For Ghana’s Ashanti people — especially the farmers among them — Asase ye Duru is an important figure: she’s the Earth goddess of fertility.
That also made her the perfect patron for ‘Asase Fest’, a side event at last month’s Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) conference in Accra. Dubbed a ‘restoration festival’, Asase Fest offered twelve highly interactive sessions across two days, exploring ways to boost restoration practices — and to engage in ways that are ‘radically inclusive’ of all stakeholders within a community and its ecosystem.
On the first day, participants learned about effective landscape restoration practices from the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG). Then, they heard from the Satoyama Initiative and the Netherlands Environmental Planning Agency about the importance of restoration for mainstreaming biodiversity. Following this, a range of practical examples of restoration in Ghana were shared by plantation management company FORM Ghana, the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR), and environmental NGOs A Rocha Ghana, Tropenbos and The Green Republic. GLF’s Youth in Landscapes Initiative wrapped up the day with their own restoration experience from the Restoration Youth Camp, which ran for three days prior to GLF Accra and gathered young practitioners from across the globe.
On day two, attendees dived into the pre-conditions for inclusive and ‘just’ landscape restoration, through sessions led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Ghanaian tenure-security NGO COLANDEF, the World Bank, the Solidaridad Network, the Tamale University for Development Studies, the Sunyani Technical University, the Wageningen University’s Youth in Landscapes group and the participants of the “Securing Rights in Landscapes” course. “I have learned that landscape restoration is much more than just planting trees,” said Latif Abdulai Alhassan of The Green Republic, a youth-driven, grassroots movement to ‘make Ghana green again’. “It is about the right to land, and the right to decide which is the best tree and the best place to plant.”