iWatch Africa joins the World Economic Forum 1 Trillion Trees Initiative as part of our Climate Action

iWatch Africa officially joined the World Economic Forum (WEF) 1 Trillion Tree Initiative last Saturday as part of its plans to help nature and fight climate change.

The WEF launched a global initiative to grow, restore and conserve 1 trillion trees around the world – in a bid to restore biodiversity and help fight climate change by 2050 during its last meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

The 1t.org project aims to unite governments, non-governmental organisations, businesses and individuals in a “mass-scale nature restoration.”

iWatch Africa as part of its climate action will collaborate with several organisations including the WEF to plant 5000 trees in Ghana in the next five years.

According to recent figures by the United Nations, Africa stands to be severely impacted by climate change as close to 70 percent of the population directly depend on the climate for their livelihoods.

Project Director of iWatch Africa, Justice Kumordzi underscored the importance of this initiative during the open data day conference which was held in Accra.

“We are an organization dedicated to effecting lasting change in our environment. Our climate action will focus on greening the country through our trees planting exercise using the Global Forest Watch satellite data as a guide. We will also focus on ocean conservation and protection of marine resources. This is important in promoting food security in the next decade,” he explained.

In 2018, a Global Forest Watch report revealed that there was a, “60% increase in Ghana’s primary rain forest loss in 2018 compared to 2017, the highest in the world. The second highest was neighboring Côte d’Ivoire with a 28% increase.”

Gideon Sarpong, Policy and News Director of iWatch Africa stressed the need to focus on policy options that would deal with reducing the financing gap for climate change in Africa as well as incorporating ocean conservation models into local development plans.

“Currently, there is so much reliance on donor organisations in fighting climate change in Africa. I think we have to begin some work on domestic resource mobilization for climate change around the continent. More importantly, climate and ocean action which is at the core of our initiative must be incorporated into local development plans especially at the decentralized level. We are prepared to lead this charge,” he said.

The initiative was unveiled at the Kofi Annan ICT Center in Accra during the Open Data Day Forum in collaboration with GOIF with support from the Open Knowledge Foundation.

iWatch Africa’s Open Data Day in Accra

The open data day forum focused on leveraging public domain satellite and drone imagery to track deforestation and water pollution in Africa.

Credit: iWatch Africa

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Gideon Sarpong

Gideon Sarpong is a media practitioner with over six years experience in data, investigative and policy journalism. Gideon is currently the Policy and News Director at iWatch Africa. His major role includes developing news strategy for correspondents across Ghana, as well as designing project and policy focus for the organisation. He is an author with over eight publications; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation (Wealth of Nations Program), Commonwealth Youth Program (DYLP) and Bloomberg Data for Health Program. Gideon holds a degree in economics from the University of Cape Coast and PgD in Policy Journalism and Media Studies from the University of Zambia. He is a firm believer in the use of data journalism and technology for development and is committed to promoting transparency and accountability in Africa.

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