AstraZeneca, partners, reinforce commitment to restoring degraded forests for healthy environment, communities

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From Cyriacus Nnaji, Lagos

AstraZeneca in collaboration with NGPTA iNovaland partners, through the Global AZ Forest Programme has reinforced its commitment to restoring degraded ecosystems with six million tree planting initiative under the “Atebubu and Wiase Forest Landscape Restoration” project.

The community engagement, training and tree planting ceremony held in Atebubu, Ghana, on 7th June 2024 under the theme; “Promoting healthy environments for healthy communities convened farmers, in the Atebubu and Wiase traditional area, project partners, and environmental sustainability enthusiasts to celebrate reforestation progress and the adoption of sustainable landscape restoration practices. Under this project, five million trees will be planted to restore natural forests, while the remaining one million will be dedicated to community-led agroforestry endeavours.

In the last 3 years, over 4 million trees have been planted through natural forest restoration and Agroforestry. The project, one of the significant contributions to the Green Ghana Day 2024 initiative aims to build ecological and community resilience through nature-positive investments and sustainable practices.

Deepak Arora, Country President – African Cluster at AstraZeneca emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing environmental challenges and promoting community health. He noted that climate change and ecosystem degradation are not just environmental issues but also public health concerns, adding that AstraZeneca is focused on addressing these environmental factors which ultimately affect public health.

“At AstraZeneca, we recognise the fundamental link between a thriving environment and health. Through our commitment to sustainability and programmes like AZ Forest, we’re driving positive health and environmental impacts, and seeing the positive change such efforts can have on communities. Teaming up with NGPTA iNovaland and other key stakeholders, we’re honoured to be collaborating in this tree planting campaign. By co-designing this project, we aim to ensure that local communities are at the heart of landscape restoration, delivering natural forest restoration and agroforestry with ecological, economic, and community benefits,” said Arora.

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Through AZ Forest, AstraZeneca has committed to plant and maintain 200 million trees globally by 2030. The plan is to restore over 100,000 hectares across six continents as part of a commitment to climate action, investing in nature and biodiversity, and improving human health. Since the launch of AZ Forest in Ghana in 2022, the project has helped to address local challenges such as deforestation, declining soil fertility, agricultural productivity, unemployment, and forest fires. So far, more than 3.8 million trees have been planted, contributing to a more resilient food system, higher incomes for farmers, and ultimately stronger, healthier, and more resilient communities.

Speaking on behalf of NGPTA iNovaland Abraham Yelley, Project Coordinator, emphasised the importance of ground-up collaborative efforts in addressing environmental and social challenges. “In this project, we are not just planting trees—we are transforming lives. By uniting communities and all stakeholders, we have mobilised over 1,000 farmers in agroforestry, provided high-quality mango and cashew seedlings, and delivered technical support to see the trees grow. Together, we are addressing food security, enhancing nutrition, and building climate resilience, creating a healthier, more prosperous future for communities.”

Against the backdrop of alarming statistics indicating record-breaking temperatures and ecological threats, programmes like AZ Forest, and national projects like “Green Ghana” are of critical importance in combating the escalating climate crisis and driving environmental sustainability. The initiative will extend beyond a single occasion. Farmer-led tree planting activities will persist for several weeks, adding to the overall tree count initiated on Green Ghana Day. Concurrently, the regular project tree planting efforts will carry on throughout the planting season.

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Green Ghana Day is an annual event held in Ghana to highlight the nation’s dedication to environmental stewardship and sustainable development through tree planting to boost green cover, biodiversity, and counter the effects of climate change.

AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/Nasdaq: AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, and commercialisation of prescription medicines in oncology, pharmaceuticals, including cardiovascular, renal, metabolism, and respiratory and immunology. With operations in over 100 countries, AstraZeneca’s innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

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