To mark the United Nations World Wildlife Day today, A Rocha Ghana has called for an end to political interference in the management of forest resources.
In a statement, A Rocha said “the politicians should leave forest management to the technicians.”
“The interference and control in the work of the forest resource management are too much,” the environmental conservation group added.
A Rocha also said all state-protected forest estates should be adequately resourced “both in terms of personnel and logistics to improve security for these areas.”
“There is a need for inclusive and incentive-based collaborative engagement with communities neighbouring these estates. As we encourage shared responsibility, government and state agencies should commit and ensure a transparent share in the benefits accruing from sustainable forest management,” it added.
The NGO further reiterated its concerns with mining in the Atewa Forest which provides water for over 5 million people courtesy the Densu, Birim and Ayensu Rivers.
It said, “plans by Government to convert a critical watershed like Atewa Range Forest into a bauxite mine pit should be abandoned with immediate effect.”
World Wild Life Day is being celebrated under the theme “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet.”
A recent World Bank Ghana Country Environmental Analysis (CEA) report of 2020 based on analysis of data from 2001-2015 indicated that Ghana’s annual deforestation rate was approximately 3.51 percent.
Total deforestation during this time period surpassed 4.7 million hectares, of which over 84 percent occurred in open forests, compared to 16 percent in closed forests.
A Rocha also expressed concern with the lack of action from the state in the sustainable management of the forest resources.
“Time and time again we have heard that government in its wisdom had embarked on sustainable management plans for the country’s forest and its resources, but on ground we seem to be doing little in building resilience for communities who are most affected by the depletion of the forest regions.”