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Urgent Action Is Needed To Protect Our Environment- Owusu-Benito

Urgent Action Is Needed To Protect Our Environment- Owusu-Benito

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 the country is in trying times, and the environment, forests, and water systems need urgent help. 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.

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 itself in and hence the call.

Hon. Owusu-Bio noted that the emerging challenges affecting the environment, forests, and other natural resources cannot be overemphasized. He then pointed out the changing patterns in our rainfall, temperatures and the resultant rampant floods in our various communities.

 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 several things the programme has contributed.

The Minister noted that GFIP has managed to achieve the majority of the key target transparently and inclusively which has brought major funding partners, Climate Investment Fund and the World Bank, to provide additional funding to the other emerging issues on the landscape. 

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 to rise 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 form includes the study of the institutional and legislative framework for mining rehabilitation in the Artisanal Small Scale Mining Value Chain.

He hoped that the study wi out clearly, the various stakeholders in the value chain, particularly the Government Agencies, where their roles interact, overlap, identify gaps and make recommendations coordinating and reducing duplication and redundancies in the system.

The Deputy Minister maintained the importance of salvaging the areas destroyed and possibly rehabilirehabilitating levels that can support lives and livelihoods. He further stated that although the initiative under the GFIP is a pilot and has been reflected in the Strategic Plan, it intends to rehabilitate a total of 150 hectares spread across Afro Hills Forest Reserve in Bibiani Forest District, been  Supoma and Denyua Forest Reserve it intends 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.

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