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 policy analyst and media practitioner with close to a decade of experience in policy, data and investigative journalism. Gideon is a co-founder of iWatch Africa. He is an author; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation, Commonwealth Youth Program ,Free Press Unlimited and Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative. Gideon is the founder of Sustainable Ocean Alliance Ghana. He was a 2021 Policy Leader Fellow at the European University Institute, School of Trans-national Governance in Florence, Italy and 2020/21 Open Internet For Democracy Leader. Gideon was also a 2022 Visiting Scholar/Reuters Fellow at the University of Oxford, UK and was selected as a 2022 TRF/Trust Conference Changemaker. He is currently the Africa Regional Cordinator for Environmental Justice Foundation and a 2023 Pulitzer ORN Fellow. Email: gideonsarpong@iwatchafrica.org.

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