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Ghana - 12 September, 2018
The Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD) is lending support to the Ghana Government to step up the governance of its natural resources by funding two non-governmental organisations working in the forestry sector; Tropenbos Ghana and A Rocha Ghana, to generate empirical information that will feed into the creation of an Integrated Land-Use Policy.
There have been many attempts by the Ghana Government to bring sanity into the indiscriminate exploitation of its natural resources which has wreaked havoc on its forests, arable land, water bodies and the environment with the latest attempt being a ban on all forms of small-scale mining in February 2017 in a bid to clamp down on illegal mining, also known as ‘galamsey’.
However, there has also been pressure on the government to lift up the ban, which was initially scheduled for six months, by the Small-scale Miners Association of Ghana and the Government is currently working on a comprehensive roadmap that will permanently address illegal mining.
Meanwhile, the absence of a Land-Use Policy that will among other things, spell out areas designated for mining and other forms of natural resource exploitation and demarcate areas that are prohibited remains a stumbling block that undermines efforts at effective governance of the country’s resources.
Hence, delivering information through empirical research to provide insights into integrated land-use for the establishment of an Integrated Land-Use Policy that will also strengthen inter-sectoral coordination in the management of Ghana’s lands and natural resources will help address the problem of indiscriminate mining and its resultant impact on the country’s biodiversity and food security.
The two organisations that will be working under the project ‘Securing Food and Ecosystem Services in Mining Plagued Regions of Ghana’ will focus on the Ashanti, Eastern and Western Regions of Ghana which fall within the High Forest Zone and have the highest concentration of forests and water bodies as well as mineral resources, including gold, bauxite and diamonds.
These three regions have suffered massive degradation from both legal and illegal mining activities which have decimated forests, polluted water bodies and destroyed cocoa farms and food crops.