U.S. Ambassador to Ghana Stephanie S. Sullivan on Friday, on 16 July 2021 joined the Buipewura, Abdoulai Jinapor II, and members of the Global Shea Alliance (GSA) to commemorate Shea Day with a tree planting event within the grounds of the Yagbonwura’s Jakpa Palace in Damongo.
The event was part of the Action for Shea Parklands initiative, which was launched in 2020 to preserve and protect the shea parklands across West Africa.
Ambassador Sullivan addressed a cross-section of shea industry stakeholders. The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has supported women’s cooperatives across northern Ghana to plant 15,000 shea trees during the month of July, recognized as “shea month.”
Ambassador Sullivan, who launched the Action for Shea Parklands initiative in 2020, emphasized the critical need to protect shea parklands and take progressive action to reverse the effects of degradation.
She stated, “It is imperative that communities lead to action at the local level – restoration begins with a clear understanding of your landscape and your needs. Each one of us here must then take action to promote climate resilience, and tree planting is a positive first step. The task is more complex than simply planting trees. The restorative process requires our long-term investment in the management and growth of the trees we plant today and into the future.”
She further expressed the U.S. government’s commitment to contribute to global climate solutions, highlighting the U.S. return to the Paris Climate Agreement saying the United States supports the global one trillion tree initiative, which seeks to conserve, restore, and grow one trillion trees by 2030.
Throughout the month of July, USAID is partnering with the GSA to mobilize stakeholders across the globe to act now and preserve the shea parklands.
USAID is supporting GSA members to undertake cross-regional activities such as tree planting, parkland management training, advocacy, and social media campaigns in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo under the Sustainable Shea Initiative (SSI).
The Sustainable Shea Initiative is an $18 million, five-year program that promotes the sustainable expansion of the shea industry in Ghana, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Mali, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso, as well as increases the incomes of hundreds of thousands of rural women.
In Ghana, 20,000 trees will be planted across five northern regions this year alone.