AstraZeneca has announced a partnership with the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance (CBA) and local partners to establish the first ‘Living Lab’ in Ghana.
This community-led project aims to plant 4.5 million trees by the end of 2025, with the aim for over 3 million surviving trees, and establish circular business models for local communities.
In projects co-designed with local stakeholders, the programme will restore 2,500 hectares of dry and savannah forest and demonstrate the benefits of biodiversity regeneration to the local economy, through the creation of local jobs and training programmes.
This initiative is a new addition to the AZ Forest programme, which aims to plant and maintain 50 million trees worldwide by 2025, while making a positive contribution to communities and local economies.
The natural forested land in the Atebubu and Wiase districts in the Bono East Region of Ghana has been subject to degradation and habitat change due to heavy encroachment by farmers and tree cutting for charcoal. Local communities face challenging economic conditions and a deteriorating natural environment.
Integrating both traditional knowledge and innovative farming methods, the projects in Atebubu and Wiase place the local communities at the heart of landscape restoration. The programme will combine natural forest restoration, agroforestry and woodlots, benefiting people, society and planet, through:
- Enhanced biodiversity, improved soil and local air quality, protected watersheds
- Improved livelihoods through employment in tree nurseries and the timber value chain
- The creation of nature-based business models for smallholder farmers
Project planting began in August 2021, with an initial trial of 100,000 trees. Further planting will take place over the next four years, beginning in May this year.
Jason Snape, Head of Environmental Protection, AstraZeneca, says “At AstraZeneca, we are committed to helping to restore forests for the health of people, society and the planet. The Living Lab in Ghana is a unique public-private partnership working with local communities to build social and ecological resilience, while inspiring action towards a circular bioeconomy. As part of our AZ Forest programme, we are proud to support the restoration of biodiversity and local livelihoods.”
Marc Palahi, Circular Bioeconomy Alliance Chair, said: “With the support of AstraZeneca, we have co-designed and are implementing forest actions based on sound scientific evidence and inclusive dialogue, creating public-private-community partnerships to foster ecological and community resilience in central Ghana.”
Barbara Nel, African Cluster (SA, SSA, FSA) Country President at AstraZeneca, said: “Our commitment to Africa extends beyond our medicines and health access programmes. Through our AZ Forest programme in Ghana, in partnership the CBA and in collaboration with government, we are firmly committed to supporting a healthy environment and improving socioeconomic development and livelihoods for Ghanaians.”
AstraZeneca has been working with stakeholders in Africa for over three decades to ensure that more patients in Africa have access to high quality healthcare, from prevention and screening programmes to supporting early intervention, treatment and disease management. Launched in 2020, the Africa PUMUA Initiative (breathe) is committed to redefining paediatric and adult asthma care in Ghana. PUMUA focuses on local health system strengthening, health worker capacity building, awareness and education activities, and equitable access to AstraZeneca’s respiratory medicines for patients. In 2021, the programme activated 800 nebulisation stations in Kenya, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Senegal.
Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) is AstraZeneca’s innovative programme committed to tackling hypertension and the increasing burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) across Africa. HHA is active across Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Senegal. Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda and Ghana, with plans to launch in Rwanda, and as of 2021, delivered over 23 million screenings cumulatively. Since launching in Ghana in 2019, HHA has conducted over 1.1 million blood pressure screenings in the community and in healthcare facilities; trained 179 healthcare workers to provide education and awareness, screening and treatment services for hypertension; and identified over 258,000 elevated blood pressure readings.