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18.07.2005 Regional News

Biodiversity clubs in Upper West schools

GNA

Wa, July 18, GNA - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun expanding its operational constituencies in the Upper West Region by supporting Traditional healers in the area to establish 216 community reserves, which would serve as source of medicinal plants for their practice.

Mr. Asher Nkegbe, the Regional Director of the Agency, who made this known, said EPA was also assisting 20 community-based organisations and non-governmental organisations to access funds from the Global Environmental Facility/Small Grant Project to undertake sustainable environmental projects.

He said this at the launch of biodiversity conservation clubs based in some educational institutions in the region, at Wa on Monday. The formation of the clubs formed part of the Northern Savannah Biodiversity Conservation Project.

The clubs would, among other functions, undertake tree planting, establish agro-forestry and woodlot projects with local authorities, assist in mobilising communities and draw up joint action plans with such communities.

It has been estimated that the country looses about three per cent gross domestic product, 24 million dollars and 65,000 hectares of forest cover annually, hence the need to vigorously fight environmental degradation from all fronts.

Mr Nkegbe said the EPA believed that its relationship with the youth was of particular importance because they represented the greatest human resource for the future.

In an address on his behalf, Mr Ambrose Dery, the Upper West Regional Minister said the country's ability to create wealth depended on the way the environment was handled since its citizens were predominantly farmers.

He called on the EPA and other related agencies to empower the people with knowledge and skills to enable them to play effective roles in decision-making on environmental resource exploitation.

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