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24.11.2005 General News

Environ-Expo 05 opens

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Accra, Nov. 24, GNA - An environmental exhibition dubbed "Enviro-Expo 05" aimed at showcasing the activities of stakeholders in protecting, conserving and rejuvenating the environment opened at the Teachers' Hall in Accra on Thursday.

The three-day exhibition hosted by Earth Service, an environmental nongovernmental organisation (NGO), in collaboration with the Small Grants Programme (SGP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) brought together exhibitors from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as the private sector.

On display are: energy conserving gadgets; solar panels; products from wood; locally manufactured machines such as millers and photo display of forest conservation efforts by a number of NGOs. Dr Gheysika A. Agambila, Deputy Minister of Environment and Science, who opened the exhibition, reminded Ghanaians that the Constitution mandated Ghanaians to protect and safeguard the environment.

This constitutional provision, he noted, had, however, been overlooked by the public leading to the continuous degradation of the environment.

Dr Agambila said the Government in its bid to ensure that the country's development pattern was carried out in a sustainable manner was working around the clock to incorporate environmental consideration into all aspects of national policies, programmes and projects. He noted that the bulk of inactions by Ghanaians stemmed from attitudinal problems rather than ignorance.

He called on all to join hands with the Government and the NGOs in conserving the environment.

Joshua Awuku-Apaw, Executive Director, Earth Service, said the environment formed an integral part of human existence; hence the need to protect it for the survival of mankind.

He said preserving the availability and rationalizing the use of the earth's natural resources were among the most compelling issues that individuals and communities needed to face.

Mr Awuku-Apaw urged the Government to continue to consider NGOs and Community Based Organisations as partners in Ghana's development agenda as they worked with community members in the conservation of the nation's resources.

Mr Christopher Manu, an official of Friends of the Earth (FOE), an NGO, said sustainable development could only be realized if individuals changed their attitude towards the environment.

He said, the term sustainable development was a household phrase in today's world, yet the livestyles of many people did not reflect their desire to live in a sustainable environment.

Mr George Ortsin, National Coordinator GEF/SGP, said Ghana had distinguished herself in sustainable environmental management, but it was still far from transforming the environmental resources to create wealth and ensure sustainable flow of incomes to the poor and vulnerable.

He said the national developmental planning process needed to go below the district to the village level and this could be effectively achieved if NGOs and CBOs were considered as partners in the development agenda.

Professor Alfred Oteng Yeboah, Deputy Director-General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who chaired the function said awareness creation and information dissemination were vital components in environmental management. He, therefore, urged the media to work as partners in propagating environmental awareness.