The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Lands and Forestry, Hon. Benito Owusu-Bio has emphasized the need for proper management of the country’s resources.
According to him, the future of the country Ghana and it’s socio-economic development, depends on how it’s natural resources are managed. He revealed that the Government of President Akufo-Addo is fully committed to the efficient , effective, responsible environmentally-sound and sustainable exploitation, management and use of our natural resources for the benefit of the Ghanaian people.
He represented the Sector Minister, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor at the Technical Meeting of World Bank Environmental Trust Funds and Partners to provide some highlights on the Environment and Natural Resources Sector of Ghana relating to the Three Trust Funds under the World Bank sponsored projects; PROGREEN, PROBLUE and Global Partnership for Sustainability (GPS).
Mr Owusu-Bio outlined some of Ghana’s efforts to contribute to the environmental trust fund with priorities hinged on major areas such as protecting and conserving the resource base, engaging in an aggressive forest landscape restoration, and social inclusion and livelihood enhancements, especially for forest fringe communities.
To protect the forest resources, Mr Owusu-Bio indicated that the Ministry has intensified law enforcement and deployed the Rapid Response Teams with the support of the Ghana Armed Forces to clamp down on illegal activities especially illegal mining and illegal logging in all Forest Reserves and wildlife Protected areas. In addition, reconnaissance, prospecting and exploration activities in Forest Reserves have been suspended except in exceptional circumstances.
Furthermore, he remarked that the Wildlife Resources Management Bill, which is currently before Parliament will be passed into law very soon and it has prescribed enhanced sanction regimes for forest offenses.
Protecting forests in the country
Mr Owusu-Bio indicated that while protecting the forest, government through the Ministry has also embarked on an aggressive afforestation and reforestation agenda including the flagship Green Ghana Project, to restore degraded landscape and contribute to global efforts to fight climate change.
He informed the meeting that on Friday June 9th, 2023, President Akufo-Addo led the whole nation to plant 10 million trees across the country and on behalf of the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and the Chairman of the Green Ghana National Planning Committee, he expressed his gratitude to all who joined in this tree planting exercise and called for the trees to be nurtured to maturity.
Following this, he gave the assurance that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources under the leadership of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is fully committed to working with all partners and stakeholders to develop a sustainable natural resources sector.
The deputy lands minister also in his speech thanked the bank and other partners for their continuous support to the development of the Environment and Natural Resources Sector of Ghana.
During a technical session after the opening ceremony, the Technical Director for Forestry, Mr. Joseph Osiakwan joined a panel discussion with four other panelists from other institutions including the Forestry Commission, Ministry of Environment ScienceTechnology and Innovation ( MESTI) and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Ghana was selected for this meeting due to it’s strong commitment to integrated and sustainable management of natural resources. There were ten other developments partners who also joined the meeting.
The focus of the meeting was primarily on matters of land-use change, forestry, biodiversity, wildlife protection, wetlands and mangroves, which also largely relates to PROGREEN and PROBLUE Trust fund projects in Ghana. It is worth noting that government has made tremendous inroads to protect nature and accelerate actions to fight Climate Change.
Also present at the meeting was the Country Director for the World Bank, Pierre Laporte, Manager of the PROGREEN Trust Fund, Tim Brown and the Global Director for Blue Economy, Valerie Hickey.