Feature Article of Fri, 21 Apr 20174

An open letter to Israel's Ambassador to Ghana

Your Excellency,

I shall go straight to the point: You could actually improve the trade relationship between Israel and Ghana, considerably, by using the protection of the remainder of Ghana's natural heritage, to neutralise the massive collective carbon footprint of both Corporate Israel and the State of Israel itself - in carbon credit deals with fringe-forest communities.

Excellency, would such a win-win low-carbon development (LCD) initiative not provide direct cash payments to fringe-forest communities, as well as the Forestry Commission, as Redd+ carbon credit payment schemes supporting community carbon sequestration initiatives, by companies such as the airline El Al and Israel's high-tech sector?

Ditto neutralise the carbon footprint of the Israeli Self-Defence Forces?

If fringe-forest communities benefit directly financially from protecting forests it will guarantee the long-term future of the remainder of our nation's natural heritage - and secure a reasonably good quality of life for future generations of our people at a time when global climate change is impacting our continent so negatively.

As you know, the relationship between Israel and Ghana dates back to the period during the tenure of Ghana's first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

President Nkrumah borrowed many ideas from Israel, such as the Workers Brigade that provided jobs for many young Ghanaians and also did a lot of innovative work in our nation's agricultural sector then.

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And the Israeli road construction company Solel Boneh was a pioneer in Ghana's road construction sector. It built the concrete Accra-Tema motorway.

Although it is not my place to speak on his behalf, and indeed I do not pretend to do so, Excellency, I am sure that you could collaborate with the Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, who being a committed environmentalist, will doubtless be happy to welcome collaboration between your embassy and his Akyem Abuakwa State Council, for a pilot green economy project.

That will enable your embassy to adopt the Atewa Range upland evergreen rainforest - a designated Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA) by Conservation International - which serves as watershed for three major river systems, the Birim, Ayensu and Densu, which provide the drinking water supply of much of southern urban Ghana, for that innovative LCD initiative giving Israel the opportunity to neutralise its considerable carbon footprint.

Furthermore, the restoration of land degraded by illegal gold miners and illegal loggers across vast swathes of the Ghanaian countryside, could be carried out in Akyem Abuakwa by Kibbutz-style cooperatives of unemployed rural youth previously engaged in illegal gold mining and illegal logging, leveraging the Workers Brigade model - in agro-forestry tree plantations and growing vertiver grass to remove the heavy metals and other toxins from degraded land in mined out gold concessions.

Thank you, Excellency.

Yours in the service of Mother Ghana,

Kofi.

Columnist: Kofi Thompson

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