Seek investors conscious of impact of projects on environment – CONAMA tells government

The Coalition of NGOs against mining Atewa Forest (CONAMA) has urged the government to act consistently with Vice President Bawumia’s advice that market actors should be guided by social and environmental sustainability in decision-making, recognise the risks to financial stability from environmental damage and climate change. 

The Vice President gave the advice during the launch of Ghana’s Sustainable Banking Principles (SBPs) where he emphasised that “financial institutions must include climate disruption issues into their risk management and reporting”.

While welcoming these statements, CONAMA urged the government to be consistent, as it seeks investment partners for projects that will have profoundly destructive impacts on Ghana’s forests and the climate. 

“Most significant at the present time for this investment is the planned bauxite development in Ghana’s protected forests. Yet bauxite extraction, gold mining and other activities that destroy the forest are not heeding,” CONAMA said in a statement to the media.

The statement said “even though we commend the government greatly for actions to address galamsey, there are blatant galamsey activities currently ongoing in several state protected forest reserves and along the streams and river bodies in the country that need a decisive and strong commitment to clamp down on these destructive commercially viable enterprises.”

“These activities are being supported by loans from Ghana’s rural banks, contradicting the sound advice given by Dr Bawumia to the finance sector.” 

During the launch the Vice President also hinted the government’s decision to implement climate change and green economy programs and projects that will “promote a clean environment, increase job creation and accelerate poverty reduction”.

“While this is good news, the on-going and planned damage to Ghana’s forests and environment will only undermine any good brought about by these ‘green’ projects, as the veep has himself acknowledged. It is a vicious circle and one that Ghana must break free from,” CONAMA said in the statement.

It added that CONAMA had long recognised the threat that environmental damage and climate change pose not only to the financial sector but to all sectors of Ghana’s sustainable development and achievement of the SDGs, and had been one of the reasons for advocating against such damaging developments and towards green development. 

As the Vice President has been so emphatic about how environmental damage and climate change will threaten financial stability, CONAMA urged the government to remain committed to exempting Ghana’s forests and other protected areas from all damaging developments and to allow only green development projects

“We ask what environmental analysis and sustainability considerations has GIADEC made in respect of valuing the trade-offs associated with the intended plans to mine bauxite in a watershed like Atewa Forest, which is also a critical natural climate solution for Ghana.”

By Times Reporter

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