Ghana – the Article 6 pioneer

In November 2020, Ghana signed its first bilateral climate agreement under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement with Switzerland. Two years later in December 2022, the country published a national climate protection policy and launched the specially created Carbon Market Office (CMO) in connection with this. Together with the Ghana Carbon Registry, the country has therefore laid a solid foundation for the implemen- tation of cooperative climate protection measures as part of the Paris Agreement. Here, we take a look at the factors that favoured this rapid introduction and the next steps in the process.

In Ghana, the cooperative approach as detailed in Article 6 (A6) of the Paris Agreement saw very early support at the highest political level. The goal was to play an active role in driving climate protection forward, shaping the carbon markets and harnessing them for the benefit of the country. Following the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Switzerland and Ghana in spring 2020, the KliK Foundation contacted Ghana as a purchaser of future Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs). Initial discussions were then held with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ghana’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI) on the implementation of Article 6.2 (with a focus on bilateral cooperations between countries) and the development of pilot activities. Shortly afterwards, the KliK Foundation issued a call for tenders on these pilot activities.

On the recommendation of the KliK Foundation, a technical advisory board was established to clarify the scope, conditions for participation, delimitation and other questions relating to the implementation of mitigation activities, and also to assess and approve the submitted project ideas. Members from different departments in various ministries were part of this board, which advised on the development of initial activities. One of the submitted project ideas for a National Clean Energy Programme (NCEP) came from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and was developed further by the KliK Foundation. Ghana has developed its national climate protection policy based on a roadmap for the implementation of A6 mitigation activities. The experiences of the technical advisory board during the development of the pilot activities served as an important framework for discussion.

How can ambitions relating to A6 mitigation activities be enhanced in the private sector?
Countries who are interested in cooperative climate action under Article 6 must meet the requirements laid out by the domestic private sector for the implementation of mitigation activities. Moreover, for those countries, it is also necessary to publicise the A6 process in the private sector to highlight the opportunities, and explain the benefits of the carbon markets, and to establish know-how. Ghana actively involved domestic business associations from the outset and raised their interest within the carbon market space. However, according to Juliana Bempah from the Ghana Carbon Market Office (CMO), constant efforts are required to motivate them and ensure that there is adequate readiness within the private sector to unlock green investment. The CMO has developed a comprehensive outreach and activity sourcing programme to build the capacities and raise awareness.

Ghana’s national policy

Ghana’s policy of participating in international carbon markets governs, among other things, the implementation of guidelines and regulations that define the testing, approval and transaction of emission reductions. The policy also defines the decision-making bodies and lists the project types that have been approved by the government for the carbon markets.

This binding policy allows the private sector to gain knowledge of the advantages of climate protection activities under A6 in order to develop and submit concrete ideas. At the same time, it also offers an incentive to the private sector to align their business strategies based on the clear regulations on the carbon markets under Article 6.2. Through the utilisation of the carbon markets and the resulting subsidies, interested companies gain access to additional investment possibilities. By investing in cleaner technologies or sustainable practices, they improve their efficiency, benefit from cost reductions and position themselves as a climate-aware company through their commitment to environmental sustainability. The strict compliance requirements set by the Paris Agreement and the bilateral climate agreements ensure integrity and credibility are maintained.

The rapid introduction of the Ghanaian policy is also of great importance to the KliK Foundation. The individual steps in the authorisation process are clearly defined for the developers and operators of greenhouse gas mitigation activities. The passing of the policy in Ghana has demonstrated how important it is that the partner country establishes and organises the decision-making bodies as part of the authorisation process. These bodies accompany each individual climate protection activity, from submission of the idea all the way through to authorisation. The CMO liaises with all participants and remains in close contact with the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) for coordination of the mitigation activities. Differences to the authorisation process in Switzerland can then be synchronised on a process level.

Implementation of the A6.2 climate protection activities

In addition to the National Clean Energy Programme (NCEP), further suggestions were received by the KliK Foundation following the invitation to tender for pilot mitigation activities in Ghana. Diverse advertising campaigns and the recruitment of a local General Manager led to the submission of numerous additional Mitigation Activity Idea Notes (MAINs). Promising activities were recommended for further development. Among others, the KliK portfolio contains suggestions for activities in the fields of Green Cooling, E-Mobility and sustainable cooking stoves. The “Transformative Cookstove Activity in Rural Ghana” was approved by Ghana and Switzerland at the end of January 2024. Implementation has already started here. The resulting ITMOs will be purchased by the KliK Foundation until the end of 2030 to ensure the viability of the activities.

At the same time, the KliK Foundation also remains interested in suggestions from various areas with which mitigation activities can be implemented in addition to the NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) specified by Ghana. These have to result in emission reductions of at least 250,000 tonnes of CO₂ equivalent for the period up to the end of 2030.

From implementation of a mitigation activity to the annual issuance of ITMOs
At present, Ghana has only authorised one of the mitigation activities that is supported by the KliK Foundation and is currently being implemented. The world’s first Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs) for crediting to Swiss climate targets under Article 6.2 were issued as part of the cooperation with Thailand. The KliK Foundation has purchased the ITMOs from the Thai activity owner Energy Absolute Public Company Limited and will use these for meeting their carbon offset obligations in line with the Swiss CO₂ Act. Switzerland intends to use ITMOs to contribute towards achieving its climate targets under the Paris Agreement. The KliK Foundation has illustrated the various steps – from implementation of the programme through to issuance of the ITMOs – in an "Implementation Wheel". This can be found on the KliK website.