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25.11.2005 General News

Government urged to renew forest policy

By GNA
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Accra, Nov 25, GNA - Professor Kwabena Tuffour, Executive Director of Tufuhene Forestry Consult, on Friday called on the government to adopt a new forest policy to ensure sustainable forest and wildlife. He said a new forest policy was needed more than ever because the existing policy, which was adopted in 1994, could not meet current challenges to conserve the country's forest and wildlife. Professor Tuffour was speaking at a roundtable discussion organised by 'Earth Service' on Ghana's Forest and Wildlife. The roundtable served as a platform for participants to present their views on the future of forestry and wildlife in the country.

Issues being discussed by the participants, drawn from Non-Governmental Organisations, Ministries, Department and Agencies, the private sector and civil society, would be catalogued and presented to government for consideration towards a national policy. Prof Tuffour said sustainability of the forest and wildlife in the country was in serious trouble as 3.2 million trees were being exported annually.

He said there was the need for government to provide an enabling environment for effective implementation of the new policy. He called for the strengthening of the country's technical capacity and also appealed to government to prevent those owing royalties from continuing with their operations.

Mr George Ortsin, National Coordinator of Global Environment Facility for Small Grants Programme, said a comprehensive national forestry policy should cover issues affecting savannah and wildlife, noting that wildlife had for long being neglected as attention was often on the preservation of the forest through re-planting. He appealed to civil society to act as watchdogs on the environment and to avoid compromising with acts that would deprive future generation of an evergreen environment with wildlife.

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