Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has reaffirmed the state’s commitment to adopting innovative measures aimed at preserving the nation’s mineral and forest resources. This, he noted, will be achieved through the provision of relevant infrastructure; and will ensure the long-term collective good is not sacrificed for the short-term gain of a few.
While acknowledging the enormous role mining and related activities play in the livelihoods of a huge portion of the populace, he said it would be terrible display of irresponsibility for Ghana’s minerals, forest and wildlife resources to be depleted for the selfish interests of a few through practices such as illegal mining and indiscriminate wood harvesting and burning.
He added that posterity will not be kind to those who participated in such activities, as well as those who looked on unconcerned. He therefore called on all stakeholders to come on board in helping to protect the environment.
Dr. Bawumia made this known at the second edition of the Regional Consultative Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining and Deforestation, which was held at the Multipurpose Conference Hall of the University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale.
This iteration, which was held under the theme ‘Sustainable Small-Scale Mining and Forest Conservation for National Development’, was organised by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and had in attendance captains of the mining and forest industries, academia, members of civil society organisations (CSOs), ministers of state and their deputies, traditional authorities as well as a cross-section of the public.
The Vice President said illegal harvesting of wood, especially rose-wood, in certain parts of the country – as well as improper agricultural practices and intermittent incidents of conflict in the northern part of the country – is a negative cocktail requiring urgent measures.
“The northern sector of Ghana lies within a fragile ecological setting, and therefore has its own peculiar challenges as far as natural resource exploitation is concerned. The north is particularly challenged with forest degradation as a result of over exploitation of trees; especially rosewood for export, excessive reliance on fuel-wood, and charcoal production,” he said.
“Sustainability is key in our quest to exploit our diverse minerals, forest and wildlife resources to ensure we are able to meet our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” he added.
Issues concerning exploitation of the country’s natural resources are national in scope and must be addressed devoid of partisan politics, he contended – saying, “This will enable the country to build a broad-based national consensus around which we can deal with the issue of illegal mining and deforestation”.
On his part, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources – who doubles as Member of Parliament for Damongo, Samuel Abu Jinapor, revealed the ministry has included the subject of deforestation to the discussion in northern Ghana dialogue due to the precarious nature of forest cover in the Savannah ecological zone. He assured that efforts will be made to restore forest reserves across the country.
A representative from the overlord of Dagbon, Ya Na Abukari II, commended government for the ongoing interventions geared toward addressing the prevailing environmental issues.