, the projects in Atebubu and Wiase place the local communities at the heart of landscape restoration.
The programme will combine natural forest restoration, agroforestry and woodlots, which will benefit people, society and the planet.
Project planting began in August 2021, with an initial trial of 100,000 trees.
Further planting will take place over the next four years, beginning in May this year.
Helping restore forests
Commenting on the initiative, the Head of Environmental Protection, AstraZeneca, Jason Snape, said the company was committed to helping restore forests for the health of people, society and the planet.
“The Living Lab in Ghana is a unique public-private partnership working with local communities to build social and ecological resilience, while inspiring action towards a circular bioeconomy.
“As part of our AZ Forest programme, we are proud to support the restoration of biodiversity and local livelihoods,” he stated.
For her part, the Country President of AstraZeneca Africa, Barbara Nel, said the company’s commitment to Africa extended beyond medicines and health access programmes.
“Through our AZ Forest programme in Ghana, in partnership with the CBA and in collaboration with government, we are firmly committed to supporting a healthy environment and improving socioeconomic development and livelihoods for Ghanaians,” she noted.