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04.02.2010 General News

Ghana to get radical on preservation of wetlands

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Ghana to get radical on preservation of wetlands
February 04, 2010
Accra, Feb. 4, GNA - Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology (MEST), has reiterated government commitment to review policies or amend the relevant legislation that impedes the protection of the country's wetlands to ensure long-term ecological viability.

Speaking at a national forum to mark World Wetlands Day, Ms Ayittey said weak legislation and institutional structures have resulted in poor co-ordination and management of the country's biodiversity, leading to the loss of many wetlands.

The forum on the theme: "Wetlands, Your Life Support," was organised by the Centre for African Wetlands with support from the Ghana Chamber of Mines and Goldfields Ghana Limited.

It was geared towards seeking the appropriate actions that would protect the natural habitatfrom further losses and degradation.

Participants discussed climate change impact on wetlands and how good management could mitigate the effects.

Ms Ayittey expressed worry that most wetlands had already been destroyed while those listed as Ramsar sites continue to face an ever increasing onslaught of natural and human disturbances.

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, called the Ramsar Convention, is an inter-governmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international co-operation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources

"We do not even know how many biodiversity is gone with the lost and degraded wetlands in our country," the Minister said.

Ms Ayittey said the MEST would support the quest for funding to assist all relevant institutions to implement all biodiversity or environment-related conventions that the government had ratified.

Besides, the Ministry will help in the process of identifying priorities and targets as well as track progress with respect to wetlands conservation, including the integration of the conservation and wise-use principle into domestic planning and decision-making processes.

Other areas that the Ministry would offer assistance are the conduct of environmental impact assessments and the training of appropriate personnel to manage wetlands and other natural resources.

Some resource persons who spoke at the forum called for balance in national development efforts and the quest for economic growth with rational exploitation of natural resources to protect the environment.

Besides, efforts must be made to maintain healthy wetlands as this could contribute significantly to potential solutions to climate change.

Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, Founder and Chairman of the Management Board of the Centre for African Wetlands, said the recommendations from the forum would be disseminated to relevant national non-governmental organisations and international partners.

She urged the participants to take the recommendations seriously and do all they could to help protect and manage the nation's wetlands for the benefit of mankind and animals.


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