The Landscape Governance
The Bia – Juaboso Community Landscape Governance
The role and responsibilities of the community landscape governance body to effectively manage activities of landscape and address deforestation
Several factors including unsustainable agricultural practices, lack of land-use planning, unregulated mining and logging activities etc. lie at the root of deforestation and forest degradation in Ghana. The key challenge in dealing with this root is the lack of a well-organized natural resource governance structure at the landscape, district and community level to regulate activities of stakeholders. In line with this, the 3PRCL project established a governance structure for the 243,561ha Bia-Juabeso landscape (Project Site) in the Western North Region to ensure effective management of its renewable natural resources such as cocoa and forests. The governance structure is a community-based structure with representatives at each level of the governance hierarchy within a Hotspot Intervention Area (HIA). An HIA is a landscape which has been prioritized for the implementation of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and sustainable climate-smart cocoa production activities.
The structure was formed to have oversight responsibility over land-use issues thereby helping to curb deforestation and promote climate-smart cocoa production at the community level. The structure comprises a basic level known as the Community Resource Management Committee (CRMC). Elected representatives of the CRMC form the Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) whose executives are the CREMA Executive Committee CEC. The next level is the sub-HIA which is a cluster of 1 or 2 CREMAs plus an adjoining Non-CREMA Area (NCA). Each sub-HIA has 7 members who are elected from the respective CREMAs and NCAs constituting that particular sub-HIA. The 7-member body is called the sub-HIA Executive Committee (SHEC). The number of representatives chosen from a particular CREMA or NCA to be at the SHEC level is determined by the sizes of their communities and their population. Currently, there are six (6) Sub-HIAs in the Bia-Juabeso HIA.
Each sub-HIA elects 2 reps to represent them on the HIA Management Board (HMB) making their number 12. However, an additional slot is reserved for the Rain Forest Alliance Landscape Management Board which was already in existence in the landscape (albeit with very limited responsibility) prior to the inception of the 3PRCL Project. This brings the total HMB membership to 13. The sub-HIAs have a leadership of 4 people who lead the activities of the group at the sub-HIA level but one doesn’t need to be part of the 4 before he/she can be elected to represent the group at the HMB level. The HMB oversees and implements activities at the landscape or HIA level. Conscious effort was made to ensure gender balance in the election of reps to the various levels of the governance structure. For instance, the 13-member HMB is made up of 7 males and 6 females.
The Partners (Government Agencies, NGOs, Private sector companies) signs a Framework Agreement with the HMB and co-manage the landscape via an HIA Implementation Committee.
Most of the lowest building block of the governance structure – the CREMAs - were already in existence, albeit, dormant. It was revamped by the 3PRCL Project and the organizations that supported this are Wildlife Division of Forestry Commission, Forest Services Division of Forestry Commission, Rainforest Alliance, Nature Conservation Research Centre, Tropenbos Ghana, SNV Dutch Development Organization, Agro-Eco Louis Bolt Institute, Touton and COCOBOD. The 6 sub-HIAs were built from 11 CREMAs and 5 NCAs to handle the management of resources at a level higher than the CREMA. Currently, the six (6) Sub-HIAs are; Krokosue Hills, Juaboso-Dakwakrom, Sukusuku-Debe, Asuobia, Yawmatwa-Manzan and Asuopiri sub-HIAs. Each sub-HIA is entitled to 1-2 patrons who are drawn from the traditional authorities or influential community members (Sub-Chiefs). They serve as advisers to the sub-HIA and are the final arbiters in traditional matters arising from activities within the sub-HIA. Patrons also act in making peace and unity in order to advance development within the sub-HIA.