Accra, Aug. 31, GNA - An 18-member delegation from Mali is in the country on a five-day duty tour to strengthen sub-regional cooperation in the protection of wetlands. The team, which is expecting to exchange experiences on the management of wetlands as well as learn from Ghana on the management of it Ramsar sites, would visit places such as the Amansuri Wetland in the Western Nzema area of the Western Region and the Songhor and Pambros in the Greater Accra Region.
The team will also visit the African Wetland at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Mr Andrew Adjei Yeboah, Deputy Minister, Lands, Forestry and Mines, welcoming the team to Ghana reminded them of the Environment Initiative of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which touched on the Wetland Strategy.
"The strategy aims to maintain and or improve the ecological integrity of wetland ecosystems so as to enhance the contribution of wetlands in the economic and social development of Africa". He said the NEPAD Wetland Strategy and Action Plan for Africa and Ghana's own National Wetlands Conservation Strategy shared common principles that the success of wetland conservation and wise use would enable a good supply of clean water, facilitate sanitation and reduce poverty.
It would also contribute to the attainment of the long- term objectives of food security plans and economic development, he said. Mr Adjei-Yeboah said Ghana's Wetlands Conservation Strategy sought to incorporate wetland management into the day-to-day activities of government, local authorities, communities and individuals within the broader context of environmental management.
He expressed optimism that through learning, sharing of experience and information wetland managers of both Ghana and Mali would be able to exercise a high sense of technical competence in managing their respective wetland resources. "We will also be able to assist our local communities living in and around wetland areas to harmoniously use our wetland resources to generate enough income to improve upon their standard of living and thereby reduce their poverty levels". Mr Adjei-Yeboah said wetland ecosystems were part of a nation's natural wealth and therefore "we have to ensure a long-term ecological viability of our wetlands".
He called on both countries to encourage development activities that were compatible with the maintenance of wetland ecosystems to provide continuous benefits to communities living within those areas. The Minister expressed the hope that the visit would serve as the beginning of more fruitful exchanges and cooperation to support the conservation and wise use of the wetlands. Ghana has a large number of wetlands with five designated as Ramsar site of international significance while Mali has only one Ramsar site within the inner Niger Delta covering an area of about 30, 000 square kilometres.
Mr Amadou Diallo, leader of the team and Advisor to the Minister of Environment of Mali said there was the need to foster collaboration between the two ministries on the management of wetlands. "We know Ghana has more experience in wetland management hence our choice of Ghana for collaboration," he said. 31 Aug. 05