An environmental civil society group has called on Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, the Chief Executive Forestry Commission, to protect Ghana’s forests and waters for use by the present and future generations in order to save Mother Earth from ecological devastation and the debilitating effects of climate change.
In a press release dated 19 March, Eco-Conscious Citizens GH stated that the group has dispatched a letter to Mr. Owusu Afriyie in Accra asking the Commission to protect Ghana’s natural resources like water bodies and forests. This was done ahead of World Forest Day, which falls on 21st March.
International Day of Forests is set aside by the United Nations (UN) to raise public awareness about the important role that all types of forest and trees outside forest zones play in lives of all human beings.
The global theme for the celebration of this year’s day is: ‘Forests and Biodiversity.’ The UN, however, allows member states to adapt the date of the celebration of the International Day of Forests to suit their peculiar circumstances. The UN also permits its members to localize the theme based on the international one.
Eco-Conscious Citizens GH asked the Chief Executive to indicate the challenges that the Commission faces so that it can work together with it to protect Ghana’s forests from further destruction.
Awula Serwah, the co-ordinator of Eco-Conscious Citizens GH, said: “The vision of the Forestry Commission is to 'Leave future generations and their communities with richer, better, more valuable forests and wildlife endowments than we inherited'. This will not happen if we continue destroying our forest reserves.”
The group said it is of concern that the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has warned that should illegal mining menace persist in the Western Region, the residents would not have treated water to drink and use for domestic purposes. “We have to act now to protect our forests and waters,” the group stressed.
Eco-Conscious Citizens GH, therefore, urged the Forestry Commission to protect the forests from illegal mining and logging. “Protect Atewa Forest Reserve from bauxite mining. Stop entry permits from being issued to gold speculators who destroy our forest reserves,” it noted.
The group added: “The President of Ghana has asked us to be active citizens and not spectators, and section 41(k) of the 1992 Constitution states that: ‘...it shall be the duty of every citizen to protect and safeguard the environment.’
Eco-Conscious Citizens GH, therefore, invited concerned Ghanaians and “environmental stakeholders anywhere” to tweet President @NAkufoAddo, to please #ProtectOurForestsAndWaters on Saturday 21st March.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, in collaboration with the Forestry Commission and other stakeholders, has stated that it would celebrate the International Day of Forests on 11-15 May.
A statement issued by Mr. Owusu Afriyie indicated that the 2020 celebration of International Day of Forests, the ninth since its beginning, would be observed on the theme: ‘Protect Forests and Biodiversity for Human Survival.’
The theme was chosen because Ghana’s forests are under various forms of threats such as illegal farming and use of forest and game reserves, logging, lumbering, wildfires, overgrazing, fuel wood extraction and illegal mining.
“Forest is the repository of biodiversity, so any threat to the forest is a threat to biodiversity. Thus, a threat to the plethora of life forms found in forests – micro-organisms, animals, plants, food and shelter to animals and insects that constitute the biodiversity. There is therefore, the urgent need for all to get involved in protecting the forest and their biodiversity components,” the statement said.