02.11.2004 General News

Ghana hosts marine resource protection project

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Accra, Nov. 2, GNA - Ghana has been selected among 16 countries along the Gulf of Guinea to host the Project Coordination Office of the second phase of the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem (GCLME) Project valued at 790 million US dollars.

The project, sponsored by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an independent international NGO and implemented mainly by UNIDO and UNDP, was to protect marine resources in the Gulf of Guinea from waste oil and liquid pollutions.

The coordination office for the first phase of the project, which involved five West African countries along the Gulf of Guinea, namely Ghana, Togo, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire and Cameroun, was hosted by Cote d'Ivoire for a five-year period.

Mr. Matthew Kwaku Antwi, Deputy Minister of Environment and Science told Journalists that the second phase of the project was for a seven-year period, with the possibility of extension, when the project succeeded in Ghana and warranted the conversion of the project office in Ghana into a permanent Project Commission.

He made the remark at the commissioning of the GCLME Project Coordination Office in Accra to mark the commencement of the second phase of the project.

Mr. Antwi noted that due to the success of the first phase of the project, which involved only five countries, all the other countries along the Gulf of Guinea, from Angola to Guinea Bissau, had been brought on board.

"There was a keen contest among the 16 countries for the hosting of the second phase of the project and Ghana won the opportunity on the grounds of our commitment to the first phase and for our relative political stability," he said.

He said as part of the project, Ghana was to present a Waste Oil Control Project to the implementers to be replicated in all the other 15 participating countries.

Mr. Antwi said the funding for the second phase of the project was basically for the training and provision of facilities to qualified private sector organizations, which were into the collection of waste oil and liquid waste at the seaports.

"The waste collectors would be provided with funding to acquire receptacles for the collection of the oil and liquid waste from ships and boats on arrival at the sea ports as a way of preventing the ship and boat owners from pouring the waste into the sea," he said.

He said during the first phase, selected private sector organizations were trained and provided with boats to do research on the amount, kind and source of pollution in the Gulf of Guinea.

Mr. Antwi noted that as a host, Ghana would benefit tremendously from the project, saying it would lead to job creation for Ghanaians, increased foreign exchange earnings, while several institutions in the country involved in marine studies and research, such as the Department of Water Research of the University of Ghana and the CSIR, would have the benefit of hosting the training programmes.

He urged all stakeholders to put their shoulder to the wheel to ensure the project realized its objectives.

Dr. Abel J. J. Rwenderie, Managing Director of the Project Office thanked the Ghana government for releasing the premises for the office and expressed the hope that with the continued support of the government and its local stakeholders, the project would succeed.

He assured local private sector organizations that they would be given preferential treatment in the distribution of resources and training for the project, saying, "we believe local people can manage local resources for solving local problems better than foreigners."

Dr. Rwenderie advised prospective beneficiaries of the project to be forewarned that the project would generate lots of data.

It was critical for the success of the project that such data should not remain on office shelves but to be used for the purpose for which they were generated, he said.

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