The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Lands and Forestry, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio(MP) has called for collaborative and urgent efforts to salvage the environment from further destruction.
He said “We are in trying times, our environment, forests, and water systems are in need of our urgent help. We have only one Ghana, therefore the responsibility lies on all of us to make a difference”
Hon. Owusu-Bio said this during his opening statement at the Ghana Forest Investment Programme (GFIP) Stakeholder Validation Workshop held in Accra on Thursday, 16th June, 2022.
Addressing the participants, the Deputy Minister asserted that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, believes in partnership, collaboration, mutual respect and collective effort as the main strategy to overcome the current situation the country finds it self in and hence the call.
Hon. Owusu-Bio noted that the emerging challenges affecting the environment, forests, and other natural resources cannot be overemphasized.”We can all attest to the changing patterns in our rainfall, temperatures and the resultant rampant floods in our various communities” he said.
He said, the Ghana Forest Investment Programme (GFIP) over the years has been one of the opportunities available to the Ministry to address some of the underlying drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the country, and touted a number of things the programme has contributed.
The Minister noted that GFIP has managed to achieve majority of the key targets in a transparent and inclusive manner which has brought major funding partners, Climate Investment Fund and the World Bank, to provide an additional funding to tackle other emerging issues on the landscape.
“The World Bank has fully bought into the Community Resource Management Areas (CREMAs) concept and are exploring the opportunity of adopting it in future projects, in-country and outside of Ghana”,
Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio, noted that managing Artisanal Small Scale Mining has become a challenge in recent years with unimaginable visible destruction to forests and riverine systems but was quick to add that as a people, “we have risen to calls to halt this destruction which poses an existential threat to all Ghanaians”.
He disclosed that the strategic plan which is being discussed in the forum includes a study on institutional and legislative framework for mining rehabilitation in the Artisanal Small Scale Mining Value Chain.
He hoped that the study will bring out clearly, the various stakeholders in the value chain, particularly the Government Agencies, where their roles interact, overlap, identify gaps and make recommendations to enhance coordination and reducing duplication and redundancies in the system.
The Deputy Minister maintained the importance of salvaging the areas destroyed and possibly rehabilitate them to levels that can support lives and livelihoods.
He further stated that although the initiative under the GFIP is a pilot and has reflected in the Strategic Plan, its intention is to rehabilitate a total of 150 hectares spread across Afao Hills Forest Reserve in Bibiani Forest District, Supoma and Denyua Forest Reserves in the Bekwai Forest District.
Hon. Benito said, to monitor and supervise the rehabilitation work to ensure sustainability and ownership, the Project has instituted District Implementation Teams to ensure that the planned value for the initiative is achieved.
The Deputy Minister assured participants that he will personally come on board when implementation of the programme begins as he believes in collaborative work.
The Stakeholder Validation workshop on the Draft Strategic Plan for reclamation saw participants drawn from the forest Districts, the Mining Regions and the Ministry.