The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Mines, Hon. George Mireku Duker has on Tuesday, 7th November, 2023, called on the World Bank to hold up high collaboration and partnership as the cornerstone to the success of the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining Project. (GLRSSMP).
He made this call when he joined the GLRSSMP, World Bank team and other stakeholders to on behalf of the Sector Minister, open the Kick-off Meeting for the last Implementation Support Mission of the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining Project in Accra.
The Deputy Minister said as partners, their achievements so far have been possible due to the collective efforts of the Government of Ghana, other funding partners, key implementing agencies, small-scale miners, farmers, local authority, the traditional authority, community representatives and each and every one of us gathered for the meeting.
He reminded the house that together, they have laid the foundation for responsible and sustainable landscape restoration practices to thrive. Adding that it is imperative to continue to unite in leveraging strengths and expertise, to create an enabling environment that fosters sustainable landscape restoration and small-scale mining.
The Deputy Minister expressed optimism as the Kick-off Meeting for the last Implementation Support Mission commenced saying that this mission, unfolding from November 7-13, 2023, signifies a crucial phase in the Ministry’s quest for sustainable mining practices and restoration of degraded landscapes in Ghana.
He acknowledged some remarkable achievements of the GLRSSMP since its effectiveness in February, 2022. From the small scale mining side of the project, he appreciated the efforts by the Project in collaboration with relevant implementation team, to have inaugurated and built capacity of the District Mining Committees among others.
On the landscape restoration side, he talked about the total land area covered with wood lot, agro-forestry, riparian vegetation, reafforestation in forest reserves, sustainable agricultural practices and efforts made to strengthen institutions and improve monitoring and coordination.
Hon. George Mireku Duker opined that their invaluable insights will help uncover gaps and areas that require improvement. Stressing that “Now is the time to enhance our knowledge, strengthen our partnerships, and ignite positive change in the country. Ghana’s artisanal small-scale mining, agricultural, forestry, the wildlife and the cocoa sectors of our beloved country, Ghana”.
On behalf of the Sector Minister and that of MESTI, he expressed gratitude to the World Bank, alongside the Project Coordinating Units (PCUs), for organizing this biannual Implementation Support Mission. “Your support and collaboration have been invaluable in monitoring the progress of the project and identifying any issues or risks that may hinder its timely and effective completion”. he stated.
He said it is evident, that under the abled leadership of H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Sector Ministers, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor (MLNR) and Hon. Dr. Kwaku Afriyie (MESTI), the Government is doing its part in restoring landscape and putting the ASM, Agricultural and the Forestry sectors on a responsible and sustainable path.
Hon. Duker however noted that the Ministry is not impressed with pace of Implementation which he revealed was partly due to challenges in developing terms of reference, and technical specifications for procurement items at the implementation agencies and partly due to the delays of the World Bank due diligence processes.
He went on to wish the team a resounding success and a highly productive Implementation Support Mission. Stressing that together, they can seize this opportunity to learn, collaborate, and chart a course towards a sustainable and environmentally conscious small-scale mining and landscape sectors in Ghana.
On her part, the Senior Natural Resources Management Specialist with the world bank, Madhavi M. Pillai said, their mission is to set right all wavering issues and see how best they can make progress on both aspects of the project in question.
She was of the view that for the full success of the entire project, the two half’s of the project, thus; the Small Scale and Artisanal Mining part and the Landscape Restoration part must both see progress and this she said can be achieved through constant communication among parties.
The Specialist assured the Deputy Minister that the World Bank will make every effort to ensure that all Coordinators on this project are fully aware of the Banks requirements going forward to avoid any delays.
She also emphasized the need for all partners to make good use of their offices in Accra, as their doors are always opened to all teams involved for constant communications which she hoped will help resolve most of the issues oulined.
Other parties involved in the Kick-off Meeting include the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining Project (GLRSSMP), Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Cocoabod, Minerals Commission and the Forestry Commission.