Tano-Ankasa Community Forest Project
The project aims to join the Kwabre Forest in Ghana with the Tanoé Forest in Côte d’Ivoire to create a transborder forest. The non-profit organization, Research and Actions for the Conservation of Primates in Côte d’Ivoire (RASAP-CI) is currently helping the communities surrounding the Tanoé Forest to sustainably manage their rainforest. However, people from outside the rural communities are illegally trafficking lumber, bushmeat and other forest products across Tanoé River which forms the border between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
The apprehension and prosecution of illegal offenders is difficult once the perpetrators have crossed the border as the traditional authorities in the communities have no jurisdiction over the trafficking of illegal products that have been obtained from outside their respective lands.
2015 saw the first meeting in Ghana between both countries to formularize a plan to work together in preventing such illegal activity and exportation routes. The meeting introduced methods and activities from each country and discussions were held on the positives of collaboration and how issues may be mitigated. A transborder forest, which will see amongst other efforts joint patrolling, will have a huge impact on illegal activities.
At the end of March 2016 another workshop was held in Ghana. Community members, government officials, primatologists and NGO representatives all attended from both Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Presentations were given on the community initiatives including their management structures, ecology and importance of the areas, wildlife and logging laws, examples of transborder projects already implemented in Africa and an overview on the IUCN Guidelines on transborder initiatives. There was also the opportunity for questions and discussions. The next stage will be to compile action plans and management structure.
In 2018, three meetings were held to establish a steering committee and to draft an MOU for the transborder project between Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. All the stake holders were present at the meetings, which included Government representatives from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, representatives from the community organisations - the CREMA and the FETIRE from the Côte d’Ivoire, facilitating NGOs (WAPCA and RASAP CI) and a representative from Man and Nature (the funding agency). By the end of 2018, the steering committee had been duly constituted and the first draft of the MOU completed and presented to the facilitators and donors.
Three transborder patrols were conducted by the end of 2018. The patrols led to the confiscation of approximately 300 timber planks and five chainsaws. Most of the lumber confiscated came from across the Tano River in Côte d’Ivoire. The patrols involved representatives from Wildlife Division of Ghana, a representative from the Forestry department of Côte d’Ivoire, Community monitoring team members from both CREMA and FETIRE and also a representative from WAPCA. The CREMA team also helped to conduct conservation education and elections in Astymenu and Alangonou in the Côte d’Ivoire.